This Batmobile has a functional propane fired “turbine” jet exhaust flame just like the original driven by Adam West back in 1966 during the original Batman television series.
Of all the Batmobiles we’ve seen come up for sale in recent memory, this one is the closest to the first screen-used Batmobile that was famously built by George Barris and his crew in just three weeks before filming began.
Fast Facts – The First Batmobile
- The first screen-used Batmobile was the one driven by Adam West start in 1966 in the original Batman television series. Earlier Batmobiles had been featured in the Batman comic book series that had started in 1939.
- The first Batmobile was built on the abandoned 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car by George Barris and his team in just three weeks.
- Known as the 1966 Batmobile, this would be the vehicle that set the tone for all Batmobiles that would follow, in particular all the gadgets and gizmos that Batman is famous for.
- The vehicle you see here is a remarkably accurate carbon copy of the 1966 Batmobile, including all the gadgets and perhaps most importantly, a flame-throwing propane powered exhaust turbine in the rear.
The 1966 Batmobile
Two television producers, William Dozier and Charles FitzSimons, approached George Barris in 1965 to build them a custom car for a new TV series based on the old Batman comic books.
None of these men could have guessed it at the time but they were laying the foundations for what would become one of the most famous cars in the world.
The big caveat was that Barris and his team would have just three weeks to build it. This was because Dean Jeffries who had first been approached to build it, turned the job down.
George Barris knew it would be impossible to create a blank slate car in the given time frame, but he had an ace up his sleeve – he had bought the 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car from Ford for $1.00 and had it parked out behind his shop.
This concept car would form the basis of the 1966 Batmobile, an enormous amount of work still went into the project customizing the body, building the bespoke interior, and developing all the Bat-gadgets, but underneath it all is the ’55 Futura designed by William M. Schmidt.
The Batmobile would be used in all three seasons of the original Batman TV show and it’s made countless appearances at shows and special events since. Every generation gets their own Batmobile, whether yours in the 1966 Batmobile, or the Tim Burton Batmobile from 1989, the Batmobile “Tumbler” from 2005, or the Batmobile from 2016’s Batman v Superman.
That said, the first on-screen Batmobile from 1966 will always (arguably) be the most important.
The 1966 Batmobile Replica Shown Here
With an estimated value of between $300,000 – $350,000 USD, the Batmobile replica you see here is a long way from the questionable body-swapped C3 Corvette based replicas that come up for sale from time to time.
This car was painstakingly built on a 1977 Lincoln chassis, it has a full steel tube support structure for the body which is hand-laid vinylester and epoxy resin fiberglass which was fused onto a steel tube structure for additional strength.
Power is provided by a 460 cubic inch (7.5 liter) V8 with a four-barrel carburetor sending power back through an automatic transmission. The real pièce de résistance of this Batmobile is its astonishing attention to detail which culminates in the above mentioned flame-throwing propane powered exhaust turbine.
Inside the cabin you’ll find autographs from both Adam West (Batman) and Burt Ward (Robin), as well as a Detect-A-Scope, atomic power indicator, rocket launch controls, Batphone, automated roll top dash doors, the emergency “Bat Turn Lever”, and that famous semi-circular steering wheel.
Amazingly since it was built this Batmobile hasn’t been driven or shown in public, it’s due to cross the auction block with Mecum in January and you can click here if you’d like to read the listing or register to bid.
Images courtesy of Mecum
Articles that Ben has written have been covered on CNN, Popular Mechanics, Smithsonian Magazine, Road & Track Magazine, the official Pinterest blog, the official eBay Motors blog, BuzzFeed, Autoweek Magazine, Wired Magazine, Autoblog, Gear Patrol, Jalopnik, The Verge, and many more.
Silodrome was founded by Ben back in 2010, in the years since the site has grown to become a world leader in the alternative and vintage motoring sector, with well over a million monthly readers from around the world and many hundreds of thousands of followers on social media.