At a price point fit for Bruce Wayne himself, the 1989 Tim Burton Batmobile from Batman and Batman Returns is currently listed on consignment by Classic Auto Mall for USD$1.5 million (AUD$2.26 million). One of five created for the film, this particular model gained notoriety for its use as the Number 1 Six Flags Batmobile. But if you were hoping to drive the “bat sh*t crazy cool” non-street-legal car around the city fighting crime vigilante-style, you might want to find someone who can replace the battery because it’s flat. Oh, and there’s also a risk of “failure or fire” if you do happen to get it started. Good luck, Master Bruce.
Listed on consignment by Pennsylvania-based Classic Auto Mall, the movie prop is around the same price as a new house in Sydney, but unlike a one-bedder in Newtown, you’ll have the distinction of owning a rare piece of Hollywood memorabilia. While an earlier version of the car’s listing claims it was used in the film, this Batmobile was one of three cars reserved for stunts and displays, while the other two were used for the film. Although Michael Keaton did not drive the car during the production of the Batman movies, nor is it street-legal, this Batmobile is legit.
The “strikingly designed and very popular custom build” features a hidden stunt driver compartment behind the wraparound window cockpit–a nifty illusion to fool the audience into believing the car is “driverless”. Powered by an “environmentally friendly” 48v DC drivetrain, a functional flame thrower is built into the “exhaust” to ward off anyone who says otherwise.
Inside the car is space for three passengers, including the hidden stunt driver. Behind the steering wheel is an array of “buttons, levers, lights, control panels and an overabundance of nonfunctional bells and whistles.”. There’s also a button that operates the sliding fighter cockpit canopy door. If you do manage to replace the presumed-faulty battery that hasn’t been charged since 1993, you’ll be travelling at a dizzying 40-50 (25-30mph), so perhaps it’s best left in the showroom.
Since it was first introduced in Detective Comics issue #48 in February 1941, the Batmobile has come in several varieties and flavours, including the tank-like Tumbler from Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. Back then, however, the title of “Batmobile” was given to a red convertible, which is not very Batman, if you ask us.
But unlike the original George Barris Creation from 1966, which took the body of Lincoln Futura and added bat fins and the “bubble dome”, the Batmobile from the Burtonverse took on more of a “cocoon” shape, designed to shield the driver. Initially drafted by Julian Caldow, under the direction of Tim Burton and Anton Furst, the car’s design combined elements of jet aircraft, war machines and other similar vehicles to match the edgier, darker tone that Tim Burton intended. Here’s hoping the Batplane makes its way to consignment too!
The main difference between the Tim Burton Batmobile and the Six Flags version, built initially by Jay Ohrberg, is the rear bat fins on the car, which were shortened to make the car easier to transport. According to the Batman Fandom page, the Batmobile is built on a Chevrolet Impala chassis with a V8 Chevy engine. Its exterior is inspired by a 1970 Corvette body that never made it out of failed development from Jaguar and Ford Mustang.
To whoever does end up owning this piece of movie memorabilia, you may want to swap out their bat signal for a direct hotline to the fire department, just in case.
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