Batman was created alongside the various gadgets that adorned his belt or was found in the Batcave. Not long after his inception, he'd start collection various machines to aid him against crime. Even from the early days, it appears that everything Batman has made has been jet-propelled and filled to the gills with gadgets from grappling hooks to torpedoes. The cars themselves have evolved with time, taking bits of the latest technology in the modern day world and even featuring technology that wouldn't show up for decades.
With the early cars pulled directly from real life, the Batmobile has developed and evolved into its own unique form that often compliments the art style and story. The comic cars are stunning with the TV counterparts taking inspiration from the art, giving us the coolest cars on this planet. The classic bubble top of George Barris' custom creation to the artsy Joel Schumacher cars of the '90s have all left their impression on the Batman lore.
In this article, I won't be talking much at all about the new trilogy as I've already covered the Tumbler extensively in 25 Facts Most People Don't Know About Batman's Tumbler. This is covering some of the various Batmobiles and other Bat-vehicles that Batman has collected over time. From the first Batgyro to the strange Flying Batcave, these machines are all outfitted with gadgets to further help the Caped Crusader and the Boy Wonder.
25 Batman's Flying Cave Had Some Of The Most Unusual Artifacts
One of the more odd Bat-vehicles, the Flying Batcave was a huge helicopter used by Batman to be able to travel with a small assortment of computers and equipment to fight crime on the go. The problem falls is what he decided to pack on his trips. In some of the panels, you can see a huge circular object which looks kind of like Batman's giant penny he has on display in his villain artifacts museum. A huge computer, okay that makes sense, but a huge pretty much useless penny?! C'mon Batman don't be so vain.
24 Batman's First Vehicle Wasn't A Batmobile
Though most may think that the Batmobile was Batman's first vehicle, it was a type of Batplane that actually beat it to the punch, showing up a mere 4 issues later than Batman's own debut in Detective Comics No.27. The Batgyro was seen later in the same issue (Detective Comics No. 31) and referred to then as the Batplane, effectively making the longest lasting Bat-vehicle in his arsenal if you include the name change to the Batwing.
23 The Batcycle From The 1965 TV show Sold For Almost $30,000
There aren't many Batcycles built for live-action cinema, the most recent being the Batpod which sold for almost a half-million dollars in 2016. The original from 50 years before, a functional 250cc Yamaha powered custom motorbike with a sidecar that housed a small go-kart which had its own 50cc motor to help Robin out of tight situations only went for $29,500 7 years before. It's crazy how a non-functioning motorcycle went for more than a house while a fully operational motorcycle from the classic Batman went for about the same price as a new car.
22 The Batcopter In Adam West's Batman Movie Wasn't Owned By ABC
For the movie, the Batcopter made its debut. Painted orange and fitted with big black wings that actually cut the lifting power of the propellers by half. The helicopter was used for the movie for a short time and then forgotten. This helicopter an N3079G was owned by National Helicopter in Van Nuys and used in special ABC news reports, The Green Hornet, Omega Man, and in M.A.S.H. From time to time when an airlift was being brought in.
21 The Batboat Was Built In 31 days
Built for the TV show in the '60s, the Batboat was built by Glastron boat company out of Austin, Texas. Things that the production company requested were added of course to the standard V-174 boat, A fake jet nozzle and water squinter to give the impression that the boat is nuclear powered, Bat on the deck and twin windscreens that are a bit reminiscent of the Batmobile. To further drive home the Bat look, a deck cover was made with a big bat fin with glowing Batman symbols on either side. Some problems had slowed down the production of the Batboat, but it only took them a month from an average Glastron boat to the Batboat.
20 The Two Batskiboats Built For Batman Returns
The Bat Skiboat was used during the scene where Batman tracked Penguin through the sewers of Gotham in Batman Returns. During production, the studio not only had a full-sized version built that was 25 feet (7.6 meters) long and 16 feet (4.9 meters) wide but also had a 6 foot(1.8 meters) long 4 foot (1.2 meters) wide model built. Last I could find of these props was the larger full-scale version for auction as part of a lot along with the Batmobile and Penguin's Duckcar.
19 The First Car Batman Drove
Before Batman had his potent Batmobile to get him around the streets of Gotham, he was riding around in an unmarked, unmodified red coupe. This particular car only lasted one issue and was not seen since, but in the few panels the car was seen in, it's safe to say that the little coupe is at least inspired by a 1935 Ford. Though the time may have been short for the little red coupe, it is the one that started it all and inspired Batman to almost always have his “Batmobile.”
