"Original Batmobile sold for $4.2m at US auction"
January 20th, 2013
The Batmobile used by actor Adam West in the original TV series of Batman has sold for $4.2m (£2.6m) at a US auction.
The car was bought by Rick Champagne, a logistics company owner from Phoenix, Arizona.
The 56-year-old, who was just 10 when the high-camp TV series began in 1966, said it "was a dream come true".
The Batmobile design was based on a 1955 Lincoln Futura, a concept car built in Italy by the Ford Motor Company.
It was the first time that car had come up for public sale since it was bought in 1965 by car-customiser George Barris, who transformed it in 15 days, at the cost of $15,000 (£9,400), into the superhero's famous vehicle.
It had a V-8 engine, arguably one of the first in-car phones, and parachutes, which were deployed to help Batman turn sharp corners.
Mr Barris told reporters at the auction: "The car had to be a star on its own. And it became one."
Since the show was cancelled in 1968, he has toured the Batmobile and was eventually housed in a private showroom in California.
Adam West, now 84, played the caped crusader in 120 episodes in four years of programming, with Burt Ward starring as the "boy wonder" Robin and comedian and actor Cesar Romero as Batman's arch nemesis, The Joker.
The 60s show was camp in its portrayal of Batman. More recent incarnations of billionaire Bruce Wayne and his alter-ego - such as British director Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy - have had a much darker tone.
The newer Batmobiles have reflected the more brutal portrayal of Gotham City's saviour, such as the "Tumbler" of 2005's Batman Begins, starring Christian Bale.
"Batmobile sells for $4.62 million at Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale"
January 19th, 2013
The iconic Batmobile from the 1960s television show sold for $4.62 million at the Barrett-Jackson classic car auction in Scottsdale, Ariz.
The Saturday night sale thrilled famed car customizer George Barris, who first bought the 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car for $1 from Ford. He then transformed it into the Batmobile in 15 days with a budget of $15,000, according to auction notes from Barrett-Jackson.
The car's buyer was Rick Champagne, a Phoenix-area logistics company executive. Asked by television interviewers what motivated him to pay such a princely sum, he pointed to the woman accompanying him and said: "Her."
He then explained that he'd had his eye on the Batmobile “ever since I was a kid. I had a toy model of it,” according to SPEED TV. Asked whether he'd keep the car in his garage, he said he'd put it in his living room.
Before the auction, Barris never said what price he would take for the midnight-black and fluorescent-red-pinstriped car that Adam West's Batman used to battle villains. The selling price, which includes a buyer's commission, was apparently more than enough and surprised many observers.
The heavily modified car, known around the world, was built at Barris Kustom Industries auto shop on Riverside Drive in North Hollywood. It has been on display there in a gallery since the television show ended in 1968.
The Futura concept was originally created by a design team at Ford Motor Co.'s Lincoln styling department. The 19-foot-long, two-seat, bubble-topped grand touring car prototype was entirely hand-built in 1954 by Ghia Body Works in Turin, Italy, and unveiled in its original pearlescent "frost-blue" white paint finish in 1955 at the Chicago Auto Show.
In late 1965, 20th Century Fox Television and William Dozier's Greenway Productions tapped Barris to come up with a car to foil Batman's enemies. Barris, who also made the Munster Koach and "Beverly Hillbillies" jalopy from the 1960s TV shows, turned out a monster.
The car features bulletproof Plexiglas bubble windshields and the Bat Ray (dual 450-watt laser beams that blasted obstacles to bits). It also has a Bat-O-Meter, which identified the location of the bad guys, as well as oil squirters, fashioned from lawn sprinkler heads, to foil evildoers.
"I saw the script and it said, 'Bang,' 'Pow,' 'Boom,' " Barris, now 87, said in an interview before the auction. "That's exactly what I wanted the car to do. I wanted it to be as big a character as the actors."
"Batmobile sells for $4.2 million"
The original Batmobile from the 1960s television series has been sold at auction for $4.2 million (£2.6 million).
January 20th, 2013
The man who created the original Batmobile used in the 1960s television series was rejoicing today after the car sold for $4.2 million at auction.
Los Angeles based George Barris adapted a car he bought for just $1 in 1966 into the sleek, 19ft bubble-topped car which was driven in the series by Adam West.
Farris took 15 days to modify the car and spent $15,000 (£9,455) in the process. The car features lasers, a Batphone, sprays out smoke and oil from lawn sprinklers and is road legal.
The winning bidder was Rick Champagne, a car collector from Phoenix. He told the Hollywood Reporter that he would: "tear down a wall and put it in my living room".
The most expensive film car ever sold at auction was in 2010, when the Aston Martin DB5 driven by Sean Connery went for $4.6 million (£2.9m).
Barris' publicist says his client is pleased with the auction result.
During filming, the car overheated, the battery went dead and the tires kept blowing.
The Batmobile's other features included a Bat-ray, a Bat-turn lever – which releases a parachute – a Bat Beam, a Mobile Batcomputer and a Bat-tering Ram.