Love him or loathe him, George Barris, the self described King of Kustomizers, had a huge impact on 1960s TV. The mastermind behind the Monkeemobile, Batmobile, hell pretty much every prime time mobile was Barris. You may not have even been born when these shows were new (whippersnapper) but you’re reading a car blog so you should be at least familiar with them. Even if you’re not, that’s what Google was invented for.
From My Mother the Car (go look it up) to the outlandish Munstermobile, ’60s TV cars mirrored the dramatic convolutions of Vietnam-era American society. Even puppets got some rocking cool wheels as Lady Penelope pulled the strings on the 3 axle Rolls dubbed FAB-1 in Thunderbirds Are Go. Sure the ’70s had K.I.T.T., the General Lee and BJ and the Bear’s truck, but the ’60s had Mannix’s GTS Dart convertible, The Prisoner’s Lotus 7 and John Steed’s Blower Bentleys on The Avengers.
With the background noise of the cold war and nuclear inhalation ever present, the sixties was a time when more than ever people everywhere turned to their TVs for escapism entertainment. Reality TV wasn’t even considered during that era, reality being too scary at the time. And as the shows became more ludicrous and vaudevillian, so did the set pieces, including the cars, become larger than life, keeping pace.
George Barris was the premier creator of such prime time fantasy fulfillment, but he wasn’t alone, nor were all TV cars wacky customs, as some of the more cerebral fare warranted interesting, but sedate accouterment. Out of all those, which TV car of the sixties do you think was the coolest?
Image sources: [66batman.com, Lotustalk.com]