Since 1939, Americans have come to know and love Batman as one of the most beloved heroes of all time. With his harrowing story of loss and suffering, Batman is not only a hero we look up to, but relate to as well. While other DC heroes such as Wonder Woman and Green Lantern have been bestowed with god-like abilities, Bruce Wayne has none of this.
In order to transform into Batman, he uses his strengths, his smarts, and his determination, and of course, his money. When one thinks of Batman, they most often think of him, Alfred the butler, and the iconic batmobile. So, here are 10 things, you did not know about the Batmobile.
10 The Original Batmobile Was Red
Yes! You read that right, the original Batmobile was not black or grey, it was bright red. In the first comic featuring Batman, we see a glimpse of a red Batmobile. Also, the car did not get its name until the 48th issue of the comics.
Furthermore, if you look back on the old comic issues, you can see the variations in the batmobile. Due to artistic differences, the comic's featured several different styles of cars until they settled upon a design in the 1960s. From this moment on, the design of the batmobile has been pretty stable, but still undergoes some modifications every now and then.
9 The First Batmobile on Screen was an Old Ford
That is right folks, the original Batmobile to be on the big screen was an old Ford. The Batmobile driven by Adam West in the '60s TV series was an old, broken-down Ford Lincoln Futura.
The concept car was initially bought for $1, and with a budget of $15,000, the car designer George Barris turned it into the classic hero's car. There was a total of six cars used for the production of the TV show and the movie, and at one-point Barris even got a ticket for driving the Batmobile. Barris eventually sold his original Ventura at an auction in 2013.
8 The 1989 Batmobile has Asymmetrical Fins
This Batmobile, driven by Michael Keaton in 1989 and 1992, has asymmetrical fins in the back of the car. The Batmobile for this production was handcrafted, and as a result, the fins towards the back of the car were asymmetrical. Due to this, the car wobbles when it exceeds speeds of 90 miles per hour.
In addition to this, if you have ever checked out a toy replica of this car, you will notice that it too has asymmetrical fins towards the rear end. The cause for this is that the actual batmobile was scanned to make the toy replicas, resulting in the error being made blatantly clear for the world to see.
7 The Latest Batmobile is a Tank
The latest Batmobile is actually not a Batmobile at all. This heavy vehicle is actually a cross between a Lamborghini and a Humvee. It was built by designer Nathan Crowley and director Christopher Nolan using model kits. This Batmobile was called the Tumbler and was reinforced at certain parts for particular scenes and even stress-tested by an aircraft company.
The Tumbler uses Hoosier racing tires upfront and is run by Super Swampers in the rear. The Tumbler is also taken out for a spin once every couple weeks and is regularly dusted and maintained. Oh, and despite what people may be thinking, this vehicle is not suitable for military use.
6 You Can See the Batmobile on the Streets
As you read above, the Tumbler is frequently taken for a spin to keep it in shape. There is another Batmobile on the streets, but it is not driven for business reasons. Following the production of Michael Keaton's Batman, comedian Jeff Dunham purchased the vehicle.
Dunham's batmobile is street legal, has no windows, and has a license plate that drops down when the car is started. Instead of windows, the batmobile comes with an internal display that integrates information from cameras on the outside of the car to offer safe visualization. The batmobile can be seen on the roads and at gas stations and can go from 0-60 in 3.7 seconds.
5 The Original Batmobile was Sold at Auction
The original Ford Lincoln Futura, driven by Adam West, the original cinema Batman, was sold in auction in January of 2013. The car was sold by the original designer of the batmobile, George Barris, and the 60-year-old car was sold for a whopping $4.2 million.
The buyer attributed his willingness to drop such a large amount of money on nostalgia, and Barris later reported to USA Today that he was very pleased with the sale. Despite this sale, there are reportedly five more automobiles stowed away in a warehouse, as a total of six cars were used for the production of the series. Two cars were used as tour cars, another few as stunt/crash cars, and one car was known as "the hero car."
4 The Tumbler’s Stunts were not Animated
The buffest and toughest Batmobile to ever live, the Tumbler, underwent most of the crazy stunts you saw it undergo on the big screen. Director Christopher Nolan applied his famous filmmaking philosophy to capture as much as he could on camera to the Batman trilogy.
If this failed, Nolan pursued miniature scenes and only resorted to CGI as a last resort. As a result of Nolan’s philosophy, engineers had to ensure that the Tumbler could maintain its structure through the stunts it would undergo for the movies. Nolan's directing manner and insistence on lack of computer graphics gave the movie a real feel to it and drew the attention of a wide range of audiences.
3 The Batmobile has a Mechanic
If you have ever wondered how Bruce Wayne builds the goodies, gadgets, and gizmos in the Batmobile, and how he can maintain the Batmobile in such pristine condition, the answer is quite simple. He has a mechanic.
While Wayne, Alfred Pennyworth, and researcher Lucious Fox help create and integrate new technologies into the batmobile, the car is serviced by a mechanic by the name of Harold Allnut. Allnut was a mute hunchback forced to create gadgets for the villain Penguin before he was recruited to work for Wayne. Allnut is tasked with creating new technology for the Batcave, maintaining it, and keeping the batmobile in working order.
2 The Tumbler was not the First Heavy-Duty Batmobile
While the Tumbler was the first tank-like Batmobile to be seen on the big screen, in the comics, there were many iterations of the Batmobile, including many heavy-duty ones. As mentioned previously in the article, the artists who worked on the Batman comics have artistic differences, sometimes severe artistic differences. As a result, the publishers could never settle on one design for the batmobile and it resulted in the design of the iconic car changing every few issues.
Until the first Batman movie, the batmobile underwent several adaptations such as a red sedan, a C3 Corvette, or even a tank, so while it may be unfamiliar to modern audiences, the Tumbler is hardly a shocker to those who grew up reading the comics.
1 The Batmobiles are Crazy Fast
Finally, to conclude this list, here is a shocker. Most of the Batmobiles are crazy fast. Not only do most versions of the Batmobiles have propane tanks in their rear to provide an explosive look, but one model of the Batmobile is equipped with a turbine engine from a surplus helicopter.
The 1989 Batman replica was restored by racer Casey Putsch and can go from 0-60 in 3.9 seconds. In addition to the off-screen replicas, the on-screen versions are not that slow either. The Tumbler was so fast at one point that it outran the camera crew following in a truck. Due to a GM 5.7-liter engine, the Tumbler puts out an impressive 400hp that moves the vehicle up to 100 miles per hour.