Superteen Firebird: 1969 Barris Kustom Firebird 400

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The 1960s were a time of rebellion, innovation, and creativity in the automotive industry. One of the most iconic cars of that era was the Barris Superteen Firebird. Three examples were made of this custom car was the result of a collaboration between the legendary custom car builder George Barris and the General Motors. The Firebird was a one-of-a-kind creation that showcased the best of both worlds: the design ingenuity of GM and the custom fabrication expertise of Barris. The Firebird is listed here on eBay as is currently bid to $20,000 although the reserve has not been met. The car is located in Dalton, Georgia and there are 6 days remaining in the auction. The story of the Barris Superteen Firebird began in 1967, when GM approached Barris with a challenge. The company wanted to create a custom car that would appeal to the youth market, and they wanted Barris to work his magic on the project. Barris was no stranger to working with major car manufacturers. He had previously collaborated with Ford, Chrysler, and other companies to create custom cars for shows and exhibitions. However, this was a unique opportunity for Barris to work directly with GM’s design team and create a car from scratch.

Mechanically, the Firebird remained the same. In an interview with Barris, he states that the stock performance was more than sufficient and one of the reasons he selected the Firebird. In addition, he wanted to maintain the factory warranty. However, he did consider adding a supercharger at one point. The engine was a Pontiac 400-cubic inch V8, which was rated at 325 horsepower. The car was backed by an automatic transmission. Even a stock Firebird was a true performer on the road, and it could easily outrun many of its contemporaries.

The project began with a 1967 Firebird convertible, which was sent to Barris’ shop in North Hollywood, California. Barris and his team of fabricators immediately got to work on transforming the car into something truly special. The first step was to modify the body. Barris added a fiberglass front end, which included a new grille, headlights, and bumper. He also installed a custom hood scoop and side scoops, which added a sporty, aggressive look to the car. The interior of the Firebird remained relative stock. According to Barris, the cars were equipped with a Singer home stereo system but this one does not have that option.

The Barris Superteen Firebird was a major success for GM and Barris. The car was featured in numerous magazines, and it was even used as a promotional vehicle by GM. It was a good example of how the collaboration between a major car manufacturer and a custom car builder could result in something truly special. Today, the Barris Superteen Firebird is still remembered as one of the most iconic cars of the 1960s. Its unique blend of design and performance has inspired countless other custom cars over the years, and it continues to be a favorite among car enthusiasts.

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  1. KC JohnMember

    I gotta say, I think it’s ugly. I’m just not a big Barris fan though. It’s customization doesn’t enhance the car. Kinda has that Pep Boys two sided tape hood scoop feel. IMHO

    Like 41
    • Tracy

      I love Barris for the Tv cars however not so much on other things.

      Like 11
      • Pete.k

        The stock 67 firebird was simple, pure, beautiful !!!

        The tail end looks like J.C. Whitney add-ons this custom is just plain ugly!!!

        Like 1
    • David Badsheba

      Well I hurd that cobras ate birds for lunch and that is all I halve to say about it except that I wander if George Barris is any relation to Chuck Barris of Gong show fame. An also I dint like the looks of the bird, but ever buddy is hurd bout that.

      Like 0
  2. leiniedude leiniedudeMember

    Pretty sure I had seen all the iconic cars of the era, until now.

    Like 12
  3. CCFisher

    First, it’s a ’68, not a ’69.

    Second, I’m a bit confused. Is it one-of-a-kind, or were there others? The author suggests both scenarios, calling it “one-of-a-kind”, but later saying that “this one” does not have the Singer stereo. Seems like the starting bid on a one-off George Barris custom would be higher.

    Like 12
    • Rixx56Member

      I believe there were 3, but not certain.

      Like 2
    • 3Deuces

      While the project may have started with a ’67 Firebird 400, the finished product is definitely a ’68 (no vent windows, ’68 arrowhead rear side marker lights + wraparound front side marker lights, console, shifter and interior trim. If the VIN was made available, that would confirm this Kustom’s true model year.

