Batmobile

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Batmobile

The Batmobile as seen on the cover of Batman #20 (December 1943/January 1944). Art by Dick Sprang.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Detective Comics #27 (May 1939)
Created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane
In story information
Type Vehicle
Element of stories featuring Batman
Robin

The Batmobile /ˈbætməˌbl/ is the automobile of DC Comics superhero Batman. The car has evolved along with the character from comic books to television and films reflecting evolving car technologies.[1] Kept in the Batcave accessed through a hidden entrance, the gadget-laden car is used by Batman in his crime-fighting activities.

The Batmobile made its first appearance in Detective Comics #27 (May, 1939). Then a red sedan, it was simply referred to as "his car". Soon it began featuring an increasingly prominent bat motif, typically including distinctive wing-shaped tailfins. Armored in the early stages of Batman's career, it has been customized over time into a sleek street machine.

Publication history

The original version of the Batmobile.

The vehicle that became the Batmobile was introduced in Detective Comics #27, the first Batman story. Originally, the vehicle was a simple red convertible with nothing special in its functions. Although the Batplane was introduced in Detective Comics #31, the name "Batmobile" was not applied to Batman and Robin's automobile until Detective Comics #48 (February 1941). Other bat-vehicles soon followed, including the Batcycle, Batboat and Robin's Redbird.

The car's design gradually evolved. It became a "specially built high-powered auto" by Detective Comics #30, and in Batman #5, it began featuring an ever-larger bat hood ornament and an ever-darker paint job. Eventually, the predominant designs included a large, dark-colored body and bat-like accessories, including large tailfins scalloped to resemble a bat's wings.

Batman #5 (Spring 1941) introduced a long, powerful, streamlined Batmobile with a tall scalloped fin and an intimidating bat head on the front. Three pages after it was introduced, it was forced off a cliff by the Joker to crash in the ravine below. However, an identical Batmobile appeared in the next story in the same issue.

The live action television series was so popular that its campy humor and its Batmobile (a superficially modified concept car, the decade-old Lincoln Futura, owned by George Barris whose shop did the work)[2] were quickly introduced into the Batman comic books. But the high camp and general silliness of the television show did not sit well with long-time Batman comic book fans. So, when the series was canceled in 1968, the comic books reacted by becoming darker and more serious, including having Batman abandon that Batmobile. Its replacement for a number of years was a much simpler model with a stylized bat's head silhouette decal on the hood being the only decoration of note. The 1960s TV style Batmobile still appears from time to time in the comic books, most recently in Detective Comics #850 and the issues of Batman Confidential. In the Bronze Age of Comic Books, the source of the cars was explained in The Untold Legend of the Batman as the work of stunt driver Jack Edison who volunteered to personally construct Batmobiles for Batman after being rescued from a burning wreck.

In mid-1985, a special variation of the Super Powers toyline Batmobile appeared in both Batman and Detective Comics.[3] This design had a full set of front and rear canopies, "Coke-bottle" sides, integrated fins, and generally rounder features, just like the toy. The only difference between this car and its toy counterpart is the nose, which was occasionally drawn to appear longer and more pointed.

In Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, the Batmobile has been modified into a tank-like armored riot control vehicle, complete with machine guns shooting rubber bullets, a large cannon mounted on the front, and large tank treads in place of tires. According to Batman's narration, the only thing that can penetrate its armor "isn't from this planet." Batman also mentions that it was Dick Grayson who came up with the name. The tank-like vehicle appears to take up two lanes of traffic on a normal road, evidenced when returning from Batman's initial fight with the leader of the Mutants, and thus is too big for normal land travel around Gotham. In the scenes prior to Batman's last stand with the Joker, Batman uses a motorcycle to traverse the city, using the tank again after the attempted nuclear strike and fires in Gotham. This Batmobile reappeared in All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder #4, which shows its construction by robots in the Batcave.

Beginning in the 1990s, the number of comics featuring Batman mushroomed with spin-off titles, limited series, and graphic novels. At the same time, there was considerable experimentation with styles of illustration. With different illustration styles in so many different books, there was naturally a corresponding diversity of designs for the Batmobile. This has continued with designs for the Batmobile ranging from conservative and practical to highly stylized to outlandish.

During the Cataclysm storyline, it is revealed that Batman has hidden a number of spare vehicles across the city just in case. A Humvee serves as a primary mean of transportation to cross the earthquake-ravaged city during the Aftershock storyline, as most of the Batmobiles are wrecked by the quake. These vehicles are not as sophisticated as the Batmobiles, but some of them are armored to withstand weaponry mounted on military automobiles.

In the Batman: Hush storyline, a splash page by Jim Lee shows all the previous Batmobiles (from comics, movies, and all TV series) in storage in the Batcave. In addition, some incarnations of the character, such as Batman: The Animated Series, establish that Batman has a large ground vehicle fleet of various makes and models as well as utility vehicles to use when the Batmobile would be too conspicuous. In issue 9 of the third volume of Teen Titans, Robin and his friends use a Batmobile that he shipped out to San Francisco, hiding the expense "in the Batarang budget".

In Frank Miller's All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder, the car can morph into a harrier jet and a submarine. Dick Grayson comments that the name Batmobile is "totally queer".[4] However, in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, which exists in the same continuity,[5] Grayson was stated as the one who invented the name.[6]

The metafictional Batmobile Owner's Manual, released in 2008, gives theoretical specifications of the car as if it were real. The book states that the Batmobile's five cylinder engine is more powerful than turbine jet engines, and capable of achieving up to 1,700 horsepower (1,300 kW).[7]

In the new series Batman and Robin, a new Batmobile is unveiled. This model is capable of flight, although is not as maneuverable as the Batwing.[8] It can fire 19 types of projectiles, one of which is a flame retardant non-toxic foam, and features a concussive sonic blast device.[8] The new Batmobile was designed and constructed by Bruce Wayne; however, its construction was the source of great frustration to him, as mentioned by Alfred. In Batman and Robin #1 it is revealed that Bruce's son, Damian Wayne, solved the problem of its inability to fly.

