Regardless of your opinion of who is the best superhero, one question is beyond doubt – Batman has always had the best cars.
The Dark Knight has always rocked the coolest wheels in all of his various comics, movies or TV series, whether you consider that to be the tank-like offerings in Frank Miller’s graphic novels and Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy of movies, the brutal rocket-powered machine in Tim Burton’s movies, the brilliantly art-deco styled version from the Batman: The Animated Series TV show, or the sleeker more muscle car-like ride of the latest cinematic incarnation.
But, of course, one of the best of all time is the awesome George Barris-built Lincoln-based classic from the 1966 TV series. There is simply no argument about that.
And in possibly the best way to start 2022 and forget that parade of disappointment and horror that 2021 has been, Mecum Auctions in the USA has not one, but two replicas of the ‘66 Batmobile up for sale in its January 6th – 16th Kissimmee 2022 auction that features a massive array of utterly mouth-watering metal.
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While the first one is very cool, being a replica based on a 1978 Lincoln frame with a body moulded from one of the four original cars built for the TV show, the other one that is a part of the ‘Paul Mazzee Sr Collection’ is an absolute stunner.
Mazzee had the car custom-built on a 1977 Lincoln chassis, appropriate given that the original was a case of Barris “repurposing” the one-off 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car he owned, due to the incredibly tight time constraints they faced when creating the Batmobile.
Barris would also build three replicas of the car on Ford Galaxie chassis’ that were used to tour the show circuit to promote the show TV show, with a fourth later being built on a Ford Thunderbird chassis.
With steel sheet metal door frames, inner quarter panels, hinge and striker pillars, drip rails and inner cockpit as a base, the Mazzee Batmobile’s body was made from hand-laid Vinylester and epoxy resin fibreglass and then fused onto a full steel-tube support structure including front and rear bumper cages, bonnet and boot lid.
A Ford 460 CI V8 engine topped by a 4-barrel carburettor sits under the bonnet, hooked up to an automatic transmission and, rather remarkably, the centre turbine exhaust port at the rear actually belches flames thanks to a propane system installed in the boot. Probably not road legal, but never mind that.
A fully functional siren, PA system and emergency lighting also feature, with a pair of Deist parachutes mounted either side of the turbine exhaust at the rear.
Inside, the Batmobile gets an accurately detailed replica steering wheel (complete with a central speedo – no airbags here…) and Detect-A-Scope, as well as one-of-a-kind automated roll top dash doors and stainless steel, custom-crafted canopy window frames surrounding the cockpit.
The central “Radar Antler” is autographed by Adam West (Batman) on the driver’s side and Burt Ward (Robin) on the passenger’s side, with letters of authenticity accompanying each included.
Mecum Auctions says the “final touch” was adding period-correct, Radir-styled wheels complete with Bat-logo spinners, and the original Lincoln build sheet and owner’s manual is also included.
But if an insanely detailed replica of the Batmobile is not enough for you, the Mazzee collection also includes an equally insanely detailed replica of the Batcycle from the 1966 TV show as well!
Like the original, also built by Barriss, the replica Batcycle is built on a 1966 Yamaha DT1 Catalina 250cc two-stroke motorcycle and packs the familiar bat graphics and custom pinstriping.
It also boasts the most unusual feature of the Batcycle – the concealed go-cart that Robin kneeled on that could be deployed separately.
While the original go-kart was powered by a 55cc Yamaha engine with a 3-speed transmission, the replica is powered by an electric motor hidden under a look-alike finned engine shell, but still wears the protective covering that prevented hot engine burns.
According to the listing, Batman star Adam West later recalled that things didn’t always go as planned with the go-kart, and while Batman rode along on the relative stability of the Yamaha motorcycle and sidecar, Robin’s challenging-to-control go-kart rarely went in the intended direction.
Of course, like the Batmobile, Adam West and Burt Ward have also autographed their respective Batcycle mounts, and the replica comes with certificates of caped crusader authenticity.
While the first Batmobile replica doesn’t have an indicated price range, the Mazzee Collection Bat-vehicles are listed with a US$40,000 to US$60,000 estimate for the Batcycle, with the Batmobile expected to go for between US$300,000 and US$350,000. According to Mecum, neither have been “publicly driven or displayed” since their completion.
Of course, you’d simply have to buy both, wouldn’t you? Then start searching for those Batcopter and Batboat replicas to complete the set…