Batman and all of his wonderful toys have been an enduring staple of pop culture for 80 years now. Over the years all kinds of creative folks have crafted all sorts of vehicles to add “Bat” in front of and aid the Caped Crusader in his unending war on crime. The Bat-Cycles, ‘Pods, ‘Copters, ‘Wings, ‘Boats, ‘Blades, if there’s a motor in it, there’s a Batman version of it too. Like the Lone Ranger has his trusty steed, Silver; the Batman has his old faithful: The Batmobile.
In its 80-year history, the car has had all kinds of variations and modifications to keep up with the times. The car has all kinds of gadgets and gizmos to better serve the Dark Knight. Mobile crime labs, ejector seats, autopilot, various bat-sprays and repellants. It’s his man-ca...err.... Batcave away from home, much like a lot of drivers and their own cars. For a guy who dresses up as a giant bat and beats criminals to a pulp, his car can be a little strange at times. Here are 10 bizarre facts you never knew about the Batmobile.
10 The Bat-Caddy
The very first Batman movie from 1949 was a serial. One snippet would come out in theaters running once a week. They would end on a cliffhanger to get people coming back for next week’s installment. The original Batmobile in Batman And Robin was just plain old fashioned 1939 Cadillac, which of course, wasn’t old fashioned at the time. The car was used by both Bruce Wayne and Batman. If the top of the convertible was up, it meant Batman was in action, top-down was for Bruce Wayne to have fun.
9 The Tumbler Was Real
Like a lot of the Batmobiles created for the screen, the Tumbler being used for Christopher Nolan’s trilogy was in fact very real; even if the car seemed so unbelievable that it was a product of CGI.
But with Nolan’s mandate for more realism meant that this mammoth tank of a Batmobile would have been a working version. The car’s engine is from a Chevy 350 and can go from 0-60 in under six seconds, can reach 110 MPH and can even perform unassisted jumps of up to thirty feet.
8 The 1966 Batmobile’s Working Parts
No matter how cheesy and corny some people feel about the Adam West Batman, it is a pretty big consensus that this Batmobile is the coolest one seen on film. It has a lot of working parts, but one of the more bizarre features that seemed to be created just for the show actually worked! The ‘66 Batmobile actually had working parachutes should the Caped Crusader and The Boy Wonder need a little help stopping.
7 The Puppeteer’s Street Legal Ride
Over the years plenty of fairly well-to-do car collectors have spent a small fortune on acquiring their very own Batmobiles. Most of the time, it’s one of the replica ‘66 cars. But comedian, Jeff Dunham who is known for his dirty puppets went out and bought one of the replicas of the 1989 Batmobile. Literally, a “joker” bought a Batmobile! Instead of keeping it locked up in a garage, he actually drives it around town and runs errands with the thing! So if you happen to see a Batmobile gassing up, chances are, it’s Jeff Dunham at the wheel.
6 Jet Engine
In print and on screen, the Batmobile has some massive horsepower. To help Batman catch up and sprint to the bad guys, The Batmobile is also retrofitted with jet propulsion engines.
That special feature doesn’t exist in any of the real-life movie models. But an auto restorer Casey Putsch put his skills to the test and from memory took approximately five years to not just build a replica of the Tim Burton Batmobile, but also put a jet engine from Navy Drone’s Boeing engine in the thing!
5 Original Comics’ Version
The Batmobile also made its debut in “The Case Of The Chemical Syndicate,” eighty years ago in Detective Comics # 27. Only it was just a coupe. It also wasn’t called the Batmobile or have any of its defining Bat-features for several years to come. Similar to its first appearance in the Bat-serial, this coupe was bright red (not very stealthy) and doubled as Bruce Wayne’s personal car.
4 Clooney’s Batcar
Batman And Robin is by no means anywhere near the top of the list of great superhero movies. It’s universally lauded as the worst Bat-flick, even when comparing it more to the Adam West series than the Tim Burton movies or even Batman Forever before it.
The car is comically slapstick. Inspired by leather fetish, the thing’s about 30 feet long (overcompensating much, Mr. Wayne?). One of the strangest features of any Batmobile though would have to be the tires, whose treads have a bat-signals on them. It makes a stealthy vigilante that much easier to catch.
3 Lincoln Futura
The ‘66 Batmobile was designed and built by George Barris, who had previously designed the Munster’s Koach. With three weeks to build a working model, Barris found a concept car that looked perfect — a 1955 Lincoln Futura, which already had a lot of the “bat-looking” features that helped to make the car iconic. Barris bought the original model for only one-dollar. It might be the most iconic car in all of history, Batman or not, and Barris snagged the model for less than a cup of a coffee.
2 Most Batmobiles Are Impractical
The Batmobiles all look pretty cool, don’t they? In film, TV, and in the comics, all of the various creative teams have a blast putting Batman’s trusty steed together. In Batman: White Knight, writer and artist Sean Murphy puts just about every Batmobile ever into one massive splash page. As cool as it is, it also highlights just how impractical all of these cars and tanks are. They’re way too long to make hairpin turns, too heavy to be able to stop on a dime and all too conspicuous to be inconspicuous. Fans all love the car, but also suspend all kinds of disbelief to enjoy it.
1 The Bat-Mechanic
Bruce Wayne is many things, but he is not a mechanic. It’s not one of the many skills that he learned on his educational sabbatical before returning to Gotham. Who works on the guy’s car then?
A hunchback mute, aptly named Harold Allnut, a deaf-mute hunchback who Batman had once rescued from the Penguin.