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A Place in the Sun
It was impossible to tell the real cars from the fakes and the real people from the fakes, or flakes. However, that didn't deter anybody from having a great afternoon in the California sun as the city of Toluca Lake named a portion of Riverside Drive in honour of King of the Kustomizers, George Barris.
A cherry picker lifted George high as a kite to unveil his street sign - George Barris Place. If you get the chance, go check it out.
There was a fake Back To The Future DeLorean, there was a fake Elvis and a fake Marilyn Monroe, There was a fake Munster Coach. I think the Monkeemobile was real but restored. Bo Derek was real and still looked great despite some bodywork. Batman and Robin and Catwoman and the Batgirl were fakes. John Wayne's son was real though I'd never heard of him. Eric Estrada
from Chips was real and little Butch from the Munsters was real but lacking that distinctive pointy haircut. Customizer Bill Hines was real. And, as for the Batmobile? Who knows or cared. What really mattered was that George was real and that the city where he has created so much car culture was recognizing him.
Vintage customizer Bill Hines brought along this cool '50 Chevy Fastback.
I've known George for almost 20 years and, in his early eighties, he's still the hardest working man in showbiz: Building movie cars, licensing toys, writing books and attending car shows all over the world. The man is incredible and well deserving of any accolade thrown at him.
Just down the street from Barris Kustom City is Bob's Big Boy restaurant where on any Friday night you can partake of the free car show. And, on down the road, of course, is Warner Brother's Studio alongside Disney and not far from Universal Studios. If you're in the neighbourhood, go check it out and be sure to stop by George Barris's Place and say hi to George.
Story & Photos: Tony Thacker