Tricked-out with its 1960s fins, the original Batmobile goes up for auction this weekend with expectations to bring in at least $3 million.
An identical one sits in the Volo Auto Museum. Car No. 7, to be exact, created as one of several fiberglass duplicates to serve as backup in case the original broke down on set.
Not as valuable as the original, you might think. But, actually, it kind of is to the museum.
“The Batmobile is by far the most famous television and movie car,” Musuem Director Brian Grams said. “There are so many Batmobiles throughout the years that it doesn’t matter how old you are ... Everybody knows it. It’s an icon.”
Would he ever sell his valued possession?
(As Robin might say, “Wowzers!”)
“It’s our biggest attraction,” Grams said. “We’ve got no plans on selling it. The money would be gone in a matter of time, but you can never replace the car.”
Originally created in 1966 by George Barris (who visits the Volo museum regularly) out of a 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car, the Batmobile has evolved from its “POW,” “BANG,” years in the television series.
The live-action series, “Batman,” aired in 1965 and led to a movie adaption featuring Adam West, along with Barris’ customized car.
Back then, it soared out of the Batcave with a bat logo on its door and its many gadgets, such as a Bat Ray projector, Batscope, Batcomputer and Batphone.
Just the fact the car was built out of a 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car is enough of a draw, Grams said. Throw in Batman’s ultimate gadgets, and, “They’re getting two for one,” he said.
Today’s Batmobiles are slicker and more like the hot rods admired by younger generations. But to the Baby Boomers and others who remember the early Batman years, they’ll take the original any day, Grams said.
“If you talk to a 15-year-old, he’s going to love the new Batmobile hands-down over the old ones.
“But the majority of the people, the Baby Boomers and that, the people that remember that car are the ones that have the money.”
His is one of only a few DC Comics-approved Batmobiles, bearing the trademarked red-orange “bat” logo and permitted to be displayed under the title of “Batmobile.”
Adding to the Volo display are the Batcycle with the go-cart attachment used by Batman and Robin in the television series, one of the Batmobiles from the 1989 film in the franchise featuring Michael Keaton and the semi-truck Heath Ledger drove as “The Joker” in “The Dark Knight.”
But the main attraction is and likely always will be the Batmobile, said Grams, who’s been contacted frequently since the sale of the original was announced. The Batmobile will be featured Jan. 19 at an ongoing Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Ariz.
To preview the auction, the WGN TV morning news team borrowed Gram’s car for a December newscast as part of a spoof on the auction.
And a documentary featuring the evolution of the Batmobile now plays at the Volo attraction feature Grams’ Batmobile, which continues to draw visitors to the museum at 27582 Volo Village Road.
“People love the old one,” Grams said. “To a lot of people, it’s nostalgia.”By JAMI KUNZER – firstname.lastname@example.org