Famous Cars from The Munsters TV Show: Munster Koach & Drag-u-la AKA Dragula

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Published: 06th March 2012
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"The Munsters" TV show only aired from 1964-66, but is still fondly remembered over 4 decades later. The television comedy series revolved around a middle-class, American family resembling famous movie monsters, such as Frankenstein and Dracula. The Munster family was highly eccentric, to say the least. Their “home” was a spiderweb filled, creepy, old mansion, and their “pet” was a fire-breathing dragon under the staircase. They were a multi-generational family, whose "Grandpa" worked in a laboratory...in their basement.

Munstermobiles: Munster Koach and DRAG-U-LA

Hot rods and custom cars were huge in 1964 California. With this in mind, the show’s producers asked George Barris, "King of the Kustomizers," to build The Munster's funny family car. The Barris Kustom Shop designed the "Munster Koach," just for the TV show, using 3 fiberglass 1926 Ford Model-T bodies for the chassis joined together with a customized hearse body. The custom, hot rod featured cool, creepy detail work, such as coffin-handles and spider web accents, a "blood red" interior and Gloss Black Pearl paint. The one of a kind custom creation was built around a 289c.i. Ford Cobra engine, on mag wheels, with Jahns high compression pistons, 10 chrome plated Stromberg carburetors, an Iskycam, and a set of Bobby Barr racing headers. It has a four speed manual transmission, and the front end had a dropped axle, split radius rods and T springs. It was 18 feet long and cost $20,000 to build. The 133" frame, brass radiator and fenders were all handmade. taking 500 hours to hand form the ornate rolled steel scrollwork.

A plastic model kit of the “Munster Koach” was produced by AMT during the TV series, and has been reissued several times since then. Johnny Lightning also produced a 1/64th scale die-cast model of the car. George Barris even commissioned a copy of the coach in 1986. The original Munster Koach car is on display in the Cars Of The Stars Motor Museum in Keswick, England.

In addition to The Munster Koach, DRAG-U-LA was the other car designed by Tom Daniels and constructed by Richard "Korky" Korkes for The Munsters TV show. Both were then working for George Barris (Barris Kustom Industries), who is typically credited for both vehicles. DRAG-U-LA’s fiberglass body was built from a genuine fiberglass coffin "Korky" purchased from a funeral home in North Hollywood. The driver’s seat was in the rear of the coffin car, behind the engine, under a sci-fi plastic bubble. The front featured a marble gravestone stating: "Born 1367, Died ?" Four “Zoomie” style organ pipes on each side of the car served as exhausts. A small, brass coffin radiator, antique lamps on the front and rear, and silver spiders on the hubcaps, furthered the Gothic motif of the vehicle. It featured a 350HP 289CI Ford Mustang V-8 engine, with a four-speed stick shift and two four-barrel carburetors. The two front tires were 4-inch Italian tires on Speedsport English buggy wire wheels. and the two rear tires were 11-inch Firestone racing slicks on 10-inch Radir aluminum wheels.

Grandpa used DRAG-U-LA to win back "The Munster Koach" after Herman lost it in a drag race in the episode, Hot Rod Herman. Footage of the drag race was included in Zombie's first horror film, House of 1,000 Corpses. (It also inspired the Rob Zombie song, “Dragula.”) Additionally, the 1966 movie Munster, Go Home features Herman Munster driving DRAG-U-LA in a cross-country race. The car combat video game, Twisted Metal 4, offers DRAG-U-LA as one of the player’s vehicle options. The original Dragula car hangs from the ceiling of Planet Hollywood in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
George then had the idea to make a Kustom Bicycle for little "Eddie Munster,” since his "Munster Koach" and "Dragula" cars had been worth their publicity weight in gold. See our article on the “Eddie Munster Bike from the TV Show,
The Munsters” in the “Star Cars” section of http://GearheadDIVA.com.

The custom cars designed and built by the Hollywood car Kustomizer King, George Barris, appeared in over twenty episodes throughout the 2 year run of the TV show. Both The Munsters and their spooky hot rods developed a huge, US fan base, and eventually garnered a cult following Internationally via re-runs of the TV series.


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