Last summer, amid all the chaos following the sudden collapse and closure of Toys “R” Us in the U.S., I found myself compelled to track down and tell the full story of an unusual piece of retail history that had gotten caught up in the shuffle: The Geoffreymobile.
A one-of-a-kind hot rod designed by legendary west coast “Kustomizer” George Barris (of ‘66 Batmobile fame), the Geoffreymobile would take shape under another legendary builder, Dick Dean (who once worked for Mattel).
Created as a parade vehicle that would debut on Nov. 28, 1980, at the National Rod, Custom, and Van Show at the New York Coliseum, the Geoffreymobile would serve as a family ride for Geoffrey the Giraffe, wife Gigi, son Geoffrey Jr., and daughter Baby Gee.
For nearly 40 years, the Geoffreymobile managed to survive, enduring a strange journey from coast-to-coast, from Los Angeles to New York, Detroit to Kansas City, and most recently, New Jersey to Pennsylvania. It’s been updated and overhauled along the way, finally being sold twice this summer.
Discovered in a custom trailer after the entire contents of the Toys “R” Us distribution center in Mount Olive, N.J., were sold as-is to a single buyer, the Geoffreymobile was quickly flipped to Robert Teel of Teel Auctions in Mt. Bethel, Pa.
I spoke to Robert back in July, at which time he’d had the Geoffreymobile cleaned-up and was having some fun letting kids check it out around their shop. But now it’s time to let it go.
On Feb. 12, 2019, the Geoffreymobile will be sold at auction, complete with its original trailer–a throwback to the glory days of Charles Lazarus’ then-growing toy empire. The estimated selling price is between $50,000 to $200,000.