Batmobile sold for $4.6m
The original Batmobile used in the 1966-68 Batman TV series sold at auction on Saturday night for $4.6 million including fees. Bidding lasted about 4 minutes and the winning bid was $4.2 million before fees were assessed.
The original one-off 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car was originally created by Ford Motor Company and a design team at the Lincoln Styling Department. The 19-foot long, two-seat, bubble-topped grand touring car prototype was entirely hand-built in 1954 by Ghia Body Works in Turin, Italy, and unveiled in its original pearlescent Frost-Blue white paint finish in 1955 at the Chicago Auto Show.
The car featured instruments housed in the steering wheel, as well as a push-button transmission, exterior microphones to pick up and transmit the sounds of traffic to the occupants inside, and a host of other innovative devices. According to several reports, it was described as a “rolling laboratory” from which Ford would learn about new technology to apply to their production automobiles. In 1959, sporting a fresh red paint job, the Futura was featured in the film, It Started with a Kiss, starring Debbie Reynolds and Glenn Ford.
Barris then acquired the vehicle and kept it in his garage for several years. In late 1965, 20th Century Fox Television and William Dozier’s Greenway Productions contacted Barris and asked him to produce a Batmobile for the upcoming TV series. With only 15 days and $15,000 budget to build a Batmobile, Barris decided to transform the Lincoln Futura concept car into what is now widely recognized as the original and iconic crime-fighting vehicle.
“The 1966 Batmobile by George Barris is one of the most famous Hollywood cars in history and it has become a true icon that has been carried from generation to generation of Batmobiles to follow,” said Craig Jackson, Chairman and CEO of Barrett-Jackson. “This vehicle not only marks the significant Bat logo that sits on the middle of its door, but a time in television history where they defied the odds of making a car the real star of the show. It revolutionized an entire industry that followed in its footsteps and we couldn’t be prouder to have it cross our block in Scottsdale as it goes up for sale for the very first time.”
The car features a 390-in 1956 Lincoln V-8 engine and a B&M Hydro Automatic transmission. Gadgets include a nose-mounted aluminum Cable Cutter Blade, Bat Ray Projector, Anti-Theft Device, Detect-a-scope, Batscope, Bat Eye Switch, Antenna Activator, Police Band Cut-In Switch, Automatic Tire Inflation Device, Remote Batcomputer, the Batphone, Emergency Bat Turn Lever, Anti-Fire Activator, Bat Smoke, Bat Photoscope, and many other Bat gadgets. If needed, the Batmobile was capable of a quick 180° “bat-turn” thanks to two rear-mounted ten-foot Deist parachutes.
In addition to being featured on various television/movie sets, the original Batmobile has been exhibited at numerous car shows and museums around the nation. The car is also exclusively featured in Christopher Nolan’s Batmobile Documentary, which can be viewed as a bonus feature on The Dark Knight Rises DVD. It will go up for auction along with memorabilia and documentation from Barris’ personal archives.