Film serials

Batman

In the 1943 serial film Batman, a black Cadillac was used by Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson, as well as their secret identities Batman and Robin. Alfred chauffeured the Dynamic Duo in both identities. Eventually a limousine replaced the Cadillac.

Batman and Robin

In Batman and Robin, the 1949 successor to the original serial, the duo drive around in a 1949 Mercury.[9]

Live-action television

The Batmobile as seen in the 1960s Batman TV series

In late 1965 20th Century Fox Television and William Dozier's Greenway Productions contracted renowned Hollywood car customizer Dean Jeffries to design and build a "Batmobile" for their upcoming Batman TV series. He started customizing a 1959 Cadillac, but when the studio wanted the program on the air in January 1966, and therefore filming sooner than he could provide the car, Jeffries was paid off, and the project went to George Barris.[10]

What became the iconic Batmobile used in the 1966–1968 live action television show and its film adaptation was a customized vehicle that originated as a one-off 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car,[11] created by Ford Motor Company lead stylists Bill Schmidt, Doug Poole Sr., and John Najjar[12][13] and their design team at the Lincoln Styling Department.

In 1954, the Futura prototype was built entirely by hand by the Ghia Body Works in Turin, Italy, at a reported cost of US$250,000—the equivalent of approximately US$2 million in 2009.[14] It made its debut in pearlescent Frost-Blue white paint on 8 January 1955 at the Chicago Auto Show.[15] 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 was trying to get Hollywood's attention with the Futura, which he had purchased from Ford for the nominal sum of $1.00 and "other valuable consideration",[16] but aside from its film appearance, the Futura had been languishing in his Hollywood shop for several years. With only three weeks to finish the Batmobile (although in recent years Jeffries says that his car was dropped because he was told it was needed in "a week and a half",[17] he was quoted in 1988 as saying "three weeks"[18] as well), Barris decided that, rather than building a car from scratch, it would be relatively easy to transform the distinctive Futura into the famous crime-fighting vehicle. Design work was conducted by Herb Grasse, working as an associate designer for Barris.

Barris hired Bill Cushenbery to do the metal modifications to the car and its conversion into the Batmobile was completed in just three weeks, at a reported cost of US$30,000. They used the primer-painted, white-striped car in October, 1965, for a network presentation reel. Shortly afterward, the car was painted gloss black with "fluorescent cerise" stripes. Barris retained ownership of the car, estimated to be worth $125,000 in 1966 dollars,[19] leasing it to 20th Century Fox and Greenway Productions for use in the series.

When filming for the series began, several problems arose due to the car's age: it overheated, the battery went dead, and the expensive Mickey Thompson tires kept blowing. By mid season, the engine and transmission were replaced with those of a Ford Galaxie. The most frequent visual influence of this car is that later Batmobiles usually have a rear rocket thruster that fires as the car makes a fast start.

In November 2012 Barris Kustom and George Barris announced the sale of the Batmobile at the Barrett-Jackson car show and auction held in Scottsdale, Arizona. The vehicle fetched $4.2 million on January 19, 2013.[20]

Technical specifications

  • Curb weight: 4500 lb
  • Wheelbase: 126 in
  • Length: 226 in
  • Width: 90 in
  • Height: 48 in
  • Fins: 84 in
  • Engine: 390 in³ Ford FE V-8
  • Transmission: B&M C-6 Automatic (2nd transmission)

Features

This Batmobile's 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—radio linked to the main Batcomputer in the Batcave, the Batphone, Emergency Bat Turn Lever, Anti-Fire Activator, Bat Smoke, Bat Photoscope, and many other Bat gadgets. If needed, the Batmobile is capable of a quick 180° "bat-turn" thanks to two rear-mounted ten-foot Deist parachutes. The main license plate seen throughout the series was 2F-3567 (1966). Some changes were made during the run of the series, including different license plates (TP-3567; BT-1), removal of the Futura steering wheel and substitution with a 1958 Edsel steering wheel, and the addition of extra gadgets such as a net in the trunk, remote-controlled driving, a rear-facing camera under the turbine exhaust port, and the Bat Ram.[21] Other devices included:[22]

  • Emergency Bat-turn Lever (releases the Batmobile's parachute that enables quick turns)
  • Bat-ray (capable of many tasks, such as remotely opening quarry's vehicle doors)
  • Automatic fire extinguisher
  • Mobile Batcomputer (in trunk)
  • Bat Beam
  • Emergency tire inflator
  • Bat Smoke Screen
  • Bat-tering Ram (also known as the Bat-ram, used for knocking down reinforced doors)
  • Voice Control Batmobile Relay Unit
  • Bat-photoscope (works in conjunction with the Microfilm Crime File in the Batcave. Through this device a photo from the crime file can be reproduced remotely in the Batmobile.)
  • Batphone
  • Police band cut-in switch
  • Mobile tracking scope
  • Remote Bat Computer Switch
  • Anti-theft switch

Other appearances

Barris built two fiberglass copies of the original Batmobile for exhibition on the car show circuit and a third for exhibition drag racing. Eventually, the three copies (and the screen-used metal Futura Batmobile) were covered with a black velvet "fuzz" paint, presumably to hide stress cracks in the fiberglass bodies. Later, all three were restored to their gloss black paint job. The three replicas are all based on a 1965–1966 Ford Galaxie. The #1 Barris-built Batmobile sold at Barrett-Jackson Auctions on January 19, 2013 for $4,620,000, of which $420,000 was paid to Barrett-Jackson in commissions. The three Barris copies all reside in private collections, including the exhibition drag racing version driven by wheelstanding driver Wild Bill Shrewsberry. This car was built with a dual-quad Holman Moody Ford 427 V8 engine, Art Carr-prepared Ford C6 automatic transmission and 5.14 gears in the rear end. Quarter-mile times were in the mid-12 second range, primarily because Shrewsberry would launch the car in second gear and smoke the overinflated rear tires for show down most of the strip. The "rocket exhaust" was made functional via a tank filled with either gasoline or kerosene which was pumped out the exhaust port and ignited electrically.

