The Batmobile was built by Z Cars in the UK using a 1965 Ford Mustang as the foundation. It has a fiberglass body, space frame chassis, four-speed manual transmission, and a 380 horsepower, 5.7-liter, small-block Chevrolet V8.
Interestingly enough, the original 1989 Batmobile was also built in England, based on a unique Chevrolet Impala chassis designed by conceptual photographer Julian Caldo and built by Jon Evans with the special effects team at Pinewood Studios.
Fast Facts – Recreating Tim Burton’s Batmobile
- In 1989 the Tim Burton movie “Batman” was released, and the world of Batman was never the same again. Burton’s artistic vision for Gotham City set the tone moving forward, and the jet-powered Batmobile became an overnight sensation.
- The original Batmobile was built at Pinewood Studios in England with a unique design penned by Julian Caldow. The fake jet engine used some components of the real Rolls-Royce jet engine, and turbine blades from the British Harrier Jump jet were used in the nose.
- Of all the Batmobiles that followed Tim Burton, the Batmobile remains the most famous, and certainly the most influential.
- The replica Batmobile you see here in England was built by the team at Z Cars. It’s based on a 1965 Ford Mustang space frame chassis and gearing, with the 380-hp 5.7-liter Chevrolet small block V8 providing the power.
Reinventing the Batmobile
The first Batmobile the world saw existed only in the pages of comic books, and it wasn’t until the release of the serial movie in 1943. Batmanthat the world had seen a real Batmobile – it was a 1939 Cadillac 75-Series convertible.
Later in the serial film 1949 batman and robin The two drove the 1949 Mercury.
In 1965 work began on what many consider to be the first true Batmobile, and it was based on the one-off 1955 Lincoln Futura prototype that Georges Paris built in just a few weeks.
This will be the car that was used in 1966 Batman TV series starring Adam West as Bruce Wayne/Batman and Burt Ward as Dick Grayson/Robin.
The campy, humorous tone of the 1960s Batman TV series and movies was fundamentally altered when Tim Burton took over the franchise for his 1989 movie. Batman. Burton Batman It was darker and grittier than anything that had come before, and his vision of Gotham’s art deco hailed the city’s original comic book vision.
The Batmobile developed for the 1989 movie was also a fundamental design shift, with it being long, low and menacing with a central jet engine, two large aft bat wings, and a central passenger compartment resembling a fighter plane with room for two under a sliding canopy.
Two of these Batmobiles were originally built, one is now on permanent display at the Peterson Automotive Museum in California and the other is owned by Batman producer John Peters, and lives in his Malibu home.
Build your own Batmobile
Very few people have seen the 1989 Tim Burton movie Batman And they left the cinema without wanting to immediately own their Batmobile.
This desire was stronger in some than in others, and so strong in some that they went and proceeded to build their own versions—usually with starter and engine gear from an American car, with a space frame and fiberglass chassis like the original.
Some of these replicas were very poorly manufactured, but others seemed indistinguishable from the originals that were used on screen. Many of the roads were made legal in different parts of the world and exhibited at fairs, to the delight of those present.
The Ford Mustang-based Batmobile is on display here
The Batmobile replica you see here was built by Z Cars in England, and as noted above, it’s built on 1965 Ford Mustang gearing, with a space frame body, and a handcrafted fiberglass body, and it’s powered by a small, 380 horsepower Chevrolet engine. 5.7 liters. V8 block.
The stylized jet engine running in the middle of the car isn’t real of course, it has a realistic looking exhaust, as well as a rotating fan blade at the front to make it look as real as possible.
The engine compartment was hot rod heated, with flames on the valve covers, a mesh intake filter, and tubular steel heads.
Although the interior is flawless, it is well detailed, with a set of gauges, switches and levers, as well as a small yoke style steering wheel. There is seating for two and the top canopy slides into place when the car is running.
Genuine Batmobiles are rarely offered at auction, and when they do they can fetch unbelievable amounts of money. Well-built rebuilds or replicas like this offer all the glory at a significantly reduced cost—probably only a few tens of thousands instead of the millions it would take to get an original.
Until relatively recently, this Batmobile replica was on display at the London Motor Museum, and is now offered for sale by Bonhams in a live online auction. At the time of writing there are still a few days left to bid, you can click here if you’d like to see the listing or register to bid.
Picture above: This is the original trailer for the 1989 movie “Batman” by Tim Burton, you’ll see the Batmobile shown multiple times.
Photos courtesy of The Market by Bonhams
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