When you and your friends talk about the most easily identifiable classic cars of the 1960s, the 1966 Batmobile must be included. While it belonged to the Guardian of Gotham City in a fictional world, it also stole the hearts and imaginations of an entire generation.
What is the 1966 Batmobile?
Everybody knows that Batman would hop in his Batmobile when he needed to race to save the world from the next supervillain back in the ’60s. The futuristic open-top featured fins, a bullet-proof clear cockpit, and enough hidden gadgets to thrill kids and adults.
While the ABC studio wanted a car designed and built from the ground up, that challenge proved far too expensive and time-consuming. Instead, George Barris bought the Lincoln Futura concept car from Ford for $1 and set to customizing the ride for The Caped Crusader.
He added red trim, a wealth of flashing lights, plenty of buttons, rocket launcher tubes, and badging to turn the space-age ride into one just right for Batman and Robin.
A Television icon boasting some serious specs
Could the Batmobile beat out the bad man on the quarter mile? Well, not quite. Its real-world performance was fairly pedestrian, but the magic of TV made sure the rocket-propelled ride would always get there in the nick of time. But for the mechanics on the show, they had to make do with these specs.
- 390 cubic inch V8 engine
- B&M Hydro 3-speed Automatic Transmission
- Rear-wheel Drive
- Steel Body Construction
- 15-inch Mickey Thompson Tires
- 126-inch Wheelbase
- Curb Weight of 5500 pounds
- Two Seats/Two Doors
- Trunk Capacity…Unknown
What could the Batmobile do in the TV show?
Perhaps the best part of TV magic is that anything the Batmobile and Bruce Wayne could do in the comics, they could achieve on the small screen.
The Batmobile is capable of taking 90-degree turns in a blink using a pair of parachutes to slingshot them around the corner. When the chutes deployed, a beacon signaled Alfred to come pick them up.
Smoke screens confounded the Joker when Batman and Robin needed to make a quick getaway.
The Bat-deflector created a decoy radar image of the Batmobile so that villains would go to the wrong place in search of The Dark Defender.
The Bat-zooka shot large nets up tall buildings to capture wily robbers and bring them to justice.
Don’t forget the Bat-phone! Nobody else had a telephone in their car, let alone their pocket. Batman was connected.
Lasers, rockets, rams, room to hold up to 8 villains while they wait for the police, and its own anti-theft systems all made their debut during the 1966 to 1968 run of the popular TV show.
Does the classic Batmobile still exist?
The car stayed in the original designer’s possession up to 2013 when George Barris sold it to Rick Champagne for $4.2 million. The logistics company owner had been a fan all his life of the original TV series and added the machine to his private collection.
How much is the ’66 Batmobile worth?
Today, experts value this unique collector car at around $4.6 million since it is a singular piece of art and an iconic representation of pop culture in the 1960s.
Are there replica ’66 Batmobiles?
After the first season of the Batman show, ABC decided that they wanted a few extra Batmobile replicas, so they could bring them to parades, state fairs, and other promotional events. It also meant that there would be a stunt double available if the real Batmobile needed a sick day. They used fibreglass to copy the unique body design and hung them on three modified Ford Galaxies.
There are several replicas still making appearances around the world including at the Hollywood Star Cars Collection and the Volo Auto Museum. And there are companies that will still replicate that iconic body style for the rich and famous.
Protecting classic cars across Canada
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