The #1 Barris-built Batmobile, built from the original 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car was purchased by Richard Champagne of Auwatukee, Arizona at the Barrett-Jackson Auction in January 2013 for $4,620,000.

The #2 Barris-built Batmobile is owned by Dr. Anderson, Virginia, and has not been repaired or restored. Original purchase price was $225,000.

The #3 Barris-built Batmobile was purchased and restored by Mr. Dennis M Danzik of Paradise Valley, Arizona. It was reportedly purchased for $600,000. Danzik also owns the majority of the Warner Brothers 1989 Batmobile.

The #4 Barris-built Batmobile is owned by Mr. Doug Jackson, and is located in Southern California.

The so-called #5 Batmobile, originally built by Bob Butts, is owned by George Barris and is located in Southern California.

Replicas

In October, 2010, DC Comics authorized Fiberglass Freaks in Logansport, Indiana, to build officially licensed 1966 Batmobile replicas. These replicas have been sold to customers in England, Italy, Canada, and across the U.S. One of Fiberglass Freaks' 1966 Batmobile Replicas sold at an R & M auction for $216,000. Fiberglass Freaks' owner Mark Racop has been a 1966 Batman fan since he was two years old, and he built his first 1966 Batmobile replica when he was seventeen.

A replica Batmobile is displayed alongside two of the movie batmobiles at the Cars of the Stars Motor Museum in Keswick, England.

A replica of the Barris-built Batmobile is owned by Andreas Ugland. He bought the Batmobile at a London car auction in 2007. Both Batmobile and Batcycle at the London car auction were replicas. It is displayed at the Cayman Motor Museum.[23]

  • A replica Batmobile was sold at the Coys Spring Classic Cars Auction on February 27, 2007 at the Royal Horticultural Hall in London. Coys Auctions had said it expected the car to fetch more than £75,000[24] - the final and closing bid was £119,000, equivalent to $233,000 USD at the time.[25]
  • In the movie Rock Star, Mark Wahlberg's character is given to extravagant spending; one of his first purchases is the original Batmobile from the TV series.
  • An episode of The Simpsons guest-starred Adam West with the Batmobile. Another episode featured the Batmobile in a museum of famous cars next to Herbie the Love Bug and a car from Mad Max. The latter episode featured a live Batman and Robin in the vehicle, who had both tried poorly to conceal the fact that they were not dummies.
  • On an episode of The Man Show, a guest won a ride in the Batmobile with Adam West in the "Wheel of Destiny" segment.
  • The Lincoln Futura version of the Batmobile is seen in the movie The Benchwarmers, driven by Jon Lovitz.
  • The Batmobile appears as an Easter Egg in the video game King's Quest II: Romancing the Throne, accompanied by a version of the 1966 TV theme.
  • In 2003, Adam West and Burt Ward reunited for a tongue-in-cheek telefilm titled Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt which combined dramatized recreations of the filming of the original series (with younger actors standing in for the stars), with modern day footage of West and Ward searching for a stolen Batmobile.
  • In issue 9 of the comic series Justice (February 2007), Batman dons a suit of armor visually influenced by the original Batmobile from the TV series.
  • Hobbyists have built a number of duplicates of the TV Batmobile, sharing sources for parts and assembly kits.
  • A functional replica of the Batmobile was finished in 2010 in Arboga, Sweden, for a reality show to be shot in the United States. In 2011, the vehicle, valued to 4 million SEK (more than US$ 600,000) was reported stolen, and is currently (March 2013) unlocated.[26]

Animation

The first Car ever publicly toured as a Batmobile was several years before the Barris Batmobile of the TV series.[27] It was inspired by DC comics and was created in 1960 by two young men in New Hampshire by using a 1956 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 chassis and building a handmade custom body. The car was initially used as a driver and then later on it was rented by DC comics licensee All Star Dairies repainted in Batman Colors and toured as the DC comic book Batmobile throughout small towns on the East coast of the United States. After the TV batmobile was created the 1st Batmobile was returned to the owners in New Hampshire and a few years after that languished in a field for fifty years a long lost forgotten piece of American history. The very poorly preserved car was sold in February 2013 and the car is being restored by expert car restorer Mario Borbon of Borbon Fabrications in Sacramento California.

The Batman/Superman Hour

According to the site BatmobileHistory.com, the Batmobile created for the 1968-1969 Filmation Associates TV series was not strongly based on its immediate predecessor (except for sharing dual rear cockpit canopies with the Barris/Futura Batmobile) or any version appearing in DC Comics publications of the time. Furthermore, Filmation's Batmobile featured a long, black body with what is described as a "Coke bottle" profile, with a large, light blue bat emblem set across the hood, which, when a dashboard control was activated, the metal bat symbol folded its "wings" up at its center, forming a barricade/chain cutter. There were no door-mounted bat symbols. Another departure from the Barris Batmobile was the design of a single windshield and large, elevated bat-fins. Curiously, the car's underside was colored light blue, and it appeared to conceal the car's chassis except for a motorized panel, from which devices such as the Bat-winch would emerge. It is assumed that Filmation's Batmobile used this light blue underside color to make the panel and devices easier to see. Additionally, the cockpit seating was colored a vibrant red, with a dashboard panel using bat accents around an inset monitor screen, among other details. Filmation's Batmobile used parachutes, inflatable pontoons and in case of damaged tires, vertical and rear-mounted jets to lift and propel the car—which then essentially caused it to function as a high-powered hovercraft. The Filmation Batmobile from The Batman/Superman Hour was one of the few Batmobiles not to see adaptations to any DC Comics publications or have any commercially available replicas (toys, diecast cars, plastic model kits, etc.) produced or marketed.

