Back in December we wrote about the original Batmobile from the popular 1960s Batman television series going up for auction, after its creator, legendary car customizer George Barris decided that the time was right to sell up.
Barris decided to sell the iconic vehicle after all these years, because he believed that the time had come to move it out of his showroom to somewhere where it could be enjoyed by people.
The Batmobile was sold at the Barrett Jackson annual auction in Scottsdale, Arizona, on Saturday. It went for a whopping $4.6million!
Barrett Jackson confirmed that the vehicle was bought by Rick Champagne who owns a logistics company in Tempe, Arizona. In an interview with Speed TV after the sale, Champagne identified himself as the proud new owner and said that the Batmobile would have pride of place in his living room!
Barris created the Batmobile out of a 1955 Ford Lincoln Futura concept car, when he was tasked with the job in 1966. Barris was given a tight schedule to create Batman’s ride and so he opted to modify the Futura rather than start from scratch! In the television series, the Batmobile could do all manner of things, like fire flames, squirt oil, or shoot out tire slashers, however the vehicle that was sold at auction, is (unsurprisingly) not designed to carry out any of those mean feats!
There had been a bit of dispute whether the legendary vehicle would sell for a large sum or not. Barrett Jackson’s chief executive Craig Jackson, was one of those who believed that the Batmobile would fetch millions of dollars, however others were not quite as convinced.
The doubters pointed out that numerous imitation Batmobiles had been constructed over the years and that those models were relatively indistinguishable from George Barris’ original.
However it seems as though the fact this vehicle was “the first” made it extremely desirable indeed as the auction room overflowed with bidders. Jackson said: “The energy in that room was just electric. We haven’t experienced anything like that since the Futurliner,” referring to the 2006 auction of a General Motors concept bus that went for a staggering $4!
It is not unusual for iconic TV and film cars to sell for extraordinarily high prices, back in 2010, a modified 1964 Aston Martin DB5 that featured in the James Bond movies sold for the same price as Barris’ Batmobile, $4.6 million. But this is not always how it works out, often there are multiple versions of these iconic vehicles created for use in different shots or promotion, so it can be difficult to tell which one is “the car”!