Rockstars' Garage: Jimmy Bryant's George Barris Voxmobile

Perhaps the fastest promotional vehicle ever is the 1967 Voxmobile, shaped like two Vox guitars and crammed full of other Vox products with a total power output of 1000 Watts. The engine is pretty muscular, a 4.7-litre Ford V8, as used in the early AC Cobra and capable of pushing the Voxmobile to a claimed top speed of 175mph.

Renowned for making the Vox AC30 guitar amplifier, the Vox electric organ, and a series of innovative electric guitars and bass guitars, Vox approached George Barris to build a Voxmobile guitar auto. Their idea was to fabricate a custom roadster that would function both as a car and as a mobile amplifier, designed to be used for promotional purposes. And their dreams came true with Voxmobile, a vehicle with a Vox guitar silhouette that served as a functioning amp that could support up to 32 guitars, and also featured a working Vox organ in the rear deck.

The vehicle resembled a VOX Phantom 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 (in 1968) show-stopping roadster, the Voxmobile is a completely functional unit in every respect. Its primary purpose was to project a new concept exposing VOX guitars. 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 2 main drive speakers mounted atop the intake manifold, five 12" speakers, one 18" bass speaker and four tweeters. As though this wouldn't suffice a Muntz stereo cartridge tape deck was installed which is used to produce music when you happen not to have a 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 belt out appropriate music while the car is being driven in a parade.

The Voxmobile was created for and owned by Vox and then sold to country guitar slinger Jimmy Bryant. In 1980 it was sold to Bill Baker, a musician and guitar store owner in Denver. The car is now owned by Brian Brock and Kevin Ryan, both vintage guitar enthusiasts.