Many superheroes are known for their stylish vehicles, such as Ghost Rider’s flaming motorcycle and Wonder Woman’s invisible plane, but there is no doubt that Batman’s Batmobile is not only the most iconic but also the coolest set of wheels ever seen in the pages of DC Comics – or on the big screen at your local cinema.
Over the decades, the Batmobile has gone through dozens of incarnations, from the stylish 1940s cars with no bells and whistles to the camped-up car driven by Adam West in the 1960s TV series to the tank-like vehicle driven by the Caped Crusader in Christopher Nolan’s trilogy of movies between 2005 and 2012.
However, even the most devoted Batman aficionado won’t be blind to some of the obvious faults with the Batmobile’s design, whether it has been dreamed up by a comic book artist or a Hollywood designer. And even fans who think they know all there is to know about the Batman back catalog may be surprised to learn some of the more obscure facts about the Batmobile and its history.
Whether you’re a hardcore Bat-fan, or simply enjoy superhero movies at the cinema for a bit of escapism, check out this list of some of the more unusual Batmobile facts – as well as some of the more obvious faults with this iconic vehicle that everyone chooses to ignore!
20 Classic Batmobile Not Hi-Tech
As the years have gone on, Batmobiles have become increasingly advanced when it comes to gadgets. However, this was not the case for the first cars driven by the Caped Crusader, which were actually just ordinary vehicles with hardly any bells and whistles to help him fight the criminal fraternity of Gotham City.
There was no mention of any gadgets when the Batmobile made its first appearance in a comic in 1940, and when Bruce Wayne made his cinema debut in a black and white theatrical serial in 1943, he drove a stylish but very ordinary-looking 1939 Cadillac convertible.
19 Awkward Batcycles
The Batmobile may be the most iconic set of wheels in the DC universe, but it is far from the only vehicle in the Batcave. In several comics, TV episodes and movies, Batman and the Boy Wonder have also used motorcycles, or Batcycles to give them their proper name, to get around Gotham.
The Batcycle from The Dark Knight certainly looked like a serious piece of kit, but it also looks as though it would be extremely awkward to drive, while the motorcycle and sidecar from the 1960s TV series may have been more practical, but its jaunty 1960s style would hardly have struck fear into the hearts of Gotham’s villains.
18 Bad Looking Batboats
However, the geeky 1960s motorcycle and sidecar was nothing compared to the ridiculous creation that was the Batboat, also developed for the TV series starring Adam West and Burt Ward. The cheap-looking speedboat, which had the matching individual windscreens seen on the Batmobile, only featured in a handful of episodes and was a far cry from the much more aggressive Batboats which have featured in comic books over the years.
As with many aspects of the 1960s show, the TV Batboat ended up looking more like a gag gadget than something the real Caped Crusader would be seen using to clean up Gotham City.
17 No Good In A Chase
Batman is unable to fly or use otherworldly skills to chase down his enemies, which leaves him reliant on technology to fight crime in Gotham. However, we have already seen that the Batmobile is both too big and too heavy to make for a fast pursuit vehicle, while Batman himself would have found driving the Batmobile at high speed difficult, given all the gadgets he might need to capture his quarry.
The simple fact is that while the Batmobile may look good roaring through the streets of Gotham, it is debatable whether a vehicle of this kind would actually be any use in a chase through a city.
16 First Appeared In Detective Comics #27
Batman’s car made its first appearance in the 27th issue of Detective Comics published in 1940, which wad the same issue in which the Caped Crusader made his full DC debut. However, this vehicle was a far cry from the later Batmobiles, with all their gadgets and weaponry, and was depicted simply as an ordinary red car which the superhero used to get around Gotham.
The name “Batmobile” wasn’t coined until a year later, in Detective Comics #48 published in February 1941, and didn’t start to develop its iconic appearance until the fifth issue of Batman, when the vehicle was given a bat-shaped hood ornament.
15 Too Many Gadgets
While weapons and gadgets have always been an important part of what makes the Batmobile an iconic superhero car, it could be argued that some versions – especially some of the modern incarnations – have so much technology on board that it could be difficult to drive and operate such a complex piece of machinery.
