A Batman Superfan With Deep Pockets Bought a $4.6 Million Batmobile
Batman has been, for decades, one of the most popular superheroes in the world. While Batman is most recently known for his various movies and roles in the DCEU, Batman was once more famous for his TV show. Adam West’s performance as Batman in the 1966 Batman TV show was more silly than serious, but still, his Batman had a lot of similarities with the Batman of other generations.
For example, West’s Batman was still a rich businessman by day and a vigilante by night, and of course, Batman still had his Batmobile. While the Batmobile from the ’60s was less powerful than the modern Batmobiles, it did end up getting sold for $4.6 million recently.
Before the Batmobile
Like most cars used in movies and TV shows, the Batman TV show didn’t build the Batmobile from scratch. Instead, it got a preexisting car and turned it into the Batmobile. However, rather than choosing a regular car from the ’60s, the producers ended up using a very rare car at a relatively cheap price.
DriveTribe said that in 1954, Ford designed and built a concept car, the Lincoln Futura, and it cost Ford $250,000 to build at the time. In today’s money, that’s about $2.4 million. Only one Futura was built, and it was showcased at the 1955 Chicago Auto Show. The Futura had a 6.0-liter V8 that got about 300 hp, and it had other futuristic and exotic features to go along with that powerful engine.
The Lincoln Futura becomes the Batmobile
Parts of the Futura showed up in later Ford models, but the Futura stayed as a concept car. Then, not long after the Chicago Auto Show, Ford sold that Futura to George Barris for just $1. Ford also got “other valuable consideration” from the deal, but it’s not clear what actually came from that. In any case, Barris customized cars for Hollywood, so it was only a matter of time before he customized the Futura for something.
DriveTribe said that in 1965, another car customizer couldn’t build a Batmobile in time for the Batman show, so Barris got the gig instead. Up until that point, his Futura was just sitting around, so he chose it to become the Batmobile. Business Insider said that it cost Barris $15,000 and 15 days to turn the Futura into the Batmobile, but when it was done, it almost instantly became an icon.
The Batmobile makes history and sells for $4.6 million
Barris made another good business decision too since he didn’t sell his Batmobile to the show, but rather, he leased it to the show’s producers. The show went on for three seasons and it had 120 episodes, and the Batmobile was featured prominently in almost every one of them. Many people grew up watching that show, and many of those people grew up admiring that car.
So, in 2013, Barris decided to finally auction off the original Batmobile. Business Insider said that the car sold for over $4.6 million, and the buyer was Rick Champagne. Champagne is the executive of a logistics company, and Business Insider reported that he won the auction thanks to the woman who went to the auction with him.
DriveTribe said that, while Ford ultimately made a handful more replicas to help promote the show, the original Batmobile is one of a kind. That said, due to how popular the car and the show is, several replicas of the original Batmobile are available for wealthy fans to buy. For example, according to Motorious, a company called Imperial Motorcars is selling a Batmobile replica for $140,000.