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DRAG-U-LA, along with the Munster Koach, was one of two cars on the television show The Munsters designed by legendary Kustom Kar personality George Barris and prolific show car designer Tom Daniel while working for George Barris and Barris Kustom Industries. These many years later many are all too fast to list the excellent staff Mr. Barris had under his employment as the sole entities behind certain specific vehicles when in actuality it was the open work environment and collaborative effort between George Barris and his staff that created Dragula and other fine masterpieces.
The fiberglass body of DRAG-U-LA was built from a real fiberglass coffin that Richard "Korky" Korkes was able to purchase from a funeral home in North Hollywood. Korky Korkes stated in 2013, it was illegal to sell a coffin without a death certificate. Korky made a deal with the funeral director, paid in cash, and it was agreed the coffin would be left outside the rear door of the funeral parlor where the Barris crew would collect it after dark.
It featured a 350HP, 289CI Ford Mustang V-8 engine, with a four-speed stick shift. It had two four-barrel carburetors mounted on a Mickey Thompson Ram-Thrust manifold. The carburetors were mounted backwards in respect to the typical mounting method in an effort to save space and modified the pull type throttle actuation into a pusher type. Space as one can imagine was always precious realestate in such a vehicle.
The rear tires were 10.50-inch Firestone racing slicks, mounted on custom 10-inch Radir aluminum and steel wheels. Each hubcap was decorated with a large silver spider. The front tires were 4-inch Italian tires on Speedsport English buggy wire wheels. To extend the Gothic motif further, Barris installed four Zoomie style organ pipes on each side of the car in lieu of a standard exhaust pipe, and mounted antique lamps on the front and rear.
The front of the vehicle sported a marble gravestone—supposedly Grandpa Munster's license plate "from the Old Country"—with the inscription: "Born 1367, Died ?". A "hidden" radiator was topped with a small golden casket. The driver sat in the rear of the vehicle behind the engine, under a plastic bubble.[better source needed]
There were some subtle changes or variations made to the automobile, such as tires, etc., generally for different aspects of filming for the movie Munster, Go Home! or for the television series.
This car was sold at the closeout auction of the Chicago Historical Antique Automobile Museum in Highland Park, Illinois, in 1985.
The original 1966 car was housed in Planet Hollywood in Atlantic City, New Jersey, where it hung from the ceiling. This Planet Hollywood location is now closed. On September 26th 2019 the vehicle was purchased by John Sbrigato at Planet Holleywood’s public auction. Mr Sbrigato was made aware that the vehicle was going to be put up for auction from former cast member and long time friend Butch Patrick AKA Eddie Munster.The vehicle now resides in a private collection along with the number three Munster Koach also built by George Barris.
While the car came from George Barris' shop, the car was constructed by Richard "Korky" Korkes and others who worked under Korky's direction while he managed the Barris facility.
In The Munsters
The 1966 movie Munster, Go Home! features an alternate origin. After Herman crashes a Jaguar limousine owned (and raced) by the Munster family of England, Grandpa builds the DRAG-U-LA, using the motor from the Munster Koach, so Herman can drive it in a cross-country automobile race.
In popular culture
- Rob Zombie titled a song on his Hellbilly Deluxe album "Dragula". Episode footage of the drag race was included in Zombie's horror film House of 1,000 Corpses.
- The DRAG-U-LA is a playable vehicle in the car combat video game Twisted Metal 4 driven by character based on a Rob Zombie and "Dragula" song is used as a soundtrack for Construction Yard level. Vehicle is also playable in Carmageddon: TDR 2000 (renamed "Drag-ghoul").
- The 1994 Hot Wheels car "Rigor Motor" is heavily based upon it.
- "SuperRadNow". Retrieved December 17, 2012.