George and Sam Barris started building “Kustom” cars in the 1940s and, by 1958, had Hollywood knocking on their door to craft unique vehicles for the silver screen. The pair's first Hollywood commissioned work was showcased in the 1958 film, High School Confidential. However, while Barris made a name for himself with the Munster and 1966 Batmobile, our favorite from the Barris garage remains lesser known.
In 1958, Barris was commissioned by Lee Sims to build a custom machine. The goal was to bring publicity to Sims’ company, Accessories International, with a unique one-of-a-kind car.
Starting with a 1958 Chevrolet Corvette, and drawing influence from Bill Mitchell’s XP700 for the nose of the car, Barris added a hood scoop, tail fins, and molded Buick taillights while deleting the twin chrome strips and the Corvette emblem from the trunk, front and rear bumpers, and the side moldings around the coves.
In typical fashion for that era of Barris creations, a factory hardtop was modified with a pair of faux vents and the car was finished in Aqua Blue. The masterpiece was completed by 1959 and went on to win the Los Angeles Arena show in the early 60s. Accomplishing its goal to create publicity for Accessories International, the car went on the show circuit and was featured in several magazines.
Sometime later, the 1958 Corvette Barris custom was fitted with a 327 from a 1964 Corvette, dressed up with finned aluminum valve covers and tuned to produce 340-horsepower, and the rear end was upgraded to a 12-bolt. The car was restored about 25 years ago in such a way that prompted a response from the king of customs himself. "Whoever restored the car looks like he did a nice job,” said Barris of the restoration.
Today the car still presents like a true show car and is up for sale on Motorious - the classified ad price is $86,998 with an option to make an offer here. With 1958 Corvettes already being highly collectable, this one from the creator of the original Batmobile is sure to draw some attention.
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