18 The First “Batmobile”
The term “Batmobile” wasn't first introduced until 4 years after the first comic, with Batman driving various high-performance vehicles in-between. The Cord 812 inspired Batmobile was devoid of anything bat-related with the exception of a bat hood ornament. As far as performance went it featured a supercharged engine that gets the car - sorry, Batmobile - moving at a decent enough pace to utilize the battering ram nosing to bash through any wall.
17 The First Purpose Designed “Batmobile” Was Featured From 1941 To 1952
Just a little while after Bill Finger wrote about the first Batmobile, it took Jerry Robinson to draw a car to better be described as a Batmobile. The new car debuted in Batman #5 and featured armored fender skirts to protect the tires, a Batman cowl shaped battering ram placed on the front, and of course, a stylized rear fin to finish off the bat-inspired styling. This look lasted for over a decade before the bubble roof Batmobile was drawn into the comics, replacing the first true iteration.
16 The Lincoln Futura
The failed concept that turned out to be one of the best looking Batmobiles to date. After having the project passed down from Dean Jeffries, custom car builder George Barris had 3 weeks to build a car. He started with the Lincoln Futura as a base, and from there slowly changed the car to better fit the part. A blueprinted Ford V8 powered the car and array of gadgets were fitted as they were needed with each episode.
15 A Corvette Inspired Batmobile
In 1970, Neal Adams was working on the Batman universe. Known for his more realistic approach, he designed the Batmobile as a sleek coupe with plenty of power. The car took another basic approach on exterior design say for only a black bat mask adorning the hood. It may be slight, but the front of this car is definitely reminiscent of a Corvette of the time. This design lasted for over a decade alongside some of the other Batmobiles other artists.
14 The 1989 Batmobile Was Built Using A Modified Impala Frame
Underneath the black, turbine power inspired body is a simple frame and engine. The length of the body is supported by 2 Impala derived chassis welded together and hold a front mounted 350c.i. V8. Even though the original has a misleading design compared to what is actually powering the car, Casey Putsch has built a turbine powered Batmobile from scratch, utilizing a turbine motor from a helicopter with a custom built with a tubular space frame. No matter how it's built, seeing this Batmobile is always exciting.
13 The Animated Series' Batmobile Would Be Impossible To Build In Real Life
This fact could probably go for any of the batmobiles throughout the 80 or so years that Batman has existed. It's not the fact the look itself couldn't work in the real world, that honor goes to the crossover comic with Judge Dredd. It's the various machinery and gadgets that are built into the car. They couldn't possibly recreate and find a place for the weapon and gadgets that were featured during all 85 episodes spanned through 2 seasons.
12 Original 1965 “Batman” Batmobile Sold For $4.2 Million
The original #1 George Barris built Batmobile from the 1966 TV show went onto the Barrett Jackson auctions to be sold on January 14, 2013. They set the mood playing the main theme the moment a Mustang Fastback GT350 was sold and off of the line. Owned by George Barris since the TV show ended he put it up for auction for the first time with a reserve. The bidding went to a million in no time before quickly passing the $2 million dollar mark seemingly stopping at $3.5 million dollars. A bidding war between 2 people with insanely deep pockets, bid it out till $4.2 million!
11 The First Licensed Batmobile Is An Oldsmobile
Forrest Robinson started on this creation in the early-1960s with a 1956 Oldsmobile 88 chassis powered by a 394 Rocket. He custom built a body out of fiberglass to his own idea of what a Batmobile looks like. Originally painted silver, the design featured sliding doors, and a single fin in the back -sort of like the drawn-comic Batmobile in the '50s. A couple of years before the Barris Batmobile, All Star Dairy company licensed Robinson's creation as the Batmobile to use in a promotion of their DC licensed products. After its promo tour of east-coast, the car was sold by Forrest and was left sitting in a field until it was rediscovered by Bobby Smith in Swanzey, New Hampshire.
10 The Street-Legal 1989 Batmobile Owned By Jeff Dunham
Jeff Dunham owns one of the original Keaton Batmobiles that sits alongside a really good working replica of the 1966 Batmobile. The Batmobile Dunham owns was a prop car that he bought and made street legal by completing the interior and adding little TVs all around to cover the Batmobile's blind spots. The motor was swapped from a 350 to an LS7 and the suspension was also swapped out to make the car more manageable to be driven more than 300 ft.
