Growing up as a kid watching the ’60s CBS TV show The Munsters, I fell in love with the cars featured in the series. The most famous of these was the Munster family car – the Koach –but I always had an affinity for the Drag-u-la. The Drag-u-la (driven by Grandpa) was a funkadelic dragster with a laid-back, hippy vibe. The Wayans Brothers are currently producing (but not starring in) a remake of the popular series. Surely, they’ll bring back the famous Koach, but will they also resurrect (or re-design) the Drag-u-la? I vote “yes!” Basically a coffin on wheels, the Drag-u-la appeared in just one Munsters episode (Hot Rod Herman) and in one of the two Munster movies (Munster Go Home) in 1966. The vehicle had a fiberglass body molded from a real coffin and featured a bubble canopy and a purple velvet interior. The body sat on a dragster-type tube frame, and accessories on the Drag-u-la included organ pipe exhausts, a drag parachute, air scoop and racing slicks. Grandpa (Al Lewis), a vampire, owned the vehicle. Designed by George Barris, who also built the Koach and the Batmobile, the Drag-u-la was classically eerie in appearance, but was also the real thing and packed some horsepower punch, supplied by a 350 hp Ford Mustang Engine. Will this amazing vehicle make a scary comeback next year? We’ll keep you informed.
One of my biggest thrills this year had to be when I got a chance to drive the original Batmobile. It’s a big car with a lot of power, but it’s also very old school in many ways. From afar, it appears to be fairly hi-tech (when you consider when it was built), but, when you get to study the vehicle up close, the instrument panel, dash and interior look fairly low-tech.
I grew up on the Batman TV series and even though it was very corny, I loved it. So, when I got an opportunity to interview George Barris, I jumped at the chance. Barris is a collector of what I call “celebrity vehicles” – famous cars that make gearheads like me drool and wax nostalgic.
When I first got behind the wheel of the original Batmobile, I was reluctant to gun the engine or drive fast. But, after I began to feel comfortable behind the wheel, I really opened it up. I was in Sacramento at the time talking to a company that restores many of Barris’s vehicles. People were smiling and waving to me as I drove by and it was a rush. If you can’t get women with the Batmobile, it means you have absolutely no game.