Super Friends

The Batmobile as seen in the early episodes of Super Friends was based on the Lincoln Futura design as seen on the live-action TV series starring Adam West. The main difference with the Super Friends version was that the lines of the car were modified substantially for use in animation. The most obvious change was to the nose of the car, where the hood received a "V" depression that echoed the lower fascia. This was also the first Batmobile (of any medium) to feature yellow bat emblems on the doors. This particular feature would be quickly adapted by the comics.

Beginning with the Challenge of the Super Friends in 1978, the Batmobile got revamped. This new version was developed to have a more aerodynamic hard-edged style. In addition, this Batmobile was smaller than its predecessor. It contained a sloped nose and flying buttress B-pillars. Features that were carried over from the original Super Friends Batmobile were the Bat-mask, low horizontal fins, twin bubble windshields, and blue coloring scheme.

In 1984, Super Friends revamped its format (first as Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show and then as The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians) to serve as a tie-in to Kenner's Super Powers Collection.

DC animated universe

The Batmobile seen in Batman: The Animated Series

The Batmobile made appearances in the various series of the DC animated universe.

The Batmobile in Batman: The Animated Series combined style elements from various eras to produce a long, low vehicle with square lines, long fins and a blunt nose with a massive chrome grill that could have been from any time from the 1930s to the 1990s. This version of the Batmobile also vaguely resembled the Batmobile from the first two Tim Burton movies. Despite the obvious presence of the jet exhaust, the show frequently used sound effects from a reciprocating engine for the Batmobile's driving scenes. This, plus direct views of the engine (as seen in the episode "The Mechanic"), suggest that the car used a large piston engine for primary power and an auxiliary jet for high-speed acceleration. Among the features of the Batmobile were: smoke and oil dispensers, wheel slasher hubs, a missile rack, tear gas dispensers, ejection seats, titanium alloy wheels and body panels and reversible jet exhausts. It also had an armored stationary mode to prevent people from tampering with the car when it was left unattended, though this was not as overt as the "shields" used in the 1989 movie Batmobile. The original Batmobile design had many design variants as well as Bruce Wayne's limousine, as seen in Batman Beyond, which the producers referred to as "an upside-down Batmobile."

The Batmobile was redesigned in The New Batman Adventures with its jet engine being most notably absent. This Batmobile design is re-used in Justice League, and Justice League Unlimited, though it appears somewhat more blue than black in paint color.

A new flying Batmobile design appears in Batman Beyond used by the new Batman (Terry McGinnis). This version of the vehicle made multiple appearances in the future of the DC Universe as flying cars were shown as commonplace technology in this future. This design is a radical departure from the usual style of Batmobiles, as they usually have a bat motif, from a bat faceplate on the grill, to tail fins resembling bat wings. The new Batmobile is a simple sleek pod with sharp angles and rounded sides. Its interior is a red illuminated single-person cockpit, with computer circuitry and displays visible all around.

The Batman

In the animated series The Batman, the Batmobile resembled a sports coupe with multiple jet exhaust slits protruding from the back bumper. In the third season episode "RPM", this Batmobile was wrecked beyond repair, and Batman completed a prototype design that included a Wayne Industries 'EXP' power generator. This Batmobile was longer and had a lower profile with only one triangular jet exhaust coming from the rear of the car resembling the one from Batman: The Animated Series. At the end of the episode, Batman remarks that due to the Batmobile EXP's success, it is a 'keeper'. In the fourth season, the episode "Artifacts" explores Gotham City in the year 2027, complete with a new tank-like Batmobile reminiscent of Frank Miller's design for the Batmobile in The Dark Knight Returns.

Batman: Gotham Knight

In the straight-to-DVD animated shorts collection Gotham Knight, the Batmobile makes an appearance in the feature entitled "Field Test". While set in the same continuity as Christopher Nolan's films, it is visually a pastiche of the Batmobile as it has appeared in various films. Also, the Batmobile appears in the feature entitled "Working Through Pain"; wherein Alfred arrives to pick up Batman. The Batmobile appearing in this scene seems to be inspired by its appearance in the 1989 live-action film.

Batman: The Brave and The Bold

The Batmobile in Batman: The Brave and the Bold takes design elements from the Golden Age Batmobiles and the Lincoln Futura. This Batmobile has the ability to transform into other vehicles.[28] The tie in toyline's Batmobile shares this feature, transforming from car to jet. On at least one occasion, it has converted into a mecha similar to the Bat-Bots seen in Kingdom Come. In the episode "Game Over for Owlman", Batman is forced to use a back-up Batmobile which resembles a Studebaker.

Beware the Batman

The Batmobile in "Beware the Batman" is a low and flat F1 like car with a single seated cockpit and pointed nose. The car has horizontal fins flanking a pair of jet engines, large wheels with low profile tires, as well as sharply angled canopy.[29] This version, as is common with Batmobiles, seems very durable, with low profile armoring, as throughout the show it has taken shots from rocket launchers without any noticeable damage, stood up to high powered demolition machinery without any visible markings to the point of breaking said machinery, etc. The interior features a voice command system, a video link system, and more, directly routed to the Batcomputer.

