Hemmings Find of the Day – 1975 Barris Snakepit
Ostensible land-speed contender 1975 George Barris Snakepit for sale on Hemmings.com. From the seller’s description:
This extreme example of the Californian customisers’ craft and ingenuity was created in the early 1970s, and took four years to complete. The gospel according to its promoters is that it was built to attack international speed records “at speeds that stagger the imagination”.
It was hand-built by a team led by George Barris and assisted by Harry Bradley, Joe Bailon and Jay Ohrberg. They were employed in this project by California Show Cars.
Serious aerodynamic considerations were applied to the vehicle’s all-steel streamlined body while its external skin panels were completely hand-crafted to a painstaking design. After the finishing touches were applied, the experts at Barris were given the task of applying 30 coats of hand rubbed lacquer, an orange finish over an initial pearl-white base coat.
The 300mph target speed of this 23-feet-long streamliner was to have been achieved through Barris’s use of six Cobra-Ford V8 engines, each displacing 351 cubic inches to deliver a total of 2,000 horsepower. Consequently, ‘Snakepit’s capacious engine room provides a successful no-reserve bidder with what has been described as “…96 valves to be synchronized, 48 spark plugs firing in unison, 12 Holley four-barrel carburetors, six Cragar transistorized distributors and 48 chromed exhaust pipes”, plus “…two Ford C-6 automatic transmissions and a pair of Pontiac rear ends”.
Furthermore, its promoters went on to describe how ‘Snakepit’ was to be “…controlled by the pilot using two Moon gas pedals, feeding fuel carried aboard in MOON aluminum tanks; a custom steering wheel and a Hurst dual pattern shifter. The driver is comfortably surrounded in an orange velvet interior. The engines, which have been super tuned to perfection, include among their specialty equipment, MOON racing camshafts, dual quad manifolds and valve covers by Edelbrock, and a variety of Ford and Autolite high performance gear”.
When ‘Snakepit’ was launched to an incredulous public in the 1970s it was valued at a claimed $100,000. This extraordinary feet of engineering has formed part of a private collection for the last ten years. It has not run in this time and is sold as viewed.
Palm Springs , California
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