“Batman Returns” Batmobile Is All Chevrolet

Among the most famous cars in the history of the big screen, the Tim Burton-era Batmobile was a deliberate and aggressive departure from both the George Barris version and its counterparts. Coming up for auction is serial number three of that series, appearing in 1992’s “Batman Returns.”

Production designer Anton Furst followed Burton’s vision of a darker image for the Caped Crusader that was supported perfectly by this Batmobile’s more menacing look. Built on an enlarged Impala chassis and powered by a small block Chevrolet V8, the Batmobile’s handcrafted body is recognizable by most anyone living with electricity on a daily basis.

From the large jet turbine intake to its trademark Batwing fins, this Batmobile bristles with purposeful design cues and good old-fashioned Batweapons. Its snug two-piece cockpit rivals any commercial aircraft in its profusion of instruments.

The first-ever reference to the Batmobile can be traced to Detective Comics #48 in February 1941. While a small bat hood ornament was present, that first car bore no resemblance to the iconic cars we know now.

The original was a red convertible, based largely on the design of the 1936 Cord, with another car’s front fascia. Of course, when tired of ripping through Gotham City on his bat rope, Batman had used other cars before this, but the one in #48 was the first to be called the Batmobile.

The first made-for-television Batmobile was actually a Lincoln concept car that George Barris bought for one dollar. Ten years later, Barris was approached to build a car for the TV series, but it had to be completed in three weeks. The answer to that challenge was obvious and history was made less than a month later.

The victorious bidder on this entry in the upcoming Mecum Auction’s 5-day event may need to upgrade their garage to a bat cave. The car is twenty feet long and eight feet wide, making it 55-inches longer than a Hummer H1 and 9.5-inches wider. Mind you, the Hummer’s got it on ground clearance.

The Mecum Auction runs January 26-30, 2011 at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee, FL. Additional information is available on the event web site.

About the author

Gordon McDonald

Gordon's background stems from the print media world. He has extensive knowledge of the entire motorsports industry.
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