Drag-U-La and the Coffin Car Fascination - TBucketPlans.com

Drag-U-La and the Coffin Car Fascination

In 1966, I was fascinated by way-out show cars like Steve Scott’s “Uncertain-T”, so when the “Hot Rod Herman” episode of The Munsters appeared with Grandpa’s Drag-U-La, built to win back the family Munster Coach, I was glued to that blurry Black & White television!

Just in case you’re too young to know or too old to remember take a look at this brief video highlight.

The Drag-U-La was created by legendary designer Tom Daniel to be built by Barris Kustom and its influence was more widespread and longer lasting than anyone could have imagined at the time. Not only did it inspire a multitude of clones that were created for both recreational and commercial purposes, but it also inspired scores of other coffin cars.

Drag-U-La Coffin Cars Casket Car (34)

I became aware of just how great the Drag-U-La influence was when several years ago while picking up an old Ford Y-Block in a remote part of Southwest Missouri that I spied a ragged coffin car parked in the side yard of a farmhouse.

I can understand the widespread popularity of coffin cars. Most are built on a narrowed version of a typical T-Bucket chassis and the only real challenge is where to find a donor casket by legitimate means.

Drag-U-La Coffin Cars Casket Car (58)

The variety of Drag-U-La inspired coffin cars is mind-boggling. While some are built on a T-Bucket chassis, others use a VW pan or anything else readily available such as a golf cart. Motivation runs the gamut from a simple electric motor to mild small blocks to full-on blown and injected or nitrous boosted big blocks,and even all the way to being jet engine powered.

Drag-U-La Coffin Cars Casket Car (23)

So, with Halloween approaching it’s only appropriate to bask in the glory of the many coffin cars inspired by Grandpa Munster’s Drag-U-La. Enjoy this growing gallery of photos and if you’re a coffin rodder whose ride has been left out, send us some pics and we’ll be sure to add them.

Click on any Gallery pic to enlarge and scroll through the Gallery.

Since last Halloween even more T-Bucket inspired spooky car pics have come to light. Enjoy this new gallery addition.

And, if you still can’t get enough Drag-U-La here’s a longer clip from the Munsters.

If you’ve enjoyed this Halloween season feature, please be sure to share with your friends. Thanks.

Author Details
My grandparents subscribed to Life Magazine and I would look through each new weekly issue when I visited them. In the Spring of 1957, my 8 year old eyes were transfixed on a full page photo of Southern California rod builder Norm Grabowski chowing down on a car hop-delivered cheeseburger while seated with a buddy in the coolest car I had ever seen! The flames were awesome and the Cadillac engine hanging out there for all to see was mind-boggling. Contrary to popular misconception, the photo of Norm in what would shortly become known as the “Kookie Kar” was not on the cover. Rather, it was part of a Photographic Essay titled, “The drag racing rage: hot rodders grow in numbers but the road to respectability is a rough one.” Wow! A radically cool looking car that’s also part of an outlaw movement — I was hooked. About a year later, I was able to feed my appetite for more of this fascinating rod that started what would later become known as the T-bucket movement. Warner Brothers introduced the detective TV drama, 77 Sunset Strip, which ran for six seasons and featured car valet Edd “Kookie” Byrnes whose personal car in the show was Norm’s hot rod that had been rented out to the producers for $50 per day. Unfortunately, it wasn’t in every episode, but I became an avid fan always hoping to catch a glimpse. The T-Bucket fire still burns strong.

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