H&H Classics are to sell the George Barris-designed 300mph Snake Pit Dragster at no reserve during its February 2 online auction
The opportunity to buy a Barris Kustom rarely presents itself, let alone one powered by six Ford V8 engines. Offered for sale during H&H Classics’ inaugural online auction on February 2, the 1975 George Barris-penned SnakePit dragster took four years to build at a cost of $100,000. That's roughly $1 million with contemporary inflation.
There’s six Ford 351ci V8 powerplants under the ridiculously long hood, running 12 Holley carburettors, 48 exhaust pipes and two automatic Ford C-6 gearboxes. Chomping through a gallon of petrol in less than 500 meters, there’s also two fuel tanks to keep proceedings at full pace. This is the USS Enterprise with wheels – a speed record machine on LSD.
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Designed to reach 300mph with 2000bhp on tap, the 23-foot-long SnakePit was primarily built to tackle international land speed records ‘at speeds that stagger the imagination’. Or, at least, according to promotional material. There are no videos or shots of the SnakePit driving, so we doubt any speed records were physically attempted.
Hand-built by a Barris-led team and assisted by top engineers of the day, serious aerodynamic considerations were applied to the all-steel streamlined body. Even if there was no windscreen for those piloting the vehicle at breakneck speeds, and an orange velvet cockpit. Hey, it was the 1970s…
After the finishing touches were detailed, external skin panels were applied with 30 coats of hand-rubbed lacquer and an orange finish over an initial pearl-white base coat.
While any Barris Kustom creation remains an acquired taste, the engineering on offer must be applauded. A total of 96 valves have been synchronised with 48 spark plugs firing in unison. Besides the aforementioned dozen carburettors and two transmission boxes, six Cragar transistorized distributors work in harmony. That must have been some headache to put together.
Furthermore, its promoters went on to describe how ‘SnakePit’ was to be 'controlled by the pilot using two Moon gas pedals, feeding fuel carried aboard in MOON aluminum tanks; a custom steering wheel and a Hurst dual pattern shifter.
'The driver is comfortably surrounded in an orange velvet interior. The engines, which have been super tuned to perfection, include among their specialty equipment, MOON racing camshafts, dual quad manifolds and valve covers by Edelbrock, and a variety of Ford and Autolite high performance gear.'
Launched to an incredulous public in 1975, the SnakePit was valued at a claimed $100,000. Residing as part of a private collection until 2006, the land speed record machine sold for just €27,255 (£24,500, $30,800). The engines hadn’t been run while in dry storage. It then appeared on the open market in January 2018 with a price tag of $750,000 – a 3000% price hike in only 12 years.
In addition to the 1975 SnakePit, Barris designed the original 1966 Batmobile, which he personally sold for $4.62 million at auction in 2013. George Barris and his team were also responsible for Black Beauty from The Green Hornet, Drag-U-La from The Munsters, General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard, The Car from The Car, and the Oldsmobile jalopy from The Beverly Hillbillies. Not to mention the Wagon Queen Family Truckster from the 1983 comedy National Lampoon's Vacation.
Barris passed away in 2015 at the age of 89, but his creations live on. Dare you take custody of the SnakePit? Find out more information about the auction here.