Whenever we hear the word: Batmobile, we automatically associate it with one of those high speed trendy cars from today’s Batman movies – most of which is a courtesy of computer graphics and green screen effects.
On the contrary, back in the 60’s, things were done a little different. The 1966 George Barris’ Futura Batmobile and the 65 Vintage Batmobile are the testament to creativity and authenticity at its finest.
Some also say that it was Dean Jeffries, who originally modded the former 1955 Futura that Barris, later on, promoted and delivered for the Batman movie.
The book: ’50 Years of Fabulous Cars’ offers a fabulous introspective into the history of some of the finest vintage automobiles of all time.
Regardless of who actually acquired the Futura first, everyone agrees that the car looks spectacular even by today’s modding standards.
The audacious double clear plastic canopy tops, the stylish flourish by original Ford Motors designers and a lot of other things have added to the visual appeal of the car.
It is said that the 1966 Futura was actually bought for one dollar; yes, you read it right; it was one friggin’ dollar. But by today’s standards, that one dollar is the equivalent of $250,000.
Soon after the money exchanged hand, the Batmobile would sit in Barris’ garage for a long time before he was asked to, or rather assigned, the Batman vehicle project.
He took about three weeks to transform the Futura in the iconic Batmobile. Some say that the guys only modified the front wheels, grille, some distinct articles and ornaments that would help to make the vehicle resemble something that only Batman would ride.
Maybe he did only rig the car from the outside instead of customizing each and everything.
The deadline was already overdue, and Barris reportedly requested the studio to extend the schedule to help him finish the job as soon as possible. But still, he did an amazing job.
At the same time, a lot of people don’t know that the 1966 Futura wasn’t the only Batmobile in the history of classic movie hero rides.
While Barris’ design was busy gaining fame during the Batman 1966 – 1968 TV series era, Forrest Robinson’s rendition of a Batmobile was rusting somewhere in a field in New Hampshire.
You can see in several close up shots that Robinson’s version of Batmobile was a legacy in its own way.
Robinson is an old school comic book fan and lifelong machinist. He recalled his experience of modifying a 1956 Oldsmobile chassis to look something similar to a Batman vehicle.
He used a 324 Olds Rocket engine to power up his ride, which he lovingly took to driving all over the town whenever he went out for work.
“I wanted to make something, and figured out why not make a car?”, recalls Robinson when asked about his opinion on creating his own version of Batmobile.
He retained the original body, alongside dorsal fins, but decided to go for interior customization without overspending or committing to exterior changes.
The Oldsmobile was already shaped like a Batmobile; something which Barris was already famous for.
Moving on, Forrest Robinson’s car was also used as rental for All Star Dairies Affiliate; a DC Comics licensee. It was only then that the car went under a visual transformation.
A brand new paint job, some fancy decals and Batman themed colors brought out the visual appeal factor. In 1967, Robinson sold this same vehicle to a local man for only $200!
Fast forward to several years later, you are looking at a heavily restored Mario Borbon’s Batmobile which was originally owned by Robinson several decades ago.
Over the last few decades, superhero cars have undergone an enormous and equally aggressive mass market appeal. They have changed looks, performance output and many other things as part of the ongoing fad.
Mario Borbon said that Forrest Robinson wasn’t very a very wealthy man. He was a young kid, sometimes doing it for the fun.
So, he probably never looked at his car in terms of what we see today as a gold mine of an asset.
Regardless of whether Robinson or Barris’s cars go for sale today, they’d be raking in a huge amount of money at the hands of diehard collectors.
Featured: Fan Made Batmobile
Although these two vehicles are just “cars”, if you were to see them in real life, their impressionable appearance will grow on you.
Both these beauties have many different tales to tell; from restoration projects in remote garages, to making it at some of the finest auto shows in the U.S., these Batmobiles have something for everyone out there.
Forrest Robinson’s model went for auction at eBay on the American independence day.
About 10% of the sales proceeds will benefit the Make a Wish charity organization, while the rest of the money is going to the car’s owner. The first Batmobile will eventually rest somewhere at a rightful place where it so deserves its respect and glory.