Friday, August 16, 2013

The Voxmobile

     In the 1960's, George Barris of Barris Kustom City was approached by the national program director of VOX, with an idea to build them a wild customized, two-place roadster which would be completely functional as a car AND as a VOX amplifier. This vehicle was to resemble a VOX guitar in silhouette and would create its own high fidelity audio through the use of self-contained VOX sound equipment. 

    Besides being a beautiful $30,000 show-stopping roadster, the Voxmobile is a completely functional unit in every respect. Its primary purpose is to project this new concept exposing the VOX guitar. This giant amplifier can facilitate no less than thirty-two compatible VOX guitars with input jacks located along the top of the side body panels and has a VOX dual manual Continental organ mounted in the rear deck area. Power is transformed from the primary source of supply, a 12 volt Auto-Lite automotive battery, to 110 AC through two 450 watt inverters.

     The wild guitar sounds are powered by three powerful VOX Beatle amplifiers, complete with reverb, treble/bass boost and mid-range boost. There is an array of speakers hidden in the framework. In all, there are two main drive speakers mounted atop the intake manifold, 5 twelve-inch speakers, one 18 inch bass speaker and 4 tweeters. As though this wouldn’t suffice, a Muntz stereo cartridge tape deck was installed. It houses six stereo speakers and modulators and will be used to produce music when you happen not to have a rock-n-roll band handy.

     In order that the Voxmobile might be utilized to the fullest, special chrome steps were mounted astride the body, and along the bottom of the rear deck compartment. These steps make it possible for three guitarists and an organist to parade. John Philip Sousa might say, “It sure beats a marching band!” The Voxmobile has been used by many famous artists, including Paul Revere & The Raiders, Strawberry Alarm Clock, and "The Fastest Guitarist in the World", Jimmy Bryant. Even "Lord Valve", the man the locals call Fat Willie, once drove the car in a parade. He said they "had to stop a lot to let the engine cool down."

     The VOXMOBILE once resided inside Fat City at 5091 E. Colfax Avenue, but has since disappeared!

Fat City - Photo by Jonny Barber
The Voxmobile - Photo by Jonny Barber
The Voxmobile - Photo by Jonny Barber
The Voxmobile - Photo by Jonny Barber

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