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Friday, November 15, 2013

YES I "MODIFIED" THE BATMOBILE! PART 1

I think my favorite tv/movie car in the world is the 1966 and in my mind the only Batmobile! Yes for 47 years this car has remained in the spotlight, NO actually it has been in the spotlight for 58 years now!! You question the Batmobile was around in 1955, 11 years before its debut as the crime fighters wheels spoofing the fictional city of Gotham? Just a brief diversion from our main topic of the 66 Batmobile for a few seconds.Not counting comic book cars there were a few pre-66 Batmobiles. I will start with the 1949 Mercury seen in the weekly serial installments where Batman and Robin fought the Wizard, the top went up and no one knew who Batman and Robin were, even though the car was parked in front of the Wayne family home all the time!! We were a little easier back then and able to imagine a little bit more! There also was a Cadillac prior, but we will start here.
In 1964 Batman and Robin Ice Cream hired this custom car to promote the treat all over the 3 state area!
Please fast forward to February 2013 because the car has been restored!
Blog will be up by the end of 2/2014
This 1964 custom Batmobile was used to promote Batman & Robin Ice Cream and fruit drink products before the TV show was released, and is likely the first car ever to be called the Batmobile. Following the silly price paid for the first TV car in Arizona, it is no surprise to see cars like this suddenly on offer in its wake.Showed up on eBay in Ocala, Florida with a $20k opening bid.The photo above in color is said to be from 1964, with the builder’s wife at left. The seller claims that this car was used in 1964 and 1965, and the TV show didn’t appear until 1966. Does this matter? Probably not, as this car doesn't look anywhere near as cool as the 1966 creation, but it is still an interesting footnote. The car was built in New Hampshire by Forrest Robinson, and the seller has interviewed the builder extensively, who is still alive.All-Star Dairies was the user of the vehicle. Do any of you blogsters remember these products on the shelves in the 60s?
The car is based on an Oldsmobile chassis and is currently a rolling project. The doors slide into the fiberglass body like a Kaiser Darrin, and power comes from an 1957-ish V8.
The 1964 Batmobile sold on ebay recently for $20,000 and is being restored.I just uncovered more about the car so lets divert a little again. Quoted= "This car was hand built by a gentleman in New Hampshire, as stated, from 1961 to 1963 in his garage. He bought a mid 1950s rolling Oldsmobile chassis, then preceded to build his own fiberglass mold, and pull this body off as a plug! The 2 flat tails look like that of a 1959 Chevy. For the windshield he used a mid 1950’s Buick one turned upside down! In 1964 he was in the US Army and was on tour with his wife and this car, in North Carolina. The executives at All Star Dairy, a national dairy co-op, still in business in Louisville, Kentucky, approached the owner about leasing the car from him for 2 years, and painting and badging it as the All Star Dairy Batmobile. All Star Dairy had a legal agreement with National Periodic Publications, which owned and still owns D.C. Comics, and thus Batman and Robin, Superman, etc. to manufacture and sell Batman dairy products. Remember this was the height of the Batman craze! In fact all of the Batman drinks, milk, ice cream and promotional buttons I have collected, and come with the car, have “Copyright 1966, National Periodical Publications ” printed on them.No the car was not licensed by D.C. Comics, but Batman dairy products were licensed by D.C. Comics to be promoted by All Star Dairy, and All Star Dairy leased this car as their Batmobile for 2 years. See attached newspaper article from a Keene N.H. newspaper around 1966.The original owner kept the car for several years after getting it back from All Star Dairy, then sold it to a gentleman also in N.H. there it languished until going to Chicago, and now to me in Ocala, Fla. I was able to buy all of the Batman promo items that come with the car off of Ebay. The car needs a full restoration but is in very straight and nice original condition. The wheels are later mags and need to be replaced with 1950s wheels and hubcaps. The fiberglass body is exceptionally straight and 99% complete. The metal parts have only minor surface rust. The running gear is stock circa 1957 V8. Olds. Thus parts are no problem and this car should fly! A windshield from a mid 1950s Buick should be an easy find. The other main thing missing is the three adult wide passenger seat. The builder told me to make the seat, he merely took a 3 inch cardboard tube, put it at the back of the seating area, high back, then put another cardboard tube and placed it right under your knees, as if you were sitting in the car. Then he draped fiberglass cloth over the 2, put resin on the cloth, and it set up as the seat! Then he put cushions on it. The photo of the car in its original purple came from the builder. That’s his wife in front of it in N. Carolina in 1964, right when they leased it to All Star Dairy. The doors slide into the body like a Kaiser Darrin. The car is WIDE at 83 inches, and is 210 inches long. The body will unbolt off the frame easily, and thus you have full access to the running gear, frame, motor and trans, etc. and ease to restore the body. This would be an AMAZING piece restored and shown or be the focal point of a collection of museum. The radical 3 tailed back with light up fins is a show stopper!" Thanks go to George Albright for putting together the story and sharing the photos. Much appreciated George!
George recently sold the car and it is heading out west to begin restoration and repair in the very near future. Hopefully, we’ll get some “in process” photos from the new owner and we might even be able to debut their final restoration.
This is an ironic coincidence? A crazy customized car is spotted and a contract signed to lease the car and promote Batman and Robin (ice cream)!! Over the years since Bob Kane, comic book artist created The Batman many variations of a vehicle were penciled into the crime fighting duties of our hero, but this car was the first one of flesh and blood, well fiberglass and steel really! He also created another famous crime fighter comic hero! We never got this one to the iconic state of the Batman and no one claimed the CATMOBILE as their own!! Is that the Cat Cave?
Welcome to the future > 1966, whoa hold on there! Quick to the time machine!
Bet you did not see that one coming! I am not only person taking poetic license in this saga!
STAY TUNED VIEWERS SAME BAT TIME SAME BAT CHANNEL!!

5 comments:

  1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BdxFSCgRAeM

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  2. Sidney I am thrilled that you contacted me not only because it means the blog is spreading! I have a great affection for cars like this and very glad you are restoring it! Please keep me advised on the progress, a little surprised the path you took, but like it!

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  3. Here is an article we published in Wikipedia including a snapshot from the original builder's wife that was sent to us showing what the car looked like back in the day when DC Comic Book licensee All Star Dairies used it.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batmobile#Animation
    We had to make a few minor changes to the body because of some structural damage but generally tried to keep as close to what it was back in the day. We decided that black was so irresistible for this car that we just had to do it instead of the purple it used to be.
    Here is a nice shot of the car with stock 1956 Oldsmobile hubcaps

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcs9MvxA14w&feature=youtu.be

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  4. Sidney I want to eventually do an update blog on the restoration and completion of the car. email me at gs1roadie (at) gmail.com.

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