The Batmobile has, in some versions, also been known to house a mobile laboratory, to aid the Caped Crusader in his fight against the Gotham City underworld. Batmobiles through the decades have featured flame-throwers and self-destruct technology.
14 Why Six Wheels?
One of the most popular Batman movies of recent years was The Lego Batman Movie, an animated feature film which appealed to kids, but which had enough tongue-in-cheek gags for parents too. Working in computer animation, the makers of the film were not constrained by what is physically possible, just like the old comic book artists, but that doesn’t explain their misguided decision to give the Lego Batmobile six wheels instead of four.
There are some real six-wheel cars out there, but the extra two are only ever an aesthetic choice and don’t offer any practical advantage even to a Batman made of Lego.
13 Top Speed Of 350mph
Speed is obviously an important factor if the Batmobile is to be an effective crime-fighting tool, although as we have already seen it is not the be all and end all. Nevertheless, the Batmobile which was created for the 1997 film Batman and Robin, starring George Clooney as a woefully miscast Batman, is thought to be the fastest Batmobile ever made, with an estimated top speed of 230mph on the open road, going up to 350mph when fitted with afterburner thrust.
Unlike some Batmobiles, this vehicle could be driven and managed to record a speed of 149mph when it was road tested before filming.
12 Not Very Incognito
Superheroes don’t tend to be known for their subtlety, but given that Bruce Wayne is determined to ensure that no-one finds out about his alter-ego, the Batmobile is hardly an incognito way for him to get around. After all, the Batmobile is usually depicted as being stored in the Batcave below Wayne Manor, and even though he drives the car through underground tunnels before emerging on the road to Gotham, a vehicle like the Batmobile is going to attract a fair bit of attention, and make it easier to track him down.
If he really wants to protect his secret identity, Wayne would be better off driving a much less ostentatious car!
11 1960s Batmobile Was A Lincoln Futura
Ask any Batman fan of a certain age to describe the Batmobile, and the chances are that they will describe the vehicle driven by Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin in the TV series screened between 1966 and 1968. Even younger Bat-fans will recognize the black vehicle, with its red detailing and instantly recognizable individual windscreens, thanks to the show’s enduring popularity.
The Adam West Batmobile was actually based on 1955 concept car called the Lincoln Futura, which was then given a makeover for the TV series – not the first time this one-off creation had been given a starring role by Hollywood, as it had also appeared in the 1959 movie It Started with a Kiss.
10 Too Big
The 1960s Batmobile, like many of the early versions of the car from the comic books, was barely distinguishable from normal vehicles, aside from a few decorative bat symbols.
However, when Hollywood started to take an interest in the Caped Crusader, from the Tim Burton-directed Batman in 1989 onwards, the Batmobile started to become more outlandish in its design and in its dimensions. Many of these update Batmobiles were either very long, very wide or both – hardly an ideal design for driving through narrow city streets – but it seems that Hollywood designers are convinced that bigger is always better.
9 Too Heavy
Similarly, more recent Batmobiles are also very heavy – both in reality, when it came to the model which was created for filming, and in the movies itself when you added all the new weapons and gadgets.
Given that the Batmobile is Batman’s primary method of chasing down bad guys, loading the car with a lot of unnecessary design modifications, along with enough weaponry to take down a small army, is only going to slow the Caped Crusader down, and make it difficult for him to keep the streets of Gotham clean. A lightweight but fast Batmobile would make a lot more sense.
8 Still Gets Stuck In Traffic
Think of some of the most successful superheroes – Superman, Spiderman, Iron Man – and one of their most useful attributes is that they can get around their respective cities without the need to use a car. Spiderman swings from building to building using his web, Superman can fly and Iron Man uses technology to bypass the need for any ground-based transportation.
No Batman movie has ever shown the Batmobile getting stuck in rush hour traffic on its way into Gotham City, but given that Batman is very much rooted to the ground, he could feasibly get caught out by a Gotham gridlock.