Other Appearances

The Batmobile made a brief cameo at the end of the Looney Tunes Show episode "Reunion". Bugs Bunny drove off in it after seeing the Bat-Signal because, in that show, he is secretly Batman. This Batmobile slightly resembles the Golden Age version.

Live-action feature films

Batman and Batman Returns

A replica of the Batmobile of Batman and Batman Returns, as seen on display outside Batman: The Ride at Six Flags Great America
A replica of the Batmobile of Batman and Batman Returns, as seen on display at AutoMotor exhibition in Israel

Tim Burton's live-action films Batman and Batman Returns presented a different version of the Batmobile, which reflected those films' Art Deco version of Gotham City, both of which were designed by Anton Furst.[30][31] It was long, low and sleek, and was built on a Chevy Impala chassis.

Technical specifications

  • Length: 260.7 in
  • Width: 94.4 in
  • Height: 51.2 in
  • Wheelbase: 141.0 in
  • Wheels: Cast alloy, 15 × 6.5
  • Tires: High aspect L60-15
  • Acceleration: 0-60 in 3.7 seconds
  • Maximum Speed: 330 mph with booster
  • Engine: Jet Turbine
  • Fuel: High octane; 97% special (gasoline paraffin mixture)
  • Torque: 1750 lbf.ft at 98.7% ROS

For quick maneuvers, this Batmobile had side-mounted grappling hook launchers and a central "foot" capable of lifting the car and rotating it 180°.

Features

Spherical bombs could be deployed from its sides. An afterburner[32] was housed in the back. Two M1919 Browning machine guns were hidden behind flaps in each fender. Its grappling hook, once hooked on a structure, serves as an anchor to allow the batmobile to make an extremely sharp turn at high speed that its pursuers typically cannot duplicate. It had superhydraulics for course changes, and a batdisc ejector (side-mounted) that could fire precisely 15 Batdiscs in the 1-second pulse. Other gadgets included chassis-mounted shinbreakers, oil slick dispensers and smoke emitters. Inside, the two-seat cockpit featured aircraft-like instrumentation, a passenger's side monitor, self-diagnostics system, CD recorder, and voice-command recognition system. In Batman Returns it is shown to have a secondary mode referred to as the "Batmissile", where the wheels would retract inward and the sides of the vehicle would break off, converting the car into a thin bullet train-like form capable of squeezing through tight alleyways. Obviously, this secondary mode would require the car to be reassembled and significantly repaired.

The Batmobile's shields are made of ceramic fractal armor panels. They explode outward when struck by projectiles, deflecting injurious force away from the car and its occupants. If Batman must leave the Batmobile for an extended period of time, he can, through a voice command spoken into a wrist device (specifically, the word "shields"), activate the Batmobile's shielding system. This prevents anyone from tampering with the vehicle while it is left unattended. Bulletproof and fireproof steel armor plates envelop the body and cockpit entirely. While this armor is in place, the vehicle cannot be driven. In Batman the shields[33] were not fully functioning. In reality, a life-size model was built, and the shield activation sequence was created with stop motion animation technology. In Batman Returns, the shields[33] held the same characteristics. However, the design was slimmer and the special effects were provided by computer-generated imagery. In shield mode, a small but powerful bomb can be deployed.

Other appearances

  • The only actual turbine powered Batmobile in existence is a replica of the 1989 film car. It is powered by a military Boeing turboshaft engine driving the rear wheels through a 4 speed semi-automatic transmission and is street registered. This car was designed and constructed by Casey Putsch of Putsch Racing in 2011. Putsch Racing also created a V8 powered replica complete with retractable firing machine guns, automated canopy, internet, GPS, police/military scanner, etc.. That car was also street registered in the United States.
  • Replicas of the Tim Burton-era Batmobiles are on display in front of several Batman: The Ride roller coasters and also in the street near Batman Adventure – The Ride 2 at Warner Bros. Movie World in Australia.
  • Historic auto attractions in Roscoe, Illinois displays a replica Batmobile from Batman Returns as well as the "Batmissile" in addition to a replica of the Batmobile from the 1960s television series.
  • A series of Onstar TV advertisements featured this particular Batmobile being equipped with the system. OnStar allowed Batman to call various Gotham characters, summon police, remotely unlock the vehicle's doors and find the nearest jet fuel station.
  • This version of the Batmobile was later seen in the Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman episode called "Don't Tug on Superman's Cape", an episode which shows that some collectors had apparently stolen the Batmobile.
  • In the movie Looney Tunes: Back in Action, Daffy Duck drives the Tim Burton version of the Batmobile into the water tower on the Warner Bros. studio lot, causing it to fall over and nearly crush Jenna Elfman's character.
  • On the TV series Animaniacs, the Tim Burton version of the Batmobile approaches the WB studios front gates, the guard at the door greets the driver by saying "Good afternoon Mr. Keaton."
  • Yet another Animaniacs cartoon features a parody of the poem 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. As the WB studios empty out for the Christmas break, the Tim Burton version of the Batmobile pulls up to the gate, and Ralph the Guard waves it through, saying, "Goodnight, Mr. Keaton, that's a lovely sedan."
  • In a third Animaniacs appearance, Dot Warner's interpretation of a Puck soliloquy from A Midsummer Night's Dream renders the line, "And Robin shall make amends ere long" as "And the Boy Wonder will save us." The Tim Burton version of the Batmobile then drives up to the Warner siblings and opens its canopy; Robin pulls the trio into the car, which departs, saving them from an angry fairy.
  • In the "RPM" episode of the animated series The Batman, one of Bruce Wayne's Batmobile prototypes is the Batmobile from the Tim Burton films.
  • In the animated film Batman: Gotham Knight segment "Working Through Pain", Alfred uses the 1989 Batmobile to pull the sewer gate to rescue Batman trapped underneath.[34]

Batman Forever

As the Batman films were handed over to director Joel Schumacher from Tim Burton, the design for the Batmobile updated. Decorative lighting was added to the vehicle's rims, sides and front edge, and the wing-shaped fins reached further into the air. New abilities included a grappling hook allowing the Batmobile to drive up walls, as well as the speed to perform large jumps from surface to surface during chases across Gotham City's elevated freeways and gigantic statues.

