AUTOROTICA: The Batmobile sells for $4.62 million. Bang, Pow, Boom.

The 1960s were an age of power and styling for American automobiles. Tailfins were sprouting up to match the height of  women’s beehives, and trunks were the size of a Fiat 500. The Ford Thunderbird, the Cadillac Eldorado and the Corvette were all in their heyday.

And the Batmobile from the 1960s television show Batman was an exemplification of this design era—with its power, gadgetry and sleek styling, it was the perfect superhero car for the era.

Famed car customizer George Barris bought a 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car and transformed it into the Batmobile in 15 days. Lincoln gave Barris the car for a reported $1 and he converted it with a budget of $15,000.

The original Futura concept was a 19-foot-long, two-seat, bubble-topped grand touring car prototype hand-built by Ghia Body Works in Turin, Italy for Ford Motor Company’s Lincoln division. It was presented first at the 1955 Chicago Auto Show to showcase Ford’s innovative design leadership.

But its ultimate fate was as an automotive icon.

The Batman television series ran for 120 episodes from January 1966 to March 1968 and was a true icon in the early years of color television and in the heyday of family entertainment. Well-known celebrities like Cesar Romero, Burgess Meredith, Frank Gorshin, Julie Newmar and Eartha Kit all had recurring roles on the campy show that skillfully transformed the sly and subtle humor of the comic book series to the boob tube.

But the star of the show—in my eye was the Batmobile.

With its bulletproof Plexiglas bubble windshields,  Bat Ray laser beams that could blast obstacles to smithereens, it was every American boy’s fantasy car. It also has a Bat-O-Meter, which identified the location of the bad guys, and even oil squirters, fashioned from lawn sprinkler heads, to foil evildoers. And of course, it is capable of a quick 180-degree "bat-turn" thanks to two rear-mounted parachutes.

Recently, the iconic Batmobile sold at auction for a brainmelting (and pocketbook emptying) $4.62 million at the Barrett-Jackson classic car auction in Scottsdale, Arizona. Automaker Barris, now 87, said in an interview before the auction. "That's exactly what I wanted the car to do. I wanted it to be as big a character as the actors." 

The man who bought the legendary automobile was asked whether he'd keep the car in his garage.

He said he'd put it in his living room.  

Bang, Pow, Boom.

Source: The Los Angeles Times and the UK Telegraph

Original design drawings for the Batmobile

Original Lincoln concept car on which the Batmobile was customized

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