With a career in custom car designing that is approaching a 70-year span and with over 1,000 creations to his credit, labeling George Barris the Greatest Car Customizer of all time would not be out of line.
Having started modifying the appearance of cars while in his teens, George began customizing cars with his brother Sam in the late 30s.
Later their shop in Hollywood, Calif. became widely known as the favourite of TV and movie producers who wanted specialty cars built.
Many celebrities also sought out Barris customs for their unique designs.
He is the only person to have won America's Most Beautiful Roadster award four times.
Today George remains one of the busiest customizers in the business and has been the grand marshal of the B.C. Classic and Custom Car Show since 2006.
He is not only the presenter of the Custom Car of the Year award but also personally selects the recipient of the award each year.
Q & A with George Barris:
Rolf Norberg: As presenter and selector or grand marshal of the Custom Car of the Year award, what criteria do you use to choose the winner?
George Barris: The way the vehicle looks regarding originality, design, quality and how it is proportioned.
For example if it had large flared fender openings over little bicycle wheels it would appear out of proportion.
Attention to details, fit and finish work, how the car's design conforms as a package are all-important.
I employ a points system where I award points in different categories such as upholstery, engine, body and paint etc.
RN: What are you working on these days?
GB: I'm still designing cars for customers at my shop here in North Hollywood. I'm currently working on a project for Jeff Dunham. Another one we've stared is a car for ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons that will be a guitar he can drive. I've been working closely with Ford lately and I've been using one of their Ford Focus cars to create a modern Bat Car for Galpin Motors.
RN: Today you are obviously busy with your custom car business. Can you see a time when you will retire or are you in your retirement now?
GB: I've never really considered retiring from what I'm doing. My daughter Joji and her son run the business today and are working on a book.
Just recently we've made an arrangement with the NHRA for a special drag race to be run at the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA finals at Pomona in November.
Paired up to race each other will be the Munsters' Coach against the Dragula (Grandpa's Dragster), which will recreate the 1964 race we did for the Munsters TV series. We apparently have John Force talked into driving one while Ashley will drive the other.
In addition, the original Batmobile from the TV series will be there to do a burnout. It will be equipped with a Roush motor just for all you Ford racing fans.
Today I spend much of my time travelling the globe to car shows such as the BCC & CCS. I feel lucky to have been invited up repeatedly and enjoy seeing the craftsmanship of the cars in the show and enjoy the people I meet.
? Drop by and say hello to George Barris at the Fix Auto/Hot Rod Resto's booth located in the centre of Hall B.