Saturday, December 19, 2009

George Barris Toronado

Tuesday morning I checked my e-mail and saw one titled "Dave - You Have To Write About This Car!". I didn't recognize the e-mail address. When I opened it I found it to be from an old friend, Jon. I've known Jon since the early 1980s. He worked at my store. We made a hell of a team. At night was the drummer in a punk rock band. I was a young kid with a record store. Some of the stuff that went on... Never mind.

His band went to Europe for a short tour and Jon wound up staying for a few years. Every now and then I'd get a package in the mail from him. It would be full of French car magazines, car pictures and occasionally a car part. (Nope. I didn't ask where they came from.) His letters would include descriptions of the cars he was driving (notably a Fiat Punto) or wanted to buy (a Gilbern owned by a girlfriend's father).

I e-mailed Jon back and asked him how he found the blog. Did he find it on his own or did some mutual friend tell him about it? He replied "Found it on my own. At first I wasn't sure it was you, but after reading about Bimmers, Alfas, Cherokees, Peugeots, and Renaults, I was fairly sure. Occasional entries had me laughing as in 'I remember that car.'" I don't know whether that's good or bad.

The cars Jon finds interesting (or amusing) are often different from the cars I find interesting (or amusing), but equally as weird. The car he said I "have to write about" is this one...

I have no idea what to say about this car. It was built by George Barris. Barris is the "King of Kustomizers". His more famous cars include the Batmobile, cars for the TV shows The Beverly Hillbillies, The Monkees, and The Munsters. He also designed the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile. (Somebody had to design it, right?)

Even if I had over $200K to spend on a car, I wouldn't spend it on this. It's just not my type of car. It's interesting, though, and George Barris is a true legend in the custom car world.

You can find the eBay listing for this Toronado here.

Click here to find the Barris Kustom Industries website.

Jon is no longer a drummer in a punk rock band, he's a successful attorney. I'm no longer a young kid with record store, I'm a middle-aged man with a record store. We're still both car geeks.


Anonymous said...

You forgot to mention that Jon, the punk rock drummer, once drove a Volare 4 door and wanted to cut the roof off with a hacksaw until Daxe, the punk rock keyb/guitar player dissuaded him of this notion.

Just A Car Geek said...

I was being nice to Jon by not telling the world about his Volare.

His affection for the "soft Corinthian leather" was a little bizarre.


Just A Car Geek said...

Did I ever buy the Anglia from Daxe?

I don't remember.

Anonymous said...

The Anglia went back, gratis, to the person who sold it to Daxe, on a plea of 'I don't have much money and I need a car for my girlfiend', knowin the car would be in good hands.

The same Anglia was sold 6 months later. Did Daxe see any of that cash? No. Has Daxe spoken to that friend again? No, again.