George Barris is gone, but he will never be forgotten, thanks in part to a new memorial award which will be presented for the first time at this weekend's Fleetwood Country Cruize In car show in London Ontario Canada. The event runs this Saturday June 4th and June 5th ( 2016). The show is held at 9282 Elviage Drive London Ontario ( Near Delaware just outside London ).
Barris was an annual guest of honor at the event, presented each year by philanthropist Steve Plunkett at his estate just outside the city limits. So this year Mr. Plunkett has included the George Barris memorial award as a big part of the event, which benefits over 30 charities, and has become the largest outdoor car show in Canada. This year's Fleetwood car show will in itself be a huge tribute to George Barris.
Barris is best known for designing and building the original 1960's Batmobile which was used in the TV series, from a Ford Futura concept car, but he was involved in the design and build of dozens of high profile Movie and TV Cars during his career. Some of the vehicle Barris claimed as his work include the Beverly Hillbillies car, the Kitt Car from "Knight Rider", the "Dukes of Hazzard" General Lee, the Munster Drag-U-La, and the "Munsters Koach" from the "Munster" TV Series.
Barris was born in 1924 and passed away in Encino California last November 5th (2015). However he was active and touring up until his death and last summer he was again at the Fleewood Country Cruize In, where he was interviewed on the SST Car Show again. That final interview has been reposted from the SST archives and is attached to this article. In the interview Barris is asked for his reaction to a tribute vehicle which resembled his "Muster's Koach".
Other Barris tributes are being held at car shows across North America this summer. Additional interviews from the SST Car Show archives will be posted on the SST Youtube channel in the days ahead. A full two page tribute to George Barris has also been published in the newest edition of the SST Car Magazine which will be distributed free of charge at the Plunkett Estate this weekend. A portion of the revenue generated from the magazine will be donated back to the Fleetwood Event, to help the local charities that benefit from the event.
George Barris will also be remembered because his custom cars became personalities in their own right, and in their own way showed that Car could be "Stars" just like actors. His designs and the way be gave his cars personalities resulted in a permanent impression not just on Car Kulture ( he is the man who put the "K" in Kulture ), but on popular culture in general. That's why his movie Star Cars, are still brought in to drive attendance today, not just at car shows, but also at comic conventions, community events, museums, and even shopping malls. His cars were so powerful and commanded so much attention while on screen the leading actors often became little more than hood ornaments in comparison to the Barris Kustoms.
For more information on the Fleetwood Car Show this weekend you can visit: www.fleetwoodcountrycruuizein.com or www.streetsporttv.com
The SST Car Show Crew will be at the event this weekend providing coverage. It is open to the public and always attracts a crowd of thousands from all over Canada, the United States and even parts of Europe.