If there ever was a towering automotive icon from the golden age of television, George Barris’ Drag-U-La from 1964 certainly fits the bill. This Tom Daniels designed, George Barris and Dick Dean-built dragster was one of five examples created for The Munsters TV show. Rumor has it this example is the most “authentic” in existence and it will soon cross the block with no reserve at Mecum Auctions, January 2022, in Kissimmee, Florida.
The premise for Drag-U-La is as kooky as the car. Herman and Grandpa needed another car because they lost the Munster Koach in a drag race. Grandpa built the car in the garage of 1313 Mockingbird Lane using a real coffin for the body, organ pipes for the exhaust, and his own tombstone for the grille.
The attention to detail and adherence to the ghoulish, funeral parlor theme is remarkable and a testament to the genius of all who participated in the car. “Gas” lamps for exterior lighting, filigree exterior trim, a purple interior with gold inserts for the cabin, and a plexiglass bubble certain to simmer the driver to perfection at a summer event.
Maybe the craziest aspect of the Drag-U-la story was trying to locate a coffin for the build. According to Silodrome, “The biggest difficulty the team at Barris Kustoms faced when developing Drag-U-La was where to source an authentic coffin. As it happens, it was illegal to sell a coffin without a death certificate in California.
The resourceful Richard “Korky” Korkes, Barris’s project engineer, managed to secure a deal under the table with a funeral home in North Hollywood. Korkes struck the deal, paid in cash, and then left the funeral home empty-handed. He returned later that night with some colleagues to collect the fiberglass coffin that had been discretely left around the back of the funeral parlor.”
The fiberglass coffin sits on a tubular frame and runs a 350hp, 289 Ford V8 topped by dual-four barrel carburetors on top of a Mickey Thompson Ram-Thrust intake manifold. The power is delivered to the rear wheels via a Ford C-4 automatic transmission. The driver is sitting on the rear differential and probably the scariest part of Drag-U-la is what would happen to the driver’s private bits if the rear-end blew up.
Look closely and you can see George Barris, Butch Patrick (Eddie Munster,) Pat Priest (Marilyn Munster,) and designer Tom Daniel’s autographs etched in various places on the car.
The obvious question is what is this thing worth? Hard to say, although we can trace its market history to 2013 and 2018. What it will ultimately bring in 2021 remains to be seen. The old saying “Something is worth what someone will pay for it” is the best we can predict before the gavel falls. One thing is for certain, the new owner of Drag-U-la would be the star of any car show around the globe. Stay tuned to Mecum Auctions this January in Kissimmee, Florida for the results.