“Where does he get those wonderful toys?” – The Joker in Batman (1989)
The first thing I ever read was a Batman comic, so I guess it comes as no surprise that I’m fascinated by and love to collect things associated with the Dark Knight. But the thing I enjoy the most is Batman’s main transportation, the Batmobile.
For instance, it caught my attention when $4.2 million (before fees and premiums that brought the total closer to $4.6 million) was paid on Jan. 19 by Rick Champagne, a business owner from Phoenix, Ariz., to purchase the original Batmobile (see above). The vehicle Champagne now owns was used in the original TV series that ran from 1966 to 1968.
The car had never been available for purchase before, so there was no way to estimate its value, but Reuters said that in 1965 it was bought for a single dollar—yes, only $1.00—by the man who would spend a paltry $15,000 to turn the 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car into what we now know as the Batmobile. That man, George Barris, had previously kept the car in a California showroom. Champagne, according to the Chicago Tribune, will keep the car in his living room. Lucky guy!
It seems like every artist who draws an issue of a Batman comic has to create his own version of the Batmobile. Some have been terrific, while others have been silly. I mean, who could drive a car with huge and intricate spikes jutting out of the thing? Not even Batman can pull that off!
To honor this event, I’m going to list some of my favorite versions of the Batmobile.
First off, here’s my favorite Batmobile. It was created for The New Adventures Of Batman that aired on The WB. I love the sleek, dark look of it. This actually was the first maquette/statue I bought that was sold at the old Warner Bros. stores. It was pricey $195.00, but man, am I ever glad I have it!
Next up was the best part of the Batman show in the 60s with Adam West, and that was the aforementioned Batmobile. It was smooth and cool, black with a red stripe around it. It had a laser and rocket launchers. Whenever it shows up when I watch an episode of the show on cable, I pay strict attention whenever the flames shoot out of the back of the vehicle’s back before the car launches out into the world to fight crime. Very cool.
The next Batmobile is from the first Michael Keaton Batman film (left). It did a lot of interesting things, like dropping a round bomb around some baddies—and it even survived the blast! Where do I get one of these?
After that, I have to place the Batmobile from Batman Begins. Now, I don’t really care for the tank-like appearance, but any vehicle that can drive along the tops of buildings (including churches) will be on my list! I was pretty sorry to see it get destroyed in The Dark Knight, but Bruce Wayne has enough money to build several more of these, if he can just get that crazy frog out of his throat when he dons the cape and cowl.
For my honorable mentions, I have to include the Batmobile from Batman: The Animated Series, which was pretty much nothing more than an engine and a seat behind it. It still looked great, but it’s a guy thing to admire it, I think. See right:
Next is the vehicle from The Batman animated series that appeared on Kids WB. I hated the show, but as usual, I really loved the car! Maybe we should have a show dedicated to the Batmobile?
One more deserves to be mentioned, and that is the Batmobile from Batman Beyond. It looked great and flew, so I really liked that!
I’m sure there will be plenty more versions of the Batmobile to come!