The original 1966 Batmobile from the live action Batman television series, starring Adam West as the caped crusader, has been sold for the first time, going under the hammer at a US auction for $4.4 million (US$4.62 million).
Put up for sale by the car’s creator, George Barris, the Hollywood icon is based on a 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car originally created by Ford Motor Company and unveiled in a pearlescent Frost-Blue white paint finish at the 1955 Chicago auto show.
The 5.8-metre long, two-seat, bubble-topped Batmobile came to life after Barris had acquired the vehicle and was asked in 1965 by 20th Century Fox Television and William Dozier’s Greenway Productions to produce a ‘Batmobile’ for the new television series. Given only 15 days and a budget of $15,000 to complete the task, Barris decided to turn the Lincoln Futura concept car into the most iconic crime-fighting vehicle ever made.
Sold through classic car auctioneers Barrett-Jackson in Scottsdale, the Batmobile features a 1956 6.4-litre Lincoln V8 engine and B&M Hydro Automatic transmission along with a carload of superhero-appropriate gadgets such as a Batphone, remote Batcomputer, Batsmoke, Batscope, Batray projector, Bateye switch, nose-mounted aluminium cable cutter blade, detect-a-scope, police band cut-in switch, and an automatic tyre inflation device.
Chairman and CEO of Barrett-Jackson, Craig Jackson, said he couldn’t have been prouder to be involved with the car going up for sale for its very first time.
“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.”
President of Barrett-Jackson Steve Davis echoed the sentiments saying, “There are only a few things in life that are able to capture the soul of an era and the Batmobile by George Barris did exactly that.”
Looking like relative bargains next to the Batmobile’s $4 million-plus price tag, was a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Coupe that sold for $1.9 million (US$2.035 million) and the first new Chevrolet Corvette Stingray to be produced, selling for $950,000 (US$1 million), with the funds of the latter going to charity.