Being a huge Batman fan, this is the kind of news that makes you sit up and take notice. The original Batmobile, used by Adam West in the 1966–1968 live action television show, has sold for an astonishing $4.2m (£2.6m) at a US auction. The vehicle is a customised 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car, originally created by Ford Motor Company & built in Italy at a reported cost of $250,000.
The Batmobile was created by car-customiser George Barris, who spent little over three weeks in 1965 transforming the distinctive Futura into the famous crime-fighting vehicle. Barris retained ownership of the car and leased it to 20th Century Fox and Greenway Productions for use in the series, and this is the first time that car had come up for public sale.
The car went on sale at the Barrett-Jackson car show and auction held in Scottsdale, Arizona and was acquired by car collector Rick Champagne also of Arizona, after an intense bidding war.
Mr Champagne’s new purchase features many nifty gadgets to get him out of any tricky situations, including a nose-mounted aluminium cable cutter blade, two inbuilt parachutes in order to perform a quick 180° “bat-turn”, a Batphone and even an automatic tire inflation device. It has a powerful V8 engine and the distinctive sweeping 84 in fins that became synonymous with the Batmobile.
The Batmobile has evolved over the course of various Hollywood blockbusters. Tim Burton’s Batman saw a longer, sleek Batmobile built upon a Chevy Impala chassis. It reflected the Art Deco version of Gotham City Burton created.
Joel Schumacher’s Batman Forever saw further evolution, with the Batmobile’s fins reaching ever higher, however, the design received much criticism, leading to another redesign in Schumacher’s next film, Batman & Robin, starring George Clooney and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Christopher Nolan’s reboot of the Batman movies featured a much darker, threatening Gotham City, and the Batmobile is updated to reflect the brutal tone. Never referred to as the Batmobile, Bruce Wayne utilises a prototype vehicle called “the Tumbler” designed by Wayne Enterprises’ Applied Sciences Division as a bridging vehicle for the military.
The film’s production designer described the machine as a cross between a Lamborghini and a tank on the Batman Begins special features DVD. The Tumbler cost $250,000 to build and was constructed from 65 separate carbon fibre panels to give the vehicle the menacing appearance it is famous for.
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