Whether you’re a Marvel enthusiast or DC Comics aficionado, it’s understood universally that one of the most iconic superhero rides ever is the “Batmobile.” Over the years, the supercar has undergone a series of transformations, enhancing its cutting-edge tech and weaponry to fight the bad guys.
However, taking on a whole new look was the “Batmobile” in the Christopher Nolan reboot of the films. And when Jay Leno got to take it for a spin, everyone was dying to learn more about this sweet, superhero rendition of a ride.
The Adam West ‘Batmobile’ wasn’t actually the first
It’s widely accepted that the original “Batmobile” may have been Adam West’s ride from the 1966-1968 television series. This version of the car was the first to have modifications and crime-fighting gadgets.
It was designed with inspiration from Ford’s concept car, the 1955 Lincoln Futura. What most may not realize is that West’s “Batmobile” wasn’t actually the first.
In 1943, the Columbia series of weekly Batman movies featured a 1939 Cadillac Series 75 convertible as the Gotham hero’s ride. It didn’t, however, have the gadgets, weapons, or mods, that West’s “Batmobile” did.
Evolution of the ‘Batmobile’ over the years
Since Adam West’s iconic black and red, Futura rendition, the “Batmobile” shifted and changed with the times. Michael Keaton’s 1989 ride took on a darker image, with an all-black design, to match the new movie’s similar change in tone.
The caped crusader mobile took on the resemblance of a sleeker, more drag racing appeal for the Tim Burton series. In 1995, Val Kilmer’s Batman Returns “Batmobile” included an entirely new look from director Barbara Ling. The weapons and gadgets upgraded, too, along with bat-like wings, bat-badges, and blue hues.
The big changes to the iconic car when Christopher Nolan took over
The Batman on-screen character has changed over the years, as various directors and producers took stabs at bringing the comic to life in the movies. Christopher Nolan introduced us to a darker version of the fan-favorite superhero.
In 2005, Nolan successfully launched Batman Begins, with Christian Bale behind the mask. He followed up with The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises, with cinematic embrace. Along with the darker rendition of the winged weapon-wielder, came a new army of vehicles. The “Batmobile” took on a more militarized look, with capabilities far beyond its more classic car predecessors.
Nicknamed the ‘Tumbler,’ this ‘Batmobile’ has chops
In an attempt to make the “Batmobile” more realistic, the designers crafted a vehicle that looked like an offspring of a Lamborghini and a military tank. They nicknamed it the “Tumbler” and loaded it with hardware.
It measures 15 feet long and nine feet wide, with a total weight of over two tons according to Hot Cars. This imposing beast features 44-inch Super Swamper TSL Tires. It is powered by a monstrous Chevy 350 V8 engine, harnessing 500 horses.
Among its many enhanced tech features, it also has the ability to eject a “Batpod” on-screen to help the caped crusader escape daunting scenarios.
Jay Leno climbs in the driver’s seat
Jay Leno’s Garage is a popular series, offering viewers a chance to remotely experience some of the coolest and most iconic cars on the road. Sometimes Jay Leno ventures into the world of television and Hollywood when he features vehicles used on-screen, and with some of the fans’ favorite shows and movies.
In one episode, Leno brings the audience with him behind the wheel of Batman’s “Tumbler.” The engine roars, the steering is tight, and Leno says, “It looks like something you’d drive in Iran.”
The armored beast doesn’t disappoint when Jay Leno takes it for a spin. It may be missing some of the incredible CGI capabilities it takes on in the movies. But it has plenty of gritty, crime-fighting appeal in its real-life rendition.