I was initially reluctant to order this book unseen, given the high list price, but once I had it in my hands I was completely won over. This profile of George Barris is a highly enjoyable feast for any fan of cars, movies, TV shows, pop music and culture. Clearly a labor of love, this hefty, nearly-500 page book was written by George Barris’ son Brett.
The embossed and shiny spot-varnished cover perfectly embodies the King of Kustomizers and his creations: bold, glitzy and over-the-top. The hundreds of color and black and white photos inside lovingly show Barris’ astounding automotive output, which includes early hot rods, dragsters, customized cars for the stars, TV and movie vehicles, corporate promotional cars, wild buggies for musical groups, and more. The list of his clients is a who’s who of mid-century Hollywood: The Beach Boys, Elvira, Sonny and Cher, The Boogaloos, The Munsters, Beverly Hillbillies, Farah Fawcett, Bob Hope, Elton John – far too many to list them all. The Batmobile on the cover may be his most famous car, but the scope of the book will amaze you. And not just Hollywood: if you were a company like Lipton, Vox amplifiers, ToysRUs, Coppertone, or Big Boy and needed a custom car to promote your brand, George Barris’ shop Kustom City was the place to go for that head-turning vehicle that literally embodied your product. You get page after page of kooky kustom cars!
It’s no surprise that Barris was as brilliant a businessman as he was a car customizer. Read the rest