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US creator of the iconic 1960s Batmobile dies

A file picture dated 05 Apr 2015 shows US custom car designer George Barris posing with the Batmobile at US actor Adam West's star ceremony on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Hollywood, California, USA.

[LOS ANGELES] George Barris, the man who designed and built the black, fire-spitting vehicle made famous in the 1960s "Batman" television series, has died in Los Angeles, his son Brett announced on Facebook.

Known as the "King of the Kustomizers," the 89 year-old Mr Barris died at home in his sleep on Thursday.

"Sorry to have to post that my father, legendary kustom car king George Barris, has moved to the bigger garage in the sky," the Facebook posting said.

Aside from the iconic Batmobile, Mr Barris also created vehicles for the 1980s TV show "Knight Rider," and the 1960s shows "The Munsters," "The Beverly Hillbillies" and "The Monkees." His vehicles also appeared in the 1959 Alfred Hitchcock movie "North by Northwest."

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Mr Barris opened a car rebuilding company with his brother in Los Angeles in 1945. The company, named Barris Kustom Industries, remains in operation today.

Mr Barris said that his company made the Batmobile in two weeks from a 1955 Lincoln Futura concept sedan he bought for just a dollar.

In 2013 that Batmobile sold at auction for more than US$4 million.