You must have seen the Munsters TV show from the mid-1960s sometime. Between the original two years of first-run shows and the thousands of repeats over the last 50-plus years, it is ubiquitous. And one of the main features of the show for us car enthusiasts is now coming up for auction, Grandpa Munsters’ Dragula coffin dragster.
Dragula was created for the TV series The Munsters in the 1960s
Another creation of the customizer George Barris, the Dragula was designed by Tom Daniel for Barris. It was actually made from a real coffin that employees were able to back-door from a local North Hollywood mortuary. Coffins couldn’t be sold without a death certificate and Grandpa Muster wasn’t dead yet.
Dragula, along with the Munsters Koach, were just two of the many TV series vehicles that came out of the prolific Barris Kustoms headquarters in Hollywood. Another memorable creation at that time was Barris’ Batmobile.
Both the Munsters Koach and Dragula used 289 ci Ford small-block engines
Built on a modified T-bucket frame, it was powered by a Ford 289 ci V8 with a Mickey Thompson Ram-Thrust intake and four carburetors. Barris claimed it had 350 hp. It was hooked to a C-4 automatic transmission spinning an early Ford rear end. The Munsters Koach also used Ford’s small-block and C-4 automatic. George must have been getting deals on them.
The 90-degree zoomies give the impression of organ pipes while vintage headlights and taillights confirm the gothic theme. Little chrome spiders were used for the Radir wheels in the back. The real radiator was hidden behind the front of the casket, while the normal place for one had Grandpa Munster’s headstone.
Interior parts from real dragsters was used for Dragula’s interior
A custom bubble top was made to cover the cockpit. Purple leather with gold lame trim highlights the interior. A butterfly dragster steering wheel and pedal used for actual drag racing were also incorporated into Dragula.
The Munsters TV storyline for Dragula’s existence was that it was built for Grandpa to win back the Munsters Koach which Herman Munster lost betting all or nothing in a drag race. But the story changed in the full-length feature movie Munsters Go Home. In it, Grandpa builds Dragula for a cross-country race Herman has entered. The engine from the Munsters Koach is supposedly used in Dragula in the movie.
More than one dragster was built
In all, there were five Dragula dragsters built. Auction company Mecum says this is the last of the five and “most authentic in existence.” Other Dragula dragsters have been found at car museums and as decoration at places like Planet Hollywood in Atlantic City.
Dragula is festooned with autographs of cast members and some involved with the design and building of the famous car. Mecum is auctioning it off this coming January in Kissimmee, Florida. How much do you think it will go for?