What Is This Wild George Barris Custom Car Doing In A UK Auction?
A car boasting 48 exhaust pipes and the name of Snakepit sounds like something driven by the devil incarnate–and definitely not what you’d expect to find in one of the listings in the first online auction from UK-based H&H Classics, scheduled for Saturday February 2. You probably already figured this is an unusual offering but factor in a total vehicle length of 23-feet and the fact that this car comes with no fewer than six V8 engines and you’ve got to wonder if such a thing exists. It all sounds much like jolly old English balderdash until you also read the name of George Barris, legendary vehicle customizer responsible for numerous motors that flashed across television screens back in the 1960s and 1970s. From the original Batmobile to Black Beauty in The Green Hornet, the General Lee in the Dukes of Hazzard and beyond, George and his team were a custom-shop in constant demand.
Barris also took on some additional projects, including the steel-bodied Snakepit. Designed to “attack international speed records at speeds that stagger the imagination”, this noteworthy creation came with 2000hp and a goal of 300mph. But as any speed record fan will know, 300mph is no walk in the park. Snakepit took four years to build and ate up a huge budget of $100,000 (equivalent of £1 million today). Fitted with six Ford 351 V8 engines, 12 Holley carburettors, two Ford C6 automatic transmissions and two fuel tanks, it’s clear someone wanted to make a point. But was the Snakepit really a serious contender for speed records? Rather comfortable looking seats, a complete absence of safety equipment and somewhat unsubtle orange velvet interior suggest not. Instead this vehicle has largely passed from one car collection to another and now finds itself for sale in the UK rather than its native Hollywood. Selling complete with trailer, this unique machine now speeds to auction with no reserve and a whole load of very oddball features.