From the House of Batmobile: 1958 Chevrolet Impala Coupe Barris Kustom

  • December 22, 2020
Why We Like It

In car circles, George Barris needs no introduction. One of the most popular names in the custom car community, he was the one who changed the spelling of ‘custom’ to ‘kustom’ to honor his Greek heritage and create a trademark. He was a marketing genius. It’s likely his most famous work was the original Batmobile, which was built from a Lincoln concept car that he bought from the Ford Motor Company for the princely sum of $1. Like acquiring fine art, the opportunity of obtaining an original Barris Kustom is a fantastic one indeed – according to the seller, this ‘58 Chevrolet Impala is indeed a genuine Barris Kustom.

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The post says that the car was worked over by George Barris, who gave it incredibly detailed custom bodywork, then painted it in a beautiful shade of Brandywine Metallic paint with ghost stripes, added Frenched ’59 Cadillac taillights, installed a custom chrome tube grille, and much more. The interior is two-tone Butter Cream and Brandywine that features custom leather upholstered bucket seats with channel tufted inserts from a ’62 Pontiac Grand Prix - a style also reflected in the door panels - as well as a nifty center console, and passengers will love the air conditioning which is described as ice cold.from-the-house-of-batmobile-1958-chevrolet-impala-coupe-barris-kustom00n0n 2302tzEzUWj 0ak07K 1200x900

from-the-house-of-batmobile-1958-chevrolet-impala-coupe-barris-kustom00f0f 6vhtJciPvk9 0ak07K 1200x900Powered by a mildly modified 350ci V8 engine with a 700R overdrive transmission, it looks as though everything under the hood has been chromed or polished – the water pump is chrome, the brake booster and master cylinder is chrome, the radiator is polished aluminum, the valve covers, the air cleaner – there are even mirrors on the underside of the hood! And, the engine bay is painted Brandywine and has been smoothed over for a fabulous look. A show winner, the car comes with two sets of front wheels, a custom car cover, and a custom front end bra. The post says that no expense has been spared to maintain this Barris Kustom Impala, and some recent servicing includes new shocks, new sway bars, new chrome rims, new battery, new stereo, and so on. Always kept in a climate-controlled garage, the seller is listing the Impala for a friend.

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This is a unique opportunity if ever there was one, but our big question remains: Is this a real Barris Kustom? A quick online search turned up photos of a 1958 Impala Kustom by Barris that is strikingly similar to this one, but it’s a convertible, although it’s entirely possible this Impala Coupe was privately commissioned at some point over Barris’ 60+ year career. In any event, we’d definitely like to see more proof than the nifty little “Barris Kustoms” coachbuilder’s badge on the front fender, and if you think you want to snap this one up for your collection, be sure to get the authenticity verified – photographs from the day, something to show Barris was the one who built it. Otherwise – if it isn’t a Barris Kustom, does it matter? It definitely does when we’re talking price, and these days certain vintage hot rods and Kustoms are becoming huge to collectors, while verified provenance can command a huge boost in value. Having something like this would be a lot of fun, and if everything checks out it could potentially lend a sweet little return on investment when the time comes.

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