7 1989 Batmobile Built On A Chevy Impala
For a new generation of Batman fans, the Batmobile created for the 1989 Batman film, the first new production featuring the Caped Crusader since the Adam West TV show, remains one of the most iconic, thanks to its stylish retro design. It might be difficult to believe when you look at the one-of-a-kind 1989 Batmobile, but this vehicle is actually built on the chassis of a Chevrolet Impala, a full-size sedan in production between 1957 and 1985.
The finished Batmobile looks nothing like the Impala, which was a popular family car, but it really is hidden away underneath all those modifications!
6 Difficult To Drive
The size and scale of the modern Batmobile also make the car difficult to drive, especially if Batman is supposed to be chasing crooks who are often in their own much more easily maneuverable vehicles. Add that to the complexity of all the gadgets and weapons on board the Batmobile, and it is a miracle that Batman isn’t involved in more fender benders!
Vigilantes may work outside the rules, but if ordinary motorists can get pulled over for using a cell phone while they’re behind the wheel, surely the Caped Crusader should also get a citation for getting distracted by his vehicle’s array of weaponry? Let's not forget Barry Weiss of Storage Wars and the hard time he had driving the ride.
5 Expensive To Build
While the cost of building a Batmobile might not worry billionaire Bruce Wayne, who always seems to have enough disposable income with which to fund his secret life, creating high-tech, highly-sophisticated vehicles for the filming of the Batman movies can end up being a major expense for the movies. Is it really worth it when many of the chase scenes involving the Batmobile could be filmed using CGI anyway?
If someone was to actually create a fully-functioning Batmobile, with all the weapons and gadgets, it would cost upwards of $9 million; the Batmobile from Batman Vs Superman cost the studio $1 million to build, and it couldn’t even be driven!
4 Banned Features
Batman may spend his time chasing down Gotham City’s crooks, but he doesn’t seem too worried about what laws he himself breaks in the process. Aside from the fact that driving a car at 140mph through city streets is a sure-fire way to get yourself a driving ban, the Batmobile is also fitted with a number of gadgets and weapons that enforcement agencies would be very interested in getting off the streets.
Batman, like many old-school comic book heroes, may try and avoid completely ending his enemies, but his Batmobiles have still been fitted with weapons can that can do the trick very quickly.
3 Moving Away From The Supercar
Which brings us to the Batmobile which was created for Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy of movies. Known as the Tumbler, this Batmobile was unlike any previous models and seemed to be inspired by tanks, rather than the stylised vehicles which had featured in earlier movies and TV shows.
In fact, this Batmobile was a strange cross between the Lamborghini Aventador and a Hummer, although there was little sign of the supercar in the finished model, which looked far too similar to a tank for the Caped Crusader’s image. Four models were made for The Dark Knight in 2008 itself, at a cost of $250,000 each.
2 Impossible Technology
The Batmobile hasn’t just been fitted with banned technology over the years, but also gadgets which were actually impossible to create at the time of filming or when the comic book came out. In 1989’s Batman, for example, the Caped Crusader used voice control to summon his driverless Batmobile location, despite the fact that workable driverless cars were still years away, let alone vehicles that could be remotely controlled.
The 1960s model built for the successful TV series even predicted many modern automotive features, such as built-in computers and rear-facing cameras, although we are still a long way from making safe and effective atomic engines!
1 Batmobile Maintained By Harold Allnut
Team Batman usually consists of just three people; Bruce Wayne (Batman), Dick Grayson (Robin) and Alfred Pennyworth, Wayne’s loyal butler and the only civilian who knows of the Caped Crusader’s real identity. In most Batman incarnations, it is Wayne himself who sees to any repairs the Batmobile needs to undergo, with assistance from Grayson and Alfred, but a new character was introduced in The Question #33 published in 1989; Harold Allnut, a mute technological genius who became Batman’s personal mechanic and inventor of various new gadgets.
He was taken out by one of Batman’s enemies in issue 619 of the Batman comic, published in 2003.
Sources - 1966 Batmobile, Vintage News, Digital Spy, Fandom, Den Of Geek