For someone that’s not particularly into comic books or action heroes, it appears that I’ve written about the Batmobile a few times, here, at The Truth About Cars and over at Hemmings. Marty Densch has also touched on the subject a couple of times here at Cars In Depth. We’ve even done a post about the Bat Cycle and Robin’s Bat Kart. TV and movie vehicles are popular and I guess you can’t ignore what’s popular.
I’ve been planning on doing posts about the real Monkeemobile and a real Dukes of Hazzard “General Lee” Dodge Charger that I’ve been able to photograph at local car shows. Those are probably two of the most popular tv cars. When Covisnt announced that they’d be bringing the real Batmobile from the campy 1966 television series, arguably the most famous tv “star car” there is, to the recent TU Automotive telematics conference and trade show, I made sure to get credentials to the event.
As it turns out, it wasn’t the Batmobile, fabricated out of the Lincoln Futura concept car by George Barris’ shop. That car sold at a Barrett-Jackson auction for $4.6 milion (including B-J’s 10% commission) and as far as I know it isn’t being rented out for public appearances. Back in the 1960s, because the tv show was such a huge and unexpected hit, demand for public appearances drove the show producers to contract with Barris to make three replicas. Two of them were show cars, with 390 and 352 cubic inch V8 engines installed in their fullsize Ford chassis, but one was fitted with a 427 big block so that “Wild” Bill Shrewsberry could do exhibition runs at dragstrips across North America.
From the lack of prop “Bat Ray” and “Gas” emitters on the front of the car, this is obviously not Batmobile #1 that sold at Barrett-Jackson. According to reports on the web, the #4 car, the drag racer, is currently undergoing a restoration. The car has Barris badges on the fenders, and George autographed the speedometer in the middle of the steering wheel hub, plus Covisnt says that it’s authentic, so it’s probably a real deal. However, even consulting the website devoted to the Barris Batmobiles, I can’t figure out if this is the first or second replica.
What do you think?