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Batmobile Cars: A Brief History of the Legendary Bat-Wheels!

  • Cars Explained
  • Silas Smith
  • 5 minutes

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“What car is the Batmobile?” is the question that still haunts fans’ minds every time Batman is rebooted! But no one can deny that Batmobile is the most iconic car in popular culture. The Batmobile was treated as a living character in all installments of live-action films since 2005. The idea was to strike fear into the hearts of Gotham’s biggest criminals, and the car definitely does the trick.

Ever since the introduction of Batman in the comics, the vigilante has gathered interest from readers of all ages. In addition, the first appearance of the Batmobile was in Detective Comics #27, which came out in May 1939. Over the years, that ordinary red car was reimagined repeatedly. But what car was the first Batmobile that appeared in the movies? 

Let us take a closer look at the different versions of Batmobiles through the years. We will only consider the movie, and TV versions as this blog would not be enough to talk about all the comic book variants. Read ahead about some of the most iconic crime-fighting machines in movie history.  

‘Battinson’ Batmobile from Hell¬†

What kind of car is the new 2022 Batmobile? 

Director Matt Reeves decided to go with a more realistic approach in his Batman movie that came out in 2022. So, with a Batcave under an unused subway, he sets up how raw and real he wants his Batman to be at the start of the movie. But boy, the theatre came alive when that mean machine powered up! 

via GIPHY

Robert Pattinson was behind the steering wheel of the ’69 Dodge Charger rear mounted with a jet engine. It was more believable that a muscle car was chosen as Batmobile by Batman, who was in his second year of crime fighting.

This Batmobile featured a Ford Triton V10 engine with 362 horsepower at 4,750 RPM. Apart from this, the car was reinforced with a front bumper that could go through anything literally. Let us wait and see how they take the Batmobile to the next level in the sequel. The answer to ‘What happens when a Dodge Charger is fitted with a jet engine?’ is what you saw on the big screen. ¬†

Christian Bale’s Batmobile: The Tumbler¬†

When Christopher Nolan got his hands on Batman, we got to witness one of the most revolutionary and realistic versions of the hero. With his vision, Christian Bale portrayed the caped crusader for the first time in 2005 in Batman Begins. During one scene in the movie, Bruce Wayne asks Lucius Fox, “What’s that?” to which Lucius replies, “The Tumbler? Oh! You wouldn’t be interested in that.” Behold the Tumbler!¬†

via GIPHY

It was a tank and a mean-looking one, for sure! Under its hood, you will find a 5.7-liter GM engine that can provide 500 hp power. The jet engine at the back is more than enough to propel the car from one roof to another. With a custom-built engine and leaving out the long front nose like its predecessors, the Tumbler was one Batmobile car that made Bruce Wayne ask, “Does it come in black?”. The Tumbler (a few of them) would make a comeback as Bane takes over Gotham in ‘The Dark Knight Rises.’ ¬†

Keaton’s Batmobile¬†

The first time the Gotham vigilante appeared on big screens was in 1989 when Micheal Keaton joined hands with visionary director Tim Burton. One aspect of the movie that was given more than enough attention was the Batmobile itself.  

via GIPHY

The Batmobile was inspired by the land rocket cars, the speed monsters that cruise in the deserts, breaking records. In addition, the car features a grappling gun, two machine guns, Honda Civic headlamps, and Ferrari round tail lights. Also, this Batmobile was the first to have a jet engine. 

Designed by Julian Caldow and production designer Keith Short, the very first movie Batmobile inspired many others who followed. The basic long front hood design and the fins at the back of the car became a trend. After a few years, movies like ‘Batman Forever’ and ‘Batman and Robin’ also made use of these design choices. ‘Batman Returns’ saw the return of the first movie Batmobile. It also made it to the ‘Batman ’89’ limited series comics.

Adam West’s OG Batmobile car

During the 1960s, the caped crusader was the ruler of TV. Thanks to the charismatic Adam West, we saw a version of Batman that was campy, fun, and enjoyable. Unfortunately, since this was one of the earliest live-action adaptations of Gotham’s protector, the Batmobile was also pretty basic.¬†

via GIPHY

A 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car was chosen to represent the most valuable crime-fighting gadgets. Famous designer of Hollywood custom cars- George Barris, used the Lincoln Futura as a base for the Batmobile car to convert it into a simple yet effective machine.  

The OG Batmobile car went on sale in 2013 at an auction for a whopping 4.3 million USD. Now the car driven by Bruce Wayne is under Rick Champagne’s ownership.¬†

Revving Down 

via GIPHY

Apart from these mentioned here, a few honorable mentions include Val Kilmer’s Batmobile and Ben Affleck’s hybrid Batmobile. The latter, which first appeared in ‘Batman vs. Superman,’ combined elements from all previous films. If you are a fan of superhero films, comics, or fiction in general, Batmobile is and always will be one of the most thrilling gadgets ever.

*Disclaimer: The images are for representational purposes only. The actual cars used in movies may be different. 

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