The Batman Forever Batmobile's ability to drive up walls was displayed as Batman eludes a dead-end provided by Two-Face and his henchmen. Later in the film, Dick Grayson takes the Batmobile for a joy ride without Batman's permission or awareness. Ultimately, it was destroyed when the Riddler deposited a sack full of explosives in the cockpit. Batman Forever is also notable for the phrase uttered by Batman to Dr. Chase Meridian "It's the car, right? Chicks love the car."

The design of the Batmobiles of the Schumacher films have garnered criticism for allegedly resembling giant phalli.[35]

Technical specifications

The Batman Forever Batmobile had a Chevrolet 350 ZZ3 high-performance motor. The body is made from a vacuum-bagged high-temperature epoxy fiberglass laminate. The wheelbase is 118 in. (118 inches (3.0 m)), the average car wheelbase measures around 103 (USDOT Data 1980–2000) inches. In all, its size was 300 in long and 126 in high. Carbon fiber was used to build the body of this particular Batmobile. The specifications for the Batmobile in this film are:

  • Length: 300 in (7.62 m)
  • Width: 94.4 in
  • Height: 126 in (3.20 m)
  • Maximum Speed:330 mph with booster
  • Engine: Off-road running engine
  • Wheelbase: 118 in
  • Tires: Pivotable

Features

The Batmobile depicted in Batman Forever sought to accentuate its intricate lines. To do this, the filmmakers equipped it with engine panels, wheels, and undercarriage that were indirectly lit so that they appeared to glow blue. The Batman Forever car also had a split cockpit canopy, separate fenders, and jet exhaust. The roof fin could be opened into a "V" shape for a more contemporary look, though the only time this was shown is during the scene when Dick Grayson is taking the car out for a joyride through the city. The wheels were made to keep the bat emblems upright when the wheels are turning. The bat-emblem hubcaps was a counter-rotating gear that transferred into a stationary point. The two-seat cockpit featured a rear-view monitor, system diagnostics display, and custom gauge cluster. H. R. Giger was chosen to design the Batmobile in the very early stages of production. He left due to creative differences. His designs are on his official website in illustrated and 3D Graphic Art form. There were two primary avoidance/defense features on the Batman Forever version. First, it had the ability to lock all four wheels perpendicular to its centerline, to allow for quick sideways movement. Second, for more dire circumstances, the Batmobile could reroute the jet exhaust to under its front end and launch grappling cables at overhead anchors. With the nose up and the lines in place, the car could climb sheer vertical surfaces like building walls as if it were driving on flat ground.

Other appearances

  • In episode 53 of the TV series The Drew Carey Show, Drew Carey won the Batman Forever version of the Batmobile as a prize. Lewis and Oswald take it on a joyride dressed as Batman and Robin without Drew's permission. Oswald was played by Diedrich Bader (Batman's voice in Batman: The Brave and the Bold).
  • In The New Batman Adventures episode "Legends of the Dark Knight", three teenagers discuss their ideas about what Batman is really like. They briefly meet an effeminate youth named Joel in front of a shoemaker's shop, whose idea of Batman consists mainly of a fascination with the tight rubber suits and a Batmobile that can drive up walls (as seen in Batman Forever). The other three children treat Joel's ideas with utter disdain.
  • In the 2011 remake of the comedy film Arthur, Arthur (played by Russell Brand) drives the Batman Forever version of the Batmobile.[36]

Batman & Robin

A new Batmobile is seen in the 1997 film Batman & Robin. It is prominently featured in one scene in which, as Batman and Robin are in pursuit, Mr. Freeze shoots the underside of the car for several seconds with his freeze-gun, before the car crash-lands. However, in the next scene in the Batcave, the Batmobile is sitting back on its pedestal appearing to be in perfect condition.[37]

Technical specifications

In Batman & Robin, the aerodynamic chassis design and "T" axis wheelbase provided the Batmobile counterbalance gyrometric stability, allowing for high velocity 90-degree turns at speeds greater than 70 mph without losing momentum. Initial plans had the Batmobile being able to transform into the "Bathammer" vehicle seen in this film,[A] but were abandoned. The specifications for the Batmobile in this film are as follows:[38]

  • Length: 396 in (33 feet (10 m)) long. The six flame columns formed a V-shaped output of 71 in (1.80 m) length.
  • Height: 59.05 in (1.5 m)
  • Maximum Speed: 230 mph on open road, 350 mph with afterburner thrust; TFX road tested the Batmobile at 140 mph. 350 km/h and the additional jet propulsion brings the cars to 530 km/h.
  • Engine: Chevy 350 ZZ3 (off-road racing motor). Instead of a single jet exhaust, this Batmobile had a "boattail" rear flanked by separate fenders, each with three smaller exhaust nozzles.
  • Axle Base: 388 in
  • Tires: It rode on custom 22" wheels with prototype, 55 in GoodYear tires with Batsymbols in the treads.

