Original Batmobile Up for Grabs – Spark Plugs, Bat Ray Projector and All
Pow! Bam! Zoom! If you’re a longtime car enthusiast and comic fan, a piece of your childhood is headed for the auction block. E3 Spark Plugswants to know if you’ll be among the high-dollar bidders for the original Batmobile, up for grabs at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Arizona on January 19.
This ain’t no replica wannabe. It’s the real deal – the one and only original constructed by celebrity customizer George Barris for the live action TV series, Batman, which began airing in 1966. The car also appeared in the movie adaptation starring Adam West and Burt Ward – the original Dynamic Duo.
The Batmobile might just prove the biggest ROI ever for a car collector. The base is actually a 1955 Lincoln Futura Concept that Barris bought from Ford for a grand total of one dollar. Originally sporting a pearlescent frost blue and white paint finish, the car was hand-built in 1954 by the famed Ghia Body Works in Turin, Italy and debuted at the 1955 Chicago Auto Show. In 1959, sporting a new bright red paint job, it made its film debut, appearing in the Debbie Reynolds/Glenn Ford romantic comedy, It Started with a Kiss.
The car then spent a few years in Barris’ garage. That is, until late 1965 when 20th Century Fox Television and William Dozier’s Greenway Productions asked Barris to build a superhero-worthy ride for the new show, giving him $15,000 and a 15-day deadline. The sleek Futura Concept, with its unique double-bubble roof and Ghia-styled bodywork, proved an ideal starting point. All it needed was a new paint job and a few gadgets.
The Batmobile comes complete with a 390-in 1956 Lincoln V-8 engine and a B&M Hydro Automatic transmission, plus a host of crime-fighting gadgetry. After all, every caped crusader needs a nose-mounted aluminum cable cutter blade, police band cut-in switch, automatic tire inflation device and anti-fire an antenna activators. But you’ll also get the official Bat Ray Projector, Detect-a-scope, Batscope, Bat Eye Switch, Remote Batcomputer, Batphone, Emergency Bat Turn Lever, Bat Smoke, Bat Photoscope, and many other Bat gadgets. And if you ever need to change course on the fly, the Batmobile is capable of a quick 180° “bat-turn” thanks to two rear-mounted ten-foot Deist parachutes.
“There are only a few things in life that are able to capture the soul of an era and the Batmobile by George Barris did exactly that,” says Barrett-Jackson President Steve Davis of the iconic crime-fighting vehicle. “There are the real fans that will strongly advocate, till this day, that coming home to watch the Batmobile soar out of the Batcave defines a lot of their first childhood memories. Whether you’re a car collector, entertainment enthusiast, or an average Joe looking to buy his dream car, you’re going to want to witness history being made in January with the sale of this car.”
What’s your favorite memory of the original Batmobile? Post your thoughts on the E3 Spark Plugs Facebook fan page. And visit our blog in January when the lucky bidder is revealed. Until then, check out this clip from the Barris-narrated documentary feature, “Batmobile Revealed”…