The "Robinson Batmobile" was originally silver, but was repainted a more appropriate black and red when 1960s "Batmania" hit its zenith. It toured the country as an official Batmobile a whole year before replicas of Barris' TV car did the same.
Friday, November 14, 2014
For Sale: The Original Batmobile You Never Knew Existed
Most people think that that real-life Batmobiles started with the famous George Barris-customized Lincoln Futura that starred in the camp-tacular 1960s Batman TV series. But there was one officially-licensed Batmobile that had Barris beat by years, and now it's for sale.
As Supercompressor notes, this Batmobile — which bears a passing resemblance to the sleek coupe Batman drove in the 1940s comic books — is a 1956 Oldsmobile 88. It is the first car DC Comics ever licensed, and now it can be yours at an upcoming Heritage Auction in Dallas.
Here's their story behind the car:
What is believed to be the world's first car that became an officially licensed Batmobile was conceived and customized starting in 1960 by 23-year-old Forrest Robinson. After finishing the design, Robinson and a young friend, Len Perham, begun building the car in the Robinson family barn.
Robinson completed the car in 1963-two years before the George Barris customization of the TV Batmobile was started. The "'63 Batmobile" is the earliest known car in existence that was sanctioned by a DC Comics licensee.
Although many people associate the Batmobile with the cars seen in recent Batman movies or the late-60s Batman TV show, Robinson's earlier car is instantly recognizable as "more authentic" by comic book lovers. It has features seen in DC's Batman Comics from the 1940s and '50s, including the prominent front-end bat-nose and rear-end single fin.
Like all great collector cars, it has an amazing comeback story. Robinson sold the car for $200 to start a fabricating business, and it would ultimately spend nearly 50 years rotting in a New Hampshire field.
In 2008 the car was re-discovered by a man who sold it to a rare car dealer, and it changed hands a few more times before undergoing a full restoration in 2013. That was completed earlier this year, and the results are impressive.
The original TV series Batmobile sold for $4.2 million last year. How much will this one go for?
Photos credit Heritage Auctions