Your age could be the determining factor as it pertains to your favorite version of the legendary Batmobile. Perhaps your first introduction to the vehicle and to the Batman lore was in the form of comic books. Maybe you appreciated the campy nature of the old Batman television serious that featured Adam West driving the Batmobile around Gotham. The Batman story and also the Batmobile received modern updates with Batman Begins and the start of a trilogy that was well-received by fans and by critics. For some, Christian Bale‘s portrayal of The Dark Knight is the only Batman they have known.
The Batmobile will be getting another facelift in 2016 with the release of the blockbuster movie Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. It is, thus, as good a time as any to go back in time and review stories linked with older versions of the Batmobile. For starters, you may be surprised to learn that a version of the Batmobile was once involved in an incident that included an individual allegedly operating a motorized vehicle while intoxicated. At least the person was not, in this instance, driving the Batmobile after having too many beverages. That could have been disastrous in several different ways.
15. Drunk Driver & the Batmobile
It is, of course, never a good idea to get behind the wheel of any automobile after you have consumed one too many alcoholic beverages. If, however, you decide to make this unwise decision in an area where a Batman movie is being filmed, it is smart to at least be on the lookout for the Batmobile. One driver did not get the memo back during the filming of Batman Begins, apparently, as he rammed into the side of the Batmobile after he had allegedly been drinking. While that is an avoidable mistake, that driver will at least have a funny, albeit an embarrassing, story to tell friends and families.
14. The Creator and Inspiration
One of the mainstays of the Batman television series from the 1960s was the Batmobile, a car that was straight out of a comic book. The creator of that version of the Batmobile was George Barris. Barris, per MeTV.com, built that Batmobile from a 1955 Lincoln Futura. His vision of the Batmobile was not a one-off for Barris. Among his other projects, Barris was responsible for the hot rod seen on The Munsters, the truck driven by the Beverly Hillbillies and the K.I.T.T. car used in Knight Rider. Barris sadly passed away in November 2015. He was 89 years old at the time of his death.
The Batman & Robin movie from 1997, the one that starred George Clooney as The Dark Knight, is one that was had not been all that well-received by fans over the past couple of decades. Plenty about the movie, including the Batmobile, could leave one shaking his head. The Batmobile used in Batman & Robin was a convertible, which is curious because other editions of the car had a seat for a passenger. One would think that a movie that features Robin is a major role would, at the very least, have explained that Batman would make some changes to the Batmobile; you know, just in case Robin’s motorcycle experiences a breakdown on the side of the road.
12. Jeff Dunham’s Road-Worthy Batmobile
The headlines write themselves about a comedian – yes, a “joker” – buying a Batmobile. That is exactly what happened in 2011 when comedian and ventriloquist Jeff Dunham bought himself a version of the Batmobile. Dunham’s Batmobile, as he explained in an interview, was a prop used in the Batman Returns movie. Dunham did not intend on just having the Batmobile parked in a garage so that friends and family members could look inside of it whenever they visited his home. He made several upgrades to the car so that it would be safe to drive. Watching Dunham drive his Batmobile down the road would be quite the sight when you are making your trek to or from work.
11. New Trilogy: What’s In A Name?
The Batman character that was introduced in Batman Begins and that existed up through the end of the trilogy was not at all comedic or campy. It, thus, would have been somewhat silly for that Bruce Wayne to name the famous car anything other than what it was: The Tumbler. This Tumbler was not actually called the Batmobile in any of the films. It will be interesting to see, moving forward in a world where there are now “R-rated” superhero movies, if the tradition of not naming the Batmobile will continue. In time, the darker and edgier Batman may be replaced.
10. The $4.2 Million “Adam West” Batmobile
There is something to be said for nostalgia. We remember certain moments and things from our childhoods with fondness, which is why we collect memorabilia from years and decades ago. Nostalgia probably had something to do with a buyer being willing to spend a reported $4.2 million on the Batmobile that was used in the Batman television series from the 1960s. That purchase, per USA Today, occurred in January 2013. The seller of the car was none other than the previously mentioned George Barris. Barris was, according to the USA Today story, “pleased” with the sale. We bet that he was happy when the check cleared.
9. The $137,000 Original Batmobile
Before the Batmobile from the famous Batman television series was introduced to viewers, the first Batmobile that was licensed by DC Comics existed. This Batmobile was, according to a Reuters story, built in 1963. This version of the Batmobile was created by a Batman fan named Forrest Robinson. The car was used for promotional purposes, but it eventually became a forgotten piece of American entertainment history. Per the Reuters story, this Batmobile was found in 2008, and it was put up for auction after it was restored. The car sold for $137,000 in 2014, a fraction of the price that the Batmobile from the television series fetched the previous year.