      Like 4
    • Phillip Hamby

      Dear CC Fisher, General Motors worked with George Barris to turn three 1968 Firebirds into three Super Teen Birds. They were on one a major network broadcasting television. It was ABC, for 1968, “Songs of the 60’s List.” Singer was a major sponsor; in which two boys and one girl won a Super Teen Bird 1968 Firebird convertible and George Barris built three two shelves for each car mentioned. On top, was a Singer stereo and the bottom, had a Singer typewriter. The Singer stereo and Singer typewriter, and George Barris-built two shelf was to carry them to the winner’s apartment; not stay in the convertible, since this would tear the rear seat of the convertible. Each car had much power; with a Pontiac 400 CID engine with T bar and automatic transmission in all three who won the Super Teen Birds. This is the last one. The Super Teen Birds 1968 Firebirds had stock heavy-duty air cleaners had the Super Teen Birds’ markings on the black air cleaner: just by the rubber radiator top hose. The hosts of 1968’s, ABC: “Song of the 60’s List” was Ed Ames and Aretha Franklin. George Barris had a hawk-fiberglass nose, dual hood scoops, a custom bar chrome grill, four Sylvania headlights, a long red, white, and blue spear stripes. On the left and right doors are two bolt-on hood scoops in pearl silver. In between them; was more red, white, and blue spear tripes. We come to the rear; and there was a spoiler, another large matching set; of red,white, and blues spear stripes coming in the middle on the spoiler. The Pontiac 400 CID was painted the correct authentic metallic blue. It had air conditioning, and AM/ FM radio. “Cars of the Stars” by George Barris and Scagnetti copyrighted 1974.I own two copies. The first,I drew Custom Power’s Newsletter for payment. I bought another on eBay fifteen years ago. I know Dave owned one but, his Super Teen Bird was parked in the front his house; then someone slammed into and totaled it.

      Like 1
      • Phillip Hamby

        This was a labor of love to restore the car to mint condition. George Barris had many kooky cars; some people liked his kooky cars; then others who didn’t care for them. It was a business to take car his family. Did you know Barris Kustoms had a Beach Rod? It was gold, with a nose, and open areas, then it went curved by the thin large chrome air cleaner. It also had a spoiler like a wing you see on altered drag cars. It had thinner tires and chrome wheels. Boy, for years, I’ve actually studied George Barris in order to see what made him tick. I found some things through over fifties years of research. According to George Barris,
        he came to Los Angeles to get into show business as a tap dancer. After all, both Sam Barris and George Barris were tap dancers in Sacramento, CA as young boys.

        Like 0
  4. Maggy

    I would like this car without the ugly stripes and guitar montage.That stuff destroys the look of the original design or what he was trying to accomplish Imo.

    Like 10
    • Kevin Kendall

      It has a retro Woodstock look with the guitars on the fenders,only missing the little bird

      Like 1
    • Phillip Hamby

      Dear Maggy and ladies and gentlemen; It was called the Teen Bird, because of an ABC teen and song and dance TV show. Yes, the seat was full with, Singer’s stereo and speakers. It took up the whole back seat. Buy a book called Cars of the Stars by George Barris and Scagnetti copyright 1974. I have two copies. It’s hardbound with a paper cover; for drawing, as payment, for Custom Power Newsletters’ business card; I drew. The second I bought on eBay fifteen years ago. Yes, there were three. Dave, who owned a Barris Kustoms Super Teen Bird; had it parked out in the front by his house; and someone slammed into and totaled the car. I guess this Georgian one is the only one left. Now as a custom car artist, I know, what the car really looked like. It didn’t have a V-8 with chrome turbocharger, or it, wasn’t, a six cylinder, as the MPC’s two engine options; had it written as; a 1970 Firebird car model: Teen Bird model had a T top and not a convertible. It did show the Singer stereo system. So now I have to locate a 1967 Firebird 1/25 model. Maggy, many people didn’t like George Barris custom nose and grills; on custom cars, but there were many; who did like them. Also, George Barris stripes, were his thing, or fogged paint jobs from light to dark; on Pat Priest’s 1966 Ford Thunderbird convertible speedster top too. The speedster top was in black leather surrounded by chrome; which was silver and fogged Burgandy paint job in the center indentations of the doors; with aluminum taillight louvers. Phil

