Thursday, June 30, 2016

You Got Anything to Stop This Coffin?

The title of this post is in memory of Harold Powley (my dad) who held the record for the most dumb jokes told....well, ever. It's the punch line to one of his "classics." It also seemed to fit well with this week's item. First, a little back story (about the item, not the joke)

In about 2001 the Autorama came through town. I grabbed the kid and hustled down to see this guy:

Not the guy on the left (that's 15 year younger me) but the guy on the right....The king of custom cars....George Barris!!!
If you haven't heard of George Barris, well, I'm not sure you should even be reading this blog (but go ahead anyway). He was the guy that brought us tons of custom tv cars such as the Batmobile, The Munsters Koach, and...this little gem:

Yep, the Drag-U-La! This car was featured in an episode of The Munsters where Herman decides to be a drag race driver. Grandpa builds the car out of (what else) a coffin!

The toy company Playing Mantis had come out with this replica (1/18 scale, about 6 inches long) and another one (about 1/67 Hot Wheels scale) in 2000. I happened to have the large one still unopened, so I asked Mr. Barris to sign it! He looked at it for a second and said "You got the big one, those are hard to find!" and then made it priceless (in my eyes anyway) by signing it on the spot. He also told me how it was tough getting the coffin for the real car. it seems that funeral supply places in the 60's were kind of particular about whom they would sell to, if you didn't actually have a body ready to dispose of! Still, he finally got it and he made custom car history yet again!

Unfortunately, George Barris passed away in 2015. I remember it hit me kind of hard for two reasons; first, because he had brought us so many cool vehicles that became part of our lives growing up in the 1960's; and second, because he was just a really nice guy to me that day. He will be missed by a lot of people.

By the way, here is a picture of the smaller version, just to show it out of the package:

Playing Mantis really did a great job with the detailing on these cars! By the way, you can still get them on eBay. A 1/67 scale version will run you about ten bucks, and a 1/18 scale will run about 20 bucks. A signed version? I've never seen another one and mine is NOT for sale! Sorry!

Until next time, keep searching for treasure!

1 comment:

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