Features

The Batmobile of Batman & Robin

The second Schumacher era Batmobile featured neither a passenger seat nor a canopy. Like the Batman Forever car, this Batmobile (which was designed by Harald Belker)[39] featured light-up wheels and engine panels. The displays were much more involved with this car, however, with red, orange, yellow, and blue lights, as well as special pulsating lights in the counter-rotating turbine intake. The nozzles were canted away from the centerline of the car slightly, so the final effect was that the six exhausts made a "V" pattern to keep the car pointed straight ahead. A bat mask was incorporated in the nose of the car, though the sculpted lines made it somewhat difficult to make out at first. The fins were unmistakable, though, and remain as the largest set ever built into a real-world Batmobile. On the Batman & Robin version the arsenal of weaponry and gadgets is controlled by an onboard voice-activated computer which surrounds the single-seat cockpit. From behind the wheel, the driver has access to a multifunctioning key command response system which delivers immediate weapon activation during attack and defensive procedures. The Batman & Robin version of the Batmobile was equipped with dual-mount, subcarriage rocket launchers, front and rear grappling hooks, multipoint infrared and laser scan tracking units, anterior/posterior wheel-based axle bombs, catapult ejection seat, and disguised central carriage, which detaches to become an emergency road vehicle. The single-seat cockpit featured a two-way videoconferencing screen, radar unit, and Redbird communication switch.

Christopher Nolan The Dark Knight trilogy

The Batmobile from Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.

The Batmobile depicted in Christopher Nolan's trilogy of Batman films owes much to the tank-like vehicle from Frank Miller's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, has a more 'workhorse' appearance than the sleek automobiles seen in previous incarnations and does not have a front axle. While the films never refer to the vehicle as the "Batmobile", it is still referred to as such in the scripts. The film's production designer described the machine as a cross between a Lamborghini and a tank.

In Batman Begins (2005), Bruce Wayne utilizes the prototype vehicle known as the Tumbler designed by Wayne Enterprises' Applied Sciences Division as a bridging vehicle for the military. It includes weaponry and the ability to boost into a rampless jump. The Tumbler's armour is strong enough to break through concrete barriers without sustaining significant damage. Two full-sized driving versions were used in exterior shots while another full-sized model with hydraulic enhancements was used in jump sequences. A further full-sized, functional version carried propane tanks to fuel the rocket blast out of the rear nozzle. A radio controlled, 1/3-scale electric model also performed stunts in the film including the roof-top chase sequence. Six vehicles were built for the production of the film.

In The Dark Knight (2008), the Tumbler returns and appears twice in the movie: where Batman captures the Scarecrow and in a chase where it's damaged by a rocket-propelled grenade fired by the Joker that causes a terminal crash to which Batman ejects from the Tumbler in the Batpod (a motorcycle formed by the front wheels and struts of the Tumbler) as part of a self-destruct sequence which sees the remainder of the vehicle explode. The Tumbler is also seen in the trailers in a deleted scene, exiting the improvised Batcave.

In The Dark Knight Rises (2012), several new Tumblers are seen.[40] Each of these vehicles had the original Tumbler's camouflage color scheme and are used by Bane's gang stolen from Wayne Enterprises.[41] The stolen Tumblers are used in Bane's attempt to control Gotham and are notably seen when the mass of police and criminals are about to battle. One of the Tumblers fires at the crowd of police, only for the Bat to intercept the shot. Three of the Tumblers are destroyed by Batman using the Bat and Selina Kyle using the Batpod.

Technical specifications[42]

  • Length: 15 feet 2 inches (4.62 m)
  • Width: 9 feet 2 inches (2.79 m)
  • height 4 feet 11 inches (1.50 m)
  • Weight: 2.5 short tons (2.3 t)
  • Acceleration: 0-60 in 5.6 seconds.
  • Engine: 5.7 liter GM V8 engine capable of 500 horsepower (370 kW).
  • Fuel: The "jet engine" on the back of the car was fed by propane tanks.
  • Tires: 4 Interco "Super Swamper TSL" tires standing 44/18.5-16.5 in the rear, and two 94.0/15.0-15 Hoosier Checkerboard dirt tires on the front, with superior grip.

Features

The Christopher Nolan version of the Batmobile has a pair of autocannons mounted in the nose of the car between the front wheels. In "Attack" mode, the driver's seat moves to the center of the car, and the driver is repositioned to lie face-down with his head in the center section between the front wheels. This serves two main purposes: first, it provides more substantial protection with the driver shielded by multiple layers of armor plating. Second, the low-down, centralized driving position makes extreme precision maneuvers easier to perform, while lying prone reduces the risk of injury a driver faces when making these maneuvers. Other devices included:

  • Rear flaps to assist brakes
  • Dual front autocannons
  • Rocket launcher
  • Landing hook to Sprung landing stabilization
  • Integrated fire-extinguishing system
  • Integrated safety connection to gasoline control
  • Jet engine (ram jet afterburners) on back of car for quick boosts/"rampless" jumps
  • Stealth mode, which turns off the car's lights and cuts off the main engine. The vehicle is powered by an electric motor making the car very hard to find in dark places (which makes the mode most useful at night), and as demonstrated by the car chase in Batman Begins, can not easily throw off pursuers.
  • Explosive caltrops are deployed from the rear of the vehicle, which can take out any cars that make contact with them.
  • Front of car is heavily armored, so the car can ram as a practical offensive attack, and also protects the driver while in the prone driving position/"Attack" mode
  • Both front wheels can eject when the vehicle is damaged to form the Batpod, a motorcycle-like vehicle (the rest self-destructs).
  • The new Tumblers are modified with experimental weapons:
    • A set of missile launchers
    • A retractable artillery cannon on a turret

Production process

The new incarnation of the Tumbler was proposed by Nolan after he built a proof-of-concept model design out of Play-Doh - a model he admitted looked "very very crude, more like a croissant than a car". Nathan Crowley, one of the production designers for Batman Begins, then started the process of designing the Tumbler for the film by model bashing based on that shape. One of the parts that Crowley used to create the vehicle was the nose cone of a P-38 Lightning model to serve as the chassis for the car's jet engine. Six models of the Tumbler were built to 1:12 scale in the course of four months. Following the scale model creation, a crew of over 30 people, including Crowley and engineers Chris Culvert and Andy Smith,[43] carved a full-size replica of the vehicle out of a large block of Styrofoam, which was a process that lasted two months.[44]

