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Batmobile

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Batmobile
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Wikipedia: Batmobile

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A custom vehicle created for the DC Comics character Batman. It has come in various forms since its first appearance in Detective Comics #27 (May 1939), many of them only on paper but many of them created in real form for television and film. The most famous version is the one created by George Barris, who converted the 1954 Lincoln Futura concept car for the 1965-1966 Batman television series.

History

The following section is an excerpt from Wikipedia's Batmobile page on 7 July 2016, text available via the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

The Batmobile is a state of the art all-terrain, self-powered, armoured fighting motor vehicle, frequently used by the DC Comics superhero Batman for vehicular hot pursuit, prisoner transportation, anti-tank warfare, riot control and as a mobile crime lab. Kept in the Batcave, which it accesses through a hidden entrance, the heavily armoured, gadget-laden vehicle is used by Batman in his crime-fighting activities.

The Batmobile made its first appearance in Detective Comics #27 (May, 1939). Then a red sedan, it was simply referred to as "his car". Soon it began featuring an increasingly prominent bat motif, typically including distinctive wing-shaped tailfins. Armored in the early stages of Batman's career, it has been customized over time into a sleek street-legal armoured/supercar-hybrid, and is the most technologically advanced crime-fighting asset within Batman's arsenal. Depictions of the vehicle has evolved along with the character, with each incarnation reflecting evolving car technologies. Some depictions present the Batmobile as able to be unmanned or remotely operated. It has appeared in every Batman iteration—from comic books and television to films and video games—and has since gone on to be a part of pop culture.

Given Batman's grim nature in non-camp portrayals, he is unlikely to have adopted the "bat" prefix on his own. In The Dark Knight Returns, Batman tells Carrie Kelley that the original Robin came up with the name "Batmobile" when he was young, since that is what a kid would call Batman's vehicle.

Batman (1965-66 film/television series)

In late 1965 20th Century Fox Television and William Dozier's Greenway Productions contracted renowned Hollywood car customizer Dean Jeffries to design and build a "Batmobile" for their upcoming Batman TV series. He started customizing a 1959 Cadillac, but when the studio wanted the program on the air in January 1966, and therefore filming sooner than he could provide the car, Jeffries was paid off, and the project went to George Barris.

What became the iconic Batmobile used in the 1966–1968 live action television show and its film adaptation was a customized vehicle that originated as a one-off 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car, created by Ford Motor Company lead stylists Bill Schmidt, Doug Poole Sr., and John Najjar and their design team at the Lincoln Styling Department.

In 1954, the Futura prototype was built entirely by hand by the Ghia Body Works in Turin, Italy, at a reported cost of US$250,000—the equivalent of approximately US$2 million in 2009. It made its debut in pearlescent Frost-Blue white paint on 8 January 1955 at the Chicago Auto Show. In 1959, sporting a fresh red paint job, the Futura was featured in the film It Started with a Kiss, starring Debbie Reynolds and Glenn Ford.

Barris was trying to get Hollywood's attention with the Futura, which he had purchased from Ford for the nominal sum of $1.00 and "other valuable consideration", but aside from its film appearance, the Futura had been languishing in his Hollywood shop for several years. With only three weeks to finish the Batmobile (although in recent years Jeffries says that his car was dropped because he was told it was needed in "a week and a half", he was quoted in 1988 as saying "three weeks" as well), Barris decided that, rather than building a car from scratch, it would be relatively easy to transform the distinctive Futura into the famous crime-fighting vehicle. Design work was conducted by Herb Grasse, working as an associate designer for Barris.

Barris hired Bill Cushenbery to do the metal modifications to the car and its conversion into the Batmobile was completed in just three weeks, at a reported cost of US$30,000. They used the primer-painted, white-striped car in October, 1965, for a network presentation reel. Shortly afterward, the car was painted gloss black with "fluorescent cerise" stripes. Barris retained ownership of the car, estimated to be worth $125,000 in 1966 dollars, leasing it to 20th Century Fox and Greenway Productions for use in the series.

When filming for the series began, several problems arose due to the car's age: it overheated, the battery went dead, and the expensive Mickey Thompson tires kept blowing. By mid season, the engine and transmission were replaced with those of a Ford Galaxie. The most frequent visual influence of this car is that later Batmobiles usually have a rear rocket thruster that fires as the car makes a fast start.

In November 2012 Barris Kustom and George Barris announced the sale of the Batmobile at the Barrett-Jackson car show and auction held in Scottsdale, Arizona. The vehicle fetched $4.2 million on January 19, 2013.


Multimedia

6 February 2015
13-55484 DC Comics v. Mark Towle
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
A maker of Batmobile replicas appeals the district court's summary judgment and permanent injunction on claims of copyright and trademark infringement.
Download 13-55484 DC Comics v. Mark Towle - 418MB - 40:01


Photographs

Replica Batmobile Replica Batmobile
Photo courtesy
View photo of Replica Batmobile - 1.5MB
Replica Batmobile Replica Batmobile
Photo courtesy
View photo of Replica Batmobile - 3.4MB
Replica Batmobile Replica Batmobile
Photo courtesy
View photo of Replica Batmobile - 1.6MB
Batmobile Scale Model Photo courtesy
View photo of Batmobile Scale Model - 240KB
1966 Batmobile Model 1966 TV Series Version
Built by Doug DeMars
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
C.A.R.S. in Miniature October 2010 Meeting
View photo of 1966 TV Series Batmobile Model - 2,815KB
1966 Batmobile Model 1966 TV Series Version
Built by Doug DeMars
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
C.A.R.S. in Miniature October 2010 Meeting
View photo of 1966 TV Series Batmobile Model - 3,528KB
1966 Batmobile 1966 TV Series Version
Photo ©2011 Bill Crittenden
C.A.R.S. in Miniature January 2011 After Christmas Banquet
View photo of 1966 TV Series Batmobile Model - 2,417KB


Article Index

DateArticleAuthor/Source
17 March 2011The Batmobile: Ford Lincoln FuturaWilliam Jason
21 April 2011The 1949 Mercury Was More Than A BatmobileWilliam Jason
30 March 2012Batman Pulled Over for Traffic ViolationVOA News
17 August 2015Death of 'Batman' Impersonator Grips US, Foreign MediaLou Lorscheider, VOA News
26 March 2016The Evolution of the Batmobile - Presented by Endurance Vehicle ProtectionEndurance Vehicle Protection


Merchandise

Type & Item #NameDetails
Die Cast - Hot Wheels K6147-0917J D11966 TV Series Batmobile2007 New Models, small scale, black
Die Cast - Hot Wheels K6147-0917M D11966 TV Series Batmobile2007 New Models, small scale, black
Die Cast - Hot Wheels K6147-2517 D1TV Batmobile2007 New Models, small scale, black, short card
Die Cast - Hot Wheels B3542-0714Batmobile2004 First Editions, small scale, black, 1989 movie version
Die Cast - Hot Wheels T9694-09A0HArkham Asylum Batmobile2011 New Models, small scale, black




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