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12 of the Most Iconic Cars in TV History

June 11, 2019 in History

By Robert Kahn

From the Batmobile to Mr. Bean’s Minis…from KITT to General Lee…here are some of the coolest, most memorable small-screen car stars.

The TV and auto industries have flourished side by side for 70 years, so it’s only natural that the vehicles driven by characters of the small screen are as etched in our memories as the costumes they wore and the places they called home. Here are a dozen celebrated TV rides that still get our motors racing.

’Munster Koach‘ Model-T Hot Rod/Hearse Hybrid

’The Munsters’ (1964-66)

Cannibalize parts from three Model Ts and one hearse, combine them in a creepy, kooky way and add details like casket handles, “blood-red” velvet upholstery and spider-web headlights, and you’ve got the Munster Koach, the ideal car for a spooky sitcom family whose patriarch worked in a funeral home and looked like Frankenstein. A creation of renowned Hollywood car customizer George Barris—who was given three weeks by the studio to make it—the 18-foot-long Koach nonetheless included many hand-formed elements, like the brass radiator and fenders. Powered by a 289 cu.-in. Ford Cobra V8 engine, the long, low-slung ride was a tight fit for star Fred Gwynne, who stood 7 feet tall in his Herman Munster costume. The seat cushion had to be removed for him to get behind the wheel.

’Batmobile’ Lincoln Futura Concept Car (1955)

’Batman’ (1966-68)

Holy return on investment! Designed for the campy caped-crusader series, the “Batmobile” began life as a concept car built in Italy, based on a Lincoln Mark II. In 1965, Tinseltown customizer George Barris bought it for $1. That year, 20th Century Fox asked him to design Batman’s ride for its upcoming series—again giving him just a few weeks of turnaround time, according to Eric Seltzer, who operates 1966Batmobile.com. Barris made hundreds of modifications to the Futura, like those aluminum bat symbols bolted to the hubs and a steering wheel designed to resemble an airplane yoke. (West complained that the “U”-shape made the car too difficult to drive, so Barris replaced it with a stock wheel from a 1958 Edsel.) Sadly for the Spandex-clad stars Adam West and Burt Ward, the car never had any Bat Air Conditioning. In 1966, Barris’s shop, Barris Kustom City, took molds of the “#1 Batmobile” and created at least three replicas. In 2013, Barris sold the original for $4.6 million to an Arizona businessman. It changed hands again in 2016 …read more


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