The Styrofoam model was used to create a steel "test frame", which had to stand up to several standards: have a speed of over 100 mph, go from 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 5 seconds, possess a steering system to make sharp turns at city corners, and to withstand a self-propelled launch of up to 30 feet (9.1 m). On the first jump test, the Tumbler's front end collapsed and had to be completely rebuilt. The basic configuration of the newly designed vehicle included a 5.7-liter Chevy V8 engine, a truck axle for the rear axle, front racing tires by Hoosier, rear 4×4 mud tires by Interco., and the suspension system of Baja racing trucks. The design and development process took nine months and cost several million dollars.[44]

With the design process completed, four street-ready cars were constructed. Each vehicle possessed 65 carbon fiber panels and cost $250,000 to build. Two of the four cars were specialized versions. One version was the flap version, which had hydraulics and flaps to detail the close-up shots where the vehicle propelled itself through the air. The other version was the jet version, in which an actual jet engine was mounted onto the vehicle, fueled by six propane tanks. Due to the poor visibility inside the vehicle by the driver, monitors were connected to cameras on the vehicle body. The professional drivers for the Tumblers practiced driving the vehicles for six months before they drove on the streets of Chicago for the film's scenes.[44]

The interior was an immobile studio set and not actually the interior of a street-capable version. The cockpit was oversized to fit cameras for scenes filmed in the Tumbler interior. In addition, another version of the car was a miniature model that was 1:6 scale of the full-sized one. This miniature model had an electric motor and was used to show it flying across ravines and between buildings. However, a full-size car was used for the waterfall sequence.[44] The scale model scenes were filmed on a massive set built on a stage at Shepperton Studios in England over the course of nine weeks. The full-sized vehicles were driven and filmed on the streets of Chicago. In The Dark Knight, the Batpod ejects from the Tumbler, with the Tumbler's front wheels as the Batpod's wheels; this was rendered using computer-generated imagery when attempts to achieve the separation through practical effects proved impossible.

Toys

  • Hot Wheels released a version of the 1960s batman TV show's Batmobile, as well as the Batmobile from Batman and Batman Returns and the Tumbler from Nolan's Batman films.
  • Corgi Toys of England has produced a wide range of Batmobiles[45] ranging from the original sedan to the latest movie Batmobiles. They also have produced a Batboat, Red Bird & Jokermobile for their diecast toy lines.
  • Mego produced the Batmobile for its World's Greatest Super Hero line in the 1970s. It could seat two 8 inch action figures.
  • The Batmobile that was produced for Kenner's Super Powers Collection toyline[46][47] allowed two figures to sit in it, had a battering ram grille, and trapping claw in the back.
  • The Batmobile was released as part of the original Lego Batman toy line and its DC Universe Superheroes remake, with both sets featuring Two-Face and his armored truck. A Nolan-style Bat-Tumbler set was also released to tie in with The Dark Knight. This set included the Joker and his ice cream truck.
  • A toy, Gotham City Playset with Batman and the Scarecrow even a subway is inside a Batmobile which transforms into it.
  • Eaglemoss released a magazine, 'Batman Automobilia' featuring models of most Batmobiles.

Video games

  • In the Sega CD adaptation of Batman Returns, the Batmobile was controlled during the time bonus stages after missions were completed.
  • There are two Batmobile levels in the 2005 video game adaptation of Batman Begins. Electronic Arts used the Burnout 3: Takedown engine for these levels. Batman has to ram enemy cars off the road which results in a "Take down" while picking up Nitro boosts along the way that float on the road in holographic bubbles. Xbox World Australia called these sequences the highlight of the game.[48] Cheatcc.com called them "by far the best Batmobile levels ever featured in a game".[49]
  • In the 2009 game Batman: Arkham Asylum, the Batmobile appears with a design resembling the one used in Batman: The Animated Series. In the game, it is vandalized by Harley Quinn and the Blackgate prisoners. Batman later controls the Batmobile remotely using his utility belt to take Bane into the sea along with it.
  • In the PlayStation game Batman: Gotham City Racer, the player gets the full independence to drive the Batmobile.
  • The Batmobile is confirmed to be a drivable vehicle in the upcoming Batman: Arkham Knight. This version of the car is different than the one seen in Arkham Asylum; it is big, heavily armored and functions much like the Tumbler in the Nolan films, but its shape resembles the classic designs. Rocksteady Studios have stated that this Batmobile will be the star of the game and that it is meant to be the best car in any video game. It is nearly indestructible, contains boost and jump mechanisms, will affect anything it hits in some fasion (but cannot be used to run over people, criminals included), can be called to Batman instantly at almost any time with the press of a button, can eject Batman hundreds of feet in the air for an instant glide and is equipped offensive and defensive gadgets such as special missles that will stop getaway vehicles without harming the people inside and a taser mechanism to stop criminals from vandalizing or stealing it. The Batmobile will also be used as part of the Riddler's challenges as he has set up racetracks for Batman to take on in the Batmobile.[50]

See also

Notes

^ In Batman & Robin, Batman uses the "Bathammer" to battle Mr. Freeze and his henchmen through the frozen streets of Gotham City. The Bathammer is, in essence, a Batmobile for travelling on icy surfaces. It is 33 feet (10 m) long and 6 feet (1.8 m) high. The top speed is 100 mph on ice. The Bathammer can move over enormous skids underneath. It also carries vertical stabilizers (3 m long) that can be directed upward in an emergency and used as shield.[51][52]

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