8. Keaton’s Cowl Didn’t Fit
That old adage that teaches that you should “measure twice, cut once” is one that probably should have been followed in the making of the Batman movie that starred Michael Keaton as the superhero. According to a story on Vulture, the ears that were on the cowl worn by Keaton were so tall that the Batmobile would not close. This was a problem because it was impossible to lower the seats of the Batmobile due to the nature of the car. A new cowl had to be made so that everything fit just right. No harm done in the end, but this is probably something that should have been considered ahead of time.
7. Chris O’Donnell’s Fender Bender
The Batman Forever movie may not have been a classic. It did, however, tell a decent story, and it introduced the Robin character who would be used in that awful Batman & Robin film that can politely be referred to as a “sequel.” There is a scene in Batman Forever where Chris O’Donnell, playing the Robin character, steals the Batmobile for a night out on the town. Art imitated life in this instance, as O’Donnell reportedly demanded that he be allowed to drive the Batmobile. O’Donnell allegedly hit a curb while operating this version of the Batmobile, which may have been the end of his days driving the car.
6. Batman Forever’s Batmobile Was Inspired By “Leather Fetish”
Batman Forever was meant to serve as a fresh start for Batman tales. Part of the idea was to change the looks of Gotham, the suit worn by Batman, and also the Batmobile. Well-known director Joel Schumacher was brought in for the project, and Schumacher incorporated his visions for a new Batmobile. His Batmobile, according to vehicle supervisor Allen Pike, was allegedly inspired by a “leather fetish magazine.” Looking back at several scenes in Batman Forever, it is not all that hard to believe that such a magazine was the inspiration for multiple aspects of the movie.
5. Six Batmobiles Were Used in the 1960s Show
The Batman television series and the Batman movie from the 1960s required multiple editions of the Batmobile. Two of those Batmobile cars were used as “tour cars.” Stunt and crash cars were also required for the series and the movie. The website also claims that a “hero car” was needed for closeup shots. Those who either remember the series or who have gone back and watched some episodes may remember that the Batmobile went through quite a few stressful moments. No wonder they needed so many cars for different purposes.
4. It Had Real Parachutes
One of the storyline traits of the Batmobile is that the car goes fast; very fast, in fact, sometimes even over 300 mph depending on the comic book or movie. Such a vehicle would naturally need working parachutes to safely slow it down before Batman exited the car. The parachutes in the Batmobile that was created by George Barris were real parachutes similar to those that one would see used in drag racing. Those parachutes worked, and they once landed Barris in some trouble when he decided to test them out while taking the Batmobile for a spin on the open road.
3. The George Barris Ticket Controversy
Back in December 2012, AutoWeek.com posted a story about the Batmobile created by George Barris. Barris allegedly told two different tales about driving the Batmobile on the highway. In one version of Barris’ story, he was pulled over by highway patrol after he popped the Batmobile’s parachutes. The cops let Barris go without a ticket, and everybody had a laugh about the matter. Not so fast, though, as there is another version of the story that ends with Barris being given a ticket for using the parachutes on the highway. With Mr. Barris no longer with us, you will have to decide what to believe.
2. The Tumbler Was FAST
The toughest Batmobile that we have seen in real life, to date, has to be the Tumbler that was first introduced in Batman Begins. DigitalSpy.com provided Batman fans with some information about this Batmobile back in 2012. According to that story, the Tumbler that is not officially named the Batmobile actually did travel over 100 mph during filming, and it was so fast that cameras couldn’t keep up with it at times. The engine of the Tumbler was so loud that people around the car chose to wear noise-canceling headphones. Wires were used to give the allusion that the Tumbler was “sailing” through the air. Who needs CGI?
1. Driving the Batmobile
Back in October 2015, Peter Valdes-Dapena of CNN gave viewers and Batman fans an inside look at the Batmobile from the 1960s Batman television series. According to Valdes-Dapena, the car was in “rough shape,” which is understandable considering the age of this Batmobile. Valdes-Dapena even had to have the car jump-started during his time with it. The Batmobile’s brakes were no longer all that reliable, and Valdes-Dapena admitted that he “almost ran it off the road.” So what if you probably won’t want to be speeding this car down the highway if you ever get to drive one? Getting behind the wheel of any Batmobile could be a once-in-a-lifetime thrill.