      Like 2
      • Phillip Hamby

        Everyone you don’t know the facts. I messaged the seller and this beautiful, pearl silver Super Teen 1968 Firebird; was restored, with Super Teen Bird, red, and blue guitars, in the front fender quarter panels. The red and, white. and blue stripes, were recreated for the hawk nose. It had two scoops in the hood. The grill was horizontal bar design. It had two dual headlights; that looked like Silvania. The two different side scoops had to be installed and after the body and doors were painted pearl silver. The spoiler which is a three-piece unit horizontally; both the doors, had to have red,white,blue,stripes, perfectly; inserted, between, the two different hood scoops; which is also the same color; as the body. Then a longer, over red, white, blue, spear stripe, over the spoiler. Why don’t you agree to disagree as husbands and wives. George Barris had many kooky cars, but people loved him for that. If George Barris was alive; he’d say: “it was a labor of love”. I see a cool car. It was used in a singing talent contest in 1968. It was on ABC called: ” Sounds of the 60’s List”. Ed Ames and Aretha Franklin were on the show; but the Super Teen Bird, was the talk of the show. The teens really loved the car. A joint venture with General Motors and George Barris working together. King of Kustomizers George Barris; was to turn, the 1968 Firebird, into the Super Teen Bird. Singer was a major sponsor. A Singer stereo went in the back seats. George Barris built a shelf to carry this big stereo. There was also a white typewriter on the button shelves. The girls and boys who were teenagers won these. This is the only one in existence. I email Dave who owned one, but someone slammed into a totaled it. Each Super Teen Bird was a convertible; powered by a Pontiac 400 CID V-8; which had; large black stock air cleaners that had Super Teen Bird markings; on the front on the air cleaners in red, white and blue. Removed the wing nut and tap out the dirt in your air filter; put the lid on, tighten your wing nut,then go buy a Fram air filter and save your old one, then buy a new one. Untighten your wing nut; and take the old filter out; and put in the Fram box. Then have a box and put this Fram box in you empty box, in your trunk. Then, put the lid on and tighten the wing nut. This saves more miles to the gallon with gasoline. Each car had an automatic transmission with a T bar. The steering wheel had a wooden steering wheel. A Pontiac insignia is in the middle of the steering wheel. The interior was light blue vinyl, with the sides in grey. The convertible top was black for the boot. The tires were size fourteens with Hurst shiny five spoke steel chrome mags. George Barris talked why they didn’t used sedans.They wanted to see everyone in the cars, so George Barris stuck with 1968 Firebird convertibles only. George even explained why; MPC1970 Super Teen Birds stuck to T top MPC kit only. They had the body mold for the 1970 Super Teen Birds, but not a convertible. The models were a high seller, and people like to collect rare model cars.

        Like 0
  5. Sam

    Looks like a STORAGE WARS Show. Park it for another 20 years.

    Like 0
  6. Domenic DAlessandro

    Not a fan at all. The front reminds me of a Corvair, side scoops are out of place.

    Like 0
  7. Big C

    I wasn’t a teen back in those days. But I thought I was aware enough to remember this car. Nope. Never seen it until today. Thanks Barn Finds!

    Like 10
  8. Steve Guayante

    Striping is ridiculous. The extended beak needs rhinoplasty.
    I agree with the Pep Boys statement! Tacky. Rear wing is cool though.
    This car could have been marginally better if they would have did something with the interior.
    Fake woodgrain and blue vinyl? What is this? A Catalina wagon? For me, it doesn’t work with the general “attitude” of the car.
    Sure, it’s a Barris car, which has value and will sell.
    I would have preferred that they left it stock. Or extended that front end and stuffed it with a couple of blown big blocks!

    Like 0
  9. Troy McCutcheon

    I would never have put the stripes and graphics on this car,they ruin the body mods. Front end looks like Iso Griffo. Looks like George was running low on new ideas.

    Like 0
  10. PRA4SNW

    The love it or hate it look of this one must be holding it back.

    I would think that a Barris custom would bring more bids than the 20.7K that it sits at right now.

    Like 1
  11. Howie

    Just one solid color would be better.

    Like 6
  12. MisterBlue

    So many complainers here. Bottom line: it’s a potent, clean V8 convertible with sidepipes and only 8000 miles on it. Good grief. It’s a little quirky but it’s full of talking points, which opens up all kinds of communication. Buy it and be a teen again. (Note: I do think Barris should’ve added a roll bar.)

    Like 2
    • 370zpp 370zppMember

      Agree. 100%

      Like 0
  13. 455RAIV

    Cool find – Like these Contest Winner cars Specially Pontiacs – even though the Add on’s are just so so be proud to own it as is :)

    Like 1
  14. Claudio

    I find it fugly
    A stock firebird looked better
    I. Agree that it should be left as is
    Because it is a Barris custom
    A low Mileage custom car
    Zero chance of an encounter with another one at c&c


    Like 0
  15. C5 Corvette

    I like this car without the stripes and guitar. I’m undecided about the side pipes. I think Solid Chrome Doug side pipes would look better.

    Like 1
  16. Allen L

    Is this where GM got the idea for the basket handle rear wing for the 1969 Trans-Am?

    Like 1
  17. Comet

    I know it’s a Pontiac but it reminds me of the Sonny and Cher Mustangs. I love it!

    Like 0
  18. HarryQ

    Gene Winfield was commissioned by DeLorean to style the 1969 Trans Am. He used side scoops that faced rearward aft of the front wheels, but were remarkably similar, with two stacked scoops. Also the hood scoops, and the rear wing are quite similar (whch was, I am told, done by Dan Hardin of Herb Adams’ group). And the first 1969 Trans Am prototype was silver.You can find out about it with a Web search.