9 Propane In Batmobiles
Most Batmobiles shot flames at one point or another, except for maybe George Barris' which used a paint can as the rear add-on to make it look like it was powered by a jet engine (the photo is a replica). The Batmobiles of the modern age used propane to further simulate the afterburner of a powerful jet engine boosting the car to speed rapidly, cause you know that's way cooler than some 350c.i. Small block V8 pushing all that weight around.
8 1989 “Batman” Batmobile Fins Are Slightly Different
The body of the “Keaton” Batmobile was hand-formed and placed onto the chassis. The look of the car was designed in apart of director Tim Burton, which got the car to look just right for the movie. One little mistake was noticed most likely after the movie came out that one of the fins was not like the other. This detail goes unfixed in the scale model and can be found on any 1:24 scale Hot Wheels die-cast.
7 The Oldsmobile Derived Batmobile Sold For $137,000 In An Auction
The car handbuilt by Forrest Robinson went up for auction by Heritage Auctions inc. and sold for $137,000. This auction was held the following year after the record-breaking $4.2 million sales of the Batmobile from the 60's TV show. Compared to that this is pocket change, but an important historical artifact in the superhero's lore. Not a bad turn over either from the car's rise from a field in west New Hampshire to a home on the west coast.
6 The Adam West “Batmobile” Had Real Life Parachutes
Many things shown into the show was a little modification on the Batmobile, The original #1 Batmobile built by George Barris has had things added to it over the years, but the thing that had been a part of the car since the beginning was 2 parachutes hanging off of the back on either side of the afterburner. There is a story that George Barris had actually used these on the highway in California, and a cop pulled him over not too impressed. One story says he was let go while others say he indeed got a ticket.
5 In “Batman Forever” Chris O'Donnell Crashed The Batmobile
In a scene where Robin steals the Batmobile to drive around the bad side of town and show off actually inspired actor Chris O'Donnell to fight to drive the Batmobile himself during this scene, instead of a stunt driver. With the car's low slung body lines and a mistake on Chris' part, he had crashed the Batmobile into a curb damaging the front end, and most likely was not allowed near another car after that.
4 Micheal Keaton's Cowl Didn't Fit Inside Of The Batmobile
While the Batmobile was being sculpted, Tim Burton asked where the door was. They hadn't thought of this previously and came up with the solution of the windshield and overhead cockpit moving forward, so then Batman could climb in and the top could slide back over him. This is where a problem arose as Michael Keaton's cowl had 4” ears pointing out of the top, and he didn't fit with them as they were. We couldn't find how they solved this issue, a behind-the-scenes feature guessed that they had made a cowl with shorter fins, or maybe Keaton just slouched a bit, dipping his head into his shoulders, who knows?
3 “Batman & Robin” Batmobile Had No Seat For The Boy Wonder
With Robin being introduced in the previous movie (Batman Forever) and the Batmobile having room for 2, you think they would least think of including a second seat for the Boy Wonder to ride in the front seat. It just seems like a strange design choice that was made for the already over-the-top style “Batman and Robin” went with. It may also have something to do with the car being a roadster, something which hasn't been since George Barris' custom Futura.
2 The First Live-Action Batmobile
A Batman serial movie (a series of shorts used to attract and entertain children) used a black Cadillac Series 75 Convertible as the Batmobile. It wasn't customized as these shorts were usually amateur and had a small budget to use. So the Batmobile suffered as a sort of double life, the top down represented Bruce Wayne's personal car which was usually being driven by Alfred. The top-up, however, represented a crime-fighting machine which Batman himself drove with Robin in the passenger seat.
1 A Comic Made In 1964 Inspired The 1965 Batmobile
In June of 1964, Batman got a redesign and with this a new Batmobile as well. The 1964 Batmobile looked to be inspired by either a Porsche or more likely a 50's Corvette. The features of the car had been cut down since previous iterations with a big difference being that this was the first open-top roadster design. Sound familiar? As the Barris Batmobile is also the first open-top roadster Batmobile of the live action films, also the fins aren't as pronounced, much like the famed TV car.
Batmobilehistory.com, SCPR.org, Topspeed.com, OurWorlds.net