First Official Batman Car Up for Auction

The original Batmobile is usually said to be the Lincoln Futura that appeared in the television series starring Adam West. That car pops up occasionally at shows and, rarely, auction and fetches more than a few dollars. It was the direct product, at least in terms of its futuristic technologies, of the Atmos, which we talked about in a Coffee and a Concept last year.

The first licensed, true Batmobile, however, was actually a 1963 rendition (a full three years before the Futura) of a 1956 Oldsmobile 88. Created by Forrest Robinson and Len Perham in 1960, the car required three years of custom body work and design. It was based entirely on the Batmobile of the DC Comics pages.

This original Batmobile, which goes up for auction on December 6 at Heritage Auctions in Dallas, Texas. If you’re interested, you can post bids online the night before. Bidding starts at $90,000. For that, you’re getting a really interesting piece of Batman-bilia.

batmobile-1963-13You can see that the car’s design is very unique. The nose is a “bat nose” shape and the tail is all folded bat wings ready for launch. A single tail fin graces the rear end. Pocket doors and a two-seat interior with simplified gauges and a rounded, tapered windscreen finish the job. Originally, the car was silver and wasn’t painted in the now-signature Batman colors of black and red until after the 1966 television series featuring the Futura introduced that scheme.

The car was built out of love, rather than for money, and Robinson drove it as his own until the TV series became popularized. At that point, he leased it to All Star Dairies and Green Acres Ice Cream for use as a promotional car to push their Batman-themed ice cream. They had a DC Comics license for the frozen treat and extended that to the car with official Batman badging and the new colors. It traveled the Eastern U.S. as “Batman’s Batmobile” for the year before being returned to Robinson.

Robinson, not sure of what he had, then eventually sold the car for $200 and it eventually ended up in a field, rusting away. It was spotted by a car dealer in 2008 and was traded and sold a few times before a classics investments company Toy Car Exchange acquired it and had it restored by Borbon Fabrications in California. It was exhibited at the Sacramento Autorama early this year, where it won the hand-built sports car class. There, as you can see from the photos below, comedian Jay Leno sat in it for photos.

Now ready to cash in on their investment and that win, Toy Car Exchange is offering it for auction Saturday.

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An automotive enthusiast for most of his adult life, Aaron has worked in and around the industry in many ways. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press (RMAP), the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA), the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA), and freelances as a writer and journalist around the Web and in print. You can find his portfolio at AaronOnAutos.com.
Aaron Turpen
An automotive enthusiast for most of his adult life, Aaron has worked in and around the industry in many ways. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press (RMAP), the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA), the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA), and freelances as a writer and journalist around the Web and in print. You can find his portfolio at AaronOnAutos.com.