    I don’t recall Winfield ever crediting George Barris for some of the styling cues, but I really wonder whether Winfield either carried over Barris’
    theme, or perhaps DeLorean told Winfield what to do.

    Like 1
  19. Wes Alker

    You can pretty much tell “a Barris car” right off start. Cutting edge for the day but, not so much for contemporary builds and yet, today’s car builders still revere his creations and rightly so. Only one reason I wouldn’t want to own it, I’d be scared to death to drive it and cars are meant to be driven.

    Like 1
  20. PRA4SNW

    Ended at $78,467, Reserve Not Met.

    Looks like there was plenty of shill going on with this one.

    Like 1
  21. HarryQ

    Reading the comments about MPC triggered an “Ah-ha!” moment. In the mid/late 1960s when i was in junior high/high school in Bloomfield Hills, George Toteff’s family lived three houses away. George (I called him,Mr. Toteff), was a VP at AMT, then left to found MPC. His kids were younger, and he was very gracious toward me and a friend. I caught the car disease visiting my dad’s office at GM Research Labs at the Tech Center when I saw the original Firebird turbine concept cars in the lobby. I could, like many of you, tell an oncoming car at night by the headlights. I visited MPC’s design department many times, and worked a summer movingh cases of model kits in and out of old semi-trailers in the lot behind the MPC factory because MPC didn’t have warehouse space. Being hot and sweaty for 8 hours a day was a great motivation of stay in college.

    But I got to meet a bunch of people I read about in the magazines like Hot Rod and Car Craft. People like Ray Brock, and George Barris. I am a bit fuzzy, but I think i met Gene Winfield too. I also got to “work” (for zero pay) in the MPC booth at the Detroit Autorama, modifying kits. I talked to George Barris at a car show probably 15 years ago, and he had kept what I learned was a close friendship with George Toteff.

    George Toteff had a 1963 Thunderbird customized by Barris, that was candy apple red, and had front fender peaks squared off, that were reminiscent of the same vintage Lincoln, although no chrome caps. That car was later redone in a garish lime green metal flake, which George Toteff described as “bogus”, then used as a moderately derogatory slang term.

    Here’s the “Ah-ha!”. I strongly suspect that cars like this Firebird were commissioned by MPC, not for the full-size cars, but as a marketing strategy for the kits. Those kits sold well, appealing to maybe kids slightly younger than me. I was more into things like converting a 1961 Corvette kit, adding a lot of the putty used to modify those kits, into a model of the original Corvette Stingray race car. I remember showing that half-finished to George Toteff who seemed genuinely impressed.

    Thinking about what I didn’t understand as a teen, the synergy worked both ways. They would make models of real custom cars, and MPC would sketch and make custom 1/25 models that were replicated in real cars.

    I outgrew the models, and didn’t stay in touch with George Toteff. But a few years later I connected with the Pontiac engineers racing the Gray Ghost. I started doing things like waxing the car, cleaning the wheels, and keeping manual lap charts, but worked my way into the suspension and brakes engineer lead role on the next SCCA Trans-Am and NASCAR cars, and as the only one not working for Pontiac, got to know the various guys and heard the stories behind Pontiac’s high-performance cars from that era.

    And I still wonder about the scoops and the wing on this Firebird. The side scoops are in a different place, but the wing, the hood scoops, and the side scoops look a lot like the pieces Gene Winfield did at DeLorean’s direction for the 1969 Trans-Am prototype. DeLorean directed Herb Adams to work with Gene Winfield on the 1969 Trans-Am, and aerodynamicist, Paul Lamar worked on the aero package for the 2nd Generation Trans-Am, including the front fender exit scoops, the reverse hood scoop, and the add-on fender fairings. Locating the side scoops aft of the front fender openings was likely Herb’s input.

    Like 2
  22. HarryQ

    Rereading Phillip Hamby’s post more carefully, I realized he is right about this being a GM-driven PR effort, rather than MPC-led, but I have high confidence that MPC was part of the deal, but it was probably GM paying something, perhaps not cash directly, to MPC to do a model. As I said, Barris and MPC’s co-founder/CEO were good friends.

    Pontiac, went from #6 in sales to #3 in sales with Bunkie Knudsen, Pete Estes and John DeLorean driving. They pushed performance, but they also did some relatively inexpensive alternatives to print advertising. One part was the ad agency, Manus, John, & Adams, who employed Jim Wangers. I don’t know anywhere near all the details, but I do know that Eric Dhalquist, who had been head of Hot Rod Magazine and Motor Trend, had his own agency working with, initially Pontiac, and later with other companies, was responsible for the various TV and movie placements in the 1980s, probably beginning in the mid-1970s, for Night Rider, Rockford Files, Smokey and the Bandit, and others.

    Like 0

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