George Barris: possibly the most remarkable garage sale ever!

A sale of memorabilia from the late legendary Hollywood customizer George Barris was never going to be ordinary – but who knew it would be this crazy...

Barris Kustoms just had the greatest garage sale on earth. Not an auction but a tag sale, first come, first served. First day, full price, second day 20% off, third day 50% off.

It took George's daughter Joji Barris and her son Jared a year and a half to prepare for this sale at the Barris Kustoms HQ in Los Angeles. George never threw anything away, right up until his passing in 2015. Everything here relates to George’s career and his cars, so many famous from TV and movies.

Car magazines from the 1950s on up. Gossip magazines, Playboys, every Bo Derek magazine imaginable; he would study all his clients so he could design something just for them. If a magazine mentioned George he had it.

More Barris madness...

The far wall is filled with actual 8x10 publicity photos, the Munster Machine, the Sex Machine, The Pink Panther, Batman and Robin sitting on the Batcycle. Everywhere you look is filled with popular culture that we grew up with. You don’t realize how much of an influence George was until you see it all in one room.

Dan Jordan from Again LA Estate Sales shows me some of George’s personal sketches, a dune buggy, a 1970s Muscle Machine and a Baby Doll. Who’d have thought George was designing dolls? George loved toys. All the toys reference something related to what George was working on. Signed items? We got 'em. There’s the Austin Powers Jaguar, signed by George, $50.

Even on early Sunday morning, the last day, people were still coming. The garage filled with fans searching the tables. Magazines, posters, stickers, little kids went right to the toy tables, and there among the crowd was customising legend Gene Winfield.

Gene (above, right) drove in from the desert to take a look around. He even bought a few things to take home. While the sale took place, sitting next to it all was the Batmobile, the Munster machine and KITT. It was like George was watching us the whole time.

Joji Barris (below) says the weirdest thing she found was a Dr Van Shtick record… she had no idea why George had this. After the third day I asked Joji what she thought of the sale. She said simply, 'It was closure. So many friends and supporters came, everyone had a George story. The love they had for George was just amazing, the sale was probably the best thing I could have done.'

But wait there’s more, because everybody that buys something gets a picture of George with the Donny and Marie Osmond mobile. George was a master, and his warmth and kindness showed through in all his designs. His Barris Kustoms shop was his home, always open to anyone that stopped by. Today was no different. Thanks for sharing George.

Photography copyright Evan Klein

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