A Dean Dragula

A Koach/Drag-U-La interview with
Dick Dean 

1.) Tom Daniels drew the Koach and Drag-U-La. How close did the cars come to the concept? He said he also named the Drag-U-La.
The drawings and the finished products were very close, and true, he did name the Drag-U-La.

2.) Is it true that the bottom of front seat of the Koach had to be removed to allow Fred Gwynne to fit into the car to drive it?
Yes, we didn't think the costume would be that big, and he didn't come for a fitting.

3.) I've read that there are three Koach's. True of False? If so, where is the third one? Is it the shorter version that was made for the more recent Fox TV-movie? Did Barris make this one too? If so, are there any pictures of it?
There are two that I made for Barris, and one some jerk made a bad copy of and sold it to Jay Ohrburg. It was not the shorter version that was made for the more recent Fox TV movie. The #2 car was used.

4.) Did you also work on the other Koach?
Yes, I made the second one with my son in 1985.

5.) When was the other Koach built?
The second was built in 1985.

6.) Was the Koach hard to drive? Was it fast?
Both were good drivers. The 2nd had a 350 Olds and auto trans. Yes, fast.

7.) 10 carburetors for 8 cylinders? Isn't that over kill?
The carbs on both cars were phony. There was a 4 barreled carb under the box.

8.) Is three miles to the gallon a close estimate?
No, probably 18 - 20. We never really checked, just filled it up as needed.

9.) When the show was still in production, did the cars stay on the Universal lot?
Most of the time, unless we had a show to do.

10.) Were the cars serviced by the Barris shop? Maintenance, etc...?

11.) I saw a list of people that worked on the Batmobile. Who all worked on the Koach? The same people perhaps? Who had what job?
No, Les Tompkins, Tubs and myself. We just all worked together, no one had any specific job to do.

12.) Is it really true that when you drive the Drag-U-La you would almost get exfixiated? I read an Al Lewis interview and he said he nearly passed out from the exhaust fumes.
No, I never did, the exhaust was outside and blowing up in the air. He may have been talking about the time they used a smoke bomb to make it look like the tires were spinning.

13.) In "Munster, Go Home" there are several shots of the Drag-U-La doing wheelies. Was this the car or a special effect?
The first stuntman did one and bent the axle, and we took it back and repaired it and it was able to do wheelies on it's own.

14.) How many Drag-U-La's have you built? I seem to remember you saying 4 or 5. Where are they? What part did you play in making the original car?
I oversaw all the work on all the cars. We had two helpers and me on the #1. #2 is in Atlantic City in a museum. #3 is in Gatlinburg, Tennessee at a museum, and there is no motor or trans or rear end in that car. #4 is owned by Ricky DeBanardo in New York. He is opening a museum some time next year. He is using it at car shows all the time as he loves to drive it.

15.) What do you know about Barris obtaining the coffin to make the car? Where did you get them for the newer ones?
The first coffin was obtained from the prop shop and was first used in the movie "Some Like It Hot." The next three - I get the coffins from Mexico as you can't buy them in the States without a dead body.

16.) While the shop was building the cars, did the studio shirts or any of the cast come by and check it out?
Yes, the stunt coordinator would come by the check the safety of the car and make suggestions. The rest of the shirts were too busy to come by. 

17.) In your professional opinion as a car builder: If the Koach and Drag-U-La were commissioned today, how do you think they would be different from what was done in the early '60's?
If the Koach was built today it would be a direct clone, as the parts are available to build that car. The Drag-U-La, the last three I built are different from the 1st because they don't make round cornered coffins.

Dick and Jeanne Dean
Dick and Jeanne Dean
Another interview with Dick is on www.1966batmobile.com

Thanks to Dick for taking the time to answer these questions!
(Be careful Dick, I'm sure more will follow...)
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