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Sunday, November 17, 2013


Yes I said R.I.P. Futura and technically after it was sold she was a gonna! Remember this photo from part 1?
Looks like a I screwed up and left out the 1954 Batmobile from a movie! Built from a 1950 Lincoln Cosmopolitan (maybe not a Lincoln, have to email the guy that reported its origin)
Nah this was a hoax and there is no evidence of a 1954 Batman movie ever made! An entire elaborate story followed the car, but it is nothing more than a well done custom! As I looked at the car I realized I have seen something like it at the Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley NC (feature ahead about that treasure trove!) My eye says this is a slightly modified 1949 Veritas sports car, very rare. Appears the nose was shortened and Caddy bits and pieces added with a new windshield, wheel wells opened, sound familiar? BMW powered car. What do you think? Again this mirrors the Futura/Batmobile journey as a concept/custom car gets a slight rework and has a new identity!
Oddly enough the 51 Buick LeSabre concept car of Harley Earl that I saw August at the GM Heritage Center shares much of the same tail design as the Veritas, be clear its a Veritas not a Buick!
Now lets look and compare the Futura with the Batmobile?
Lets look some more?
Tell me more you say? I just noticed the front and rear lower treatments on the 66 Batmobile were actually "inspired" from the 64 Batmobile!
More? Who actually reworked the Futura into the Batmobile? If I bought the Chrysler Building am I now the designer? Check out , many "facts" were taken from that great site! George Barris with Gale Black, Bill Cushenbery, Richard "Korky" Korkes, Les Tompkins & Roy "Tubs" Johnson and also? Herb Grasse (designer of the Bricklin) also claims some hand in this? My question is really several, with so many hands in the car from Futura days to Batmobile can one man claim stake to its creation? Production artist Eddie Graves at 20th Century Fox designed the Batmobile and gave the sketch to George Barris. Put money aside and was it a wise decision to destroy the Futura? Look carefully and notice the major modifications are, wheel wells opened up and flared blended into original body line. Bulge on hood extended and headlamp visors reworked. Fins extended on to doors. lower nose reshaped and dito for the tail. Center bubble canopy discarded and a bunch of bat "stuff" installed.Bill Cushenbery reworked the hood, opened up the wheel wells, modified and scalloped the rear fins. Gale Black customized the front saw blade, rocket tubes, and orange driving light. Richard "Korky" Korkes customized a 5 gallon paint can into the rear turbine exhaust. Herb Grasse painted and pinstriped the metal bat-spinners.The name Bill Cushenbery (below) familiar? Future blog updates will feature all the famous old skool customizers!
Just as an example take Darryl Starbird's Predicta (below) which was made from a wrecked 56 T'Bird! Quite an impressive job, huh? I recently visited his Rod and Custom Hall of Fame at his home in Oklahoma so look for the blog on this KING of Customizers!
In the right place right time and a concept car becomes an icon and builds a fortune and empire for the self proclaimed king of kustomizers, George Barris! Can not say Mr. Barris was not smart because he had this done, Ford on the other hand?? That $1 they collected on a one off concept car has earned a fortune and recently was sold again for 4.2 million! There is a renewed interest in the concept cars that survived and they are starting to get that kind of money, but is it hard to accept the original car is lost forever inside the Batmobile although not that far away as seen in the photos above. When the show and the car became a hit it was clear they needed more Batmobiles so molds were made to make fiberglass replicas.Be clear here only 3 copies were made by Barris,the original Futura based Batmobile will always be #1, #2 a back up for filming, #3 was an executive promo car that toured the country and displayed at car shows etc...#4 was a big block drag race exhibition car piloted by "Wild Bill" Shrewsberry. The three replicas #2,3 AND 4 are all based on a 1965–1966 Ford Galaxie. The car that became replica #5 was discovered by a friend of Barris ( built from a '58 Ford Thunderbird by Jim Sermersheim) and confiscated by Marshalls! It then became the 4th replica of the group and Batmobile #5 officially.Bob Butts was authorized to make replica Batmobile bodies and in the strangest of all tales Mr. Butts brought the movie era Futura back to life using a reverse modified Batmobile!
Holy illustration Batman! In the Simpsons tv Cartoon Adam West does a cameo driving a rather run down Batmobile and if I remember correctly as Bart meets Adam West he asks "who the hell is Robin?" when Mr. West feels the need to prove he is Batman by pulling a photo of the dynamic duo out of his pocket!
One other progression was the emblems or crests associated with the car - Ghia had used one emblem and I guess the Futura Crest evolved from that idea, curious that Barris Kustoms also developed a crest!
The #1 Barris-built Batmobile, built from the original 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car was purchased by Richard Champagne of Auwatukee, Arizona at the Barrett-Jackson Auction in January 2013 for $4,620,000. THAT IS 4.6 MILLION! The #2 Barris-built Batmobile is owned by Dr. Anderson, Virginia, and has not been repaired or restored. Original purchase price was $225,000. The #3 Barris-built Batmobile was purchased and restored by Mr. Dennis M Danzik of Paradise Valley, Arizona. It was reportedly purchased for $600,000. Danzik also owns the majority of the Warner Brothers 1989 Batmobile. The #4 Barris-built Batmobile is owned by Mr. Doug Jackson, and is located in Southern California. The so-called #5 Batmobile, originally built by Bob Butts, is owned by George Barris and is located in Southern California.Some candid and maybe unseen photos and even a mock up to build the batcave and the batcave itself, at least the entrance we saw!
I hope this trilogy was informative and hopefully a definitive account of the most famous BATMOBILE? Riddle me this, when are 5 BATMOBILES more than a dozen? I think we need a BATMOBILE registry to figure out how many accurate replicas have been made. STAY TUNED SAME BAT TIME SAME BