Original Batmobile Will Go on the Auction Block in January

By Peter Valdes-Dapena

NEW YORK -- The Batmobile used in the 1960s "Batman" TV series is expected to go up for auction in January, the Barrett Jackson auto auction house said Thursday.

The car could sell for millions, said Craig Jackson, chief executive of the auction firm.

Some particularly iconic TV and movie cars have gone for very high prices. For example, a highly modified 1964 Aston Martin DB5 used in James Bond films sold $4.6 million in 2010.

But Hollywood cars don't always command such high prices. Often there are multiple versions created for different types of shots and for promotional use, making it hard to to say that one car is definitively "the car."

Unlike most TV show cars, the Batmobile really is a singular creation. While there have been many imitations, this really is the only original.

The Batmobile started life as the Ford (F) 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car which, itself, was based on a Lincoln Mark II. Besides its pearl white paint job, the Futura actually looked very much like the Batmobile it would become over a decade later.

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Famed car customizer George Barris -- also known for creating the Munster Koach for "The Munsters" and Clampett's car for "The Beverly Hillbillies" -- was tasked with creating the Batmobile in 1966. With a tight deadline, he decided that modifying the Futura, rather than starting from scratch, was the way to go.

On television the Batmobile's technology allowed it to shoot flames, squirt oil and shoot tire slashers, but the car is not actually designed to do any of that.

Barris has been the sole owner of the Batmobile since he created it for the TV show.

Unlike the Bond Aston Martin's multi-million dollar price tag, Jonathan Klinger, with the collector car insurance firm Hagerty Insurance, thinks the Batmobile will probably sell for a few hundred thousand dollars. The trouble, he said, is that there are so many very good Batmobile replicas around.

The only thing that makes this one unique is that it's the authentic original, but hardly anyone would be able to tell that by looking at it. Very good replicas can sell for under $100,000.

"I could be wrong," said Klinger. "I'll bet George Barris hopes I'm dead wrong."

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In an interview with CNNMoney, Barris said he has been offered large sums for the car in the past but he's never considered selling before. He agreed to sell this time, he said, because he thought it was time to move the car out of his studio and put it someplace where more people could enjoy it.

Excellent replicas of rare and desirable cars like Plymouth Hemi 'Cudas and Shelby Mustangs often sell for fractions of what real ones sell for, Jackson said.

"It's just a matter of where you put the commas and the decimals," he said. "They all slide over for the real thing.

IN PHOTOS: The Original Batmobile

The History of the Batmobile

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I hate to break it to you but driving it won't make you Batman.

December 01 2012 at 10:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
welcome butch

no room for air looms when theres millions to be made
greed works

November 30 2012 at 9:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If Archie Bunker's chair can be in the Smithsonian...surely there is room for the Batmobile.

November 30 2012 at 7:02 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Phil Collins

Holy Twinkies -Bat Man their repossessing our Hoochie !

November 30 2012 at 6:42 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Very disappointed. When I see a headline touting the upcoming sale of the "original Batmobile", I'm expecting to see the real one Batman had, not some TV fake.

November 30 2012 at 6:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Where do you put your golf clubs?

November 30 2012 at 2:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The thing with this car is you are getting two cars wrapped into the history of one...both an earlier concept vehicle and the 60's era Batmobile. Many concept vehicles end up later being destroyed ( not all, but many ). Here, a huge amount of the lines ( including the double bubble canopy ) of the Futura still exist. Then you have the history of it's comic book character past. 2 for the price of one. I wouldn't be surprised if Jay Leno steps up to the plate for his collection.

November 30 2012 at 12:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to HAT1701D's comment

It should go to a museam, not a private collection, so that everyone can enjoy it.

November 30 2012 at 2:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It cannot compare to Bond DB5, but that would sure look good in my Bat-Garage at my Bat-Cave.
Who owns it now?

November 29 2012 at 8:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

A car is something that you can drive. Who needs a lifesize Matchbox Car.

November 29 2012 at 8:03 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dvdfrnzwbr's comment

The car can be driven... A full chassis restoration, minor adjustments to the suspension geometry, a three link package for the rear, some Koni shocks, and this thing would be a hoot to drive for not a lot of effort.

November 30 2012 at 7:32 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
In My Opinion Only

Awwwww. this is a piece of History. too bad the owner cannot keep it forever as "life's soooo short."

November 29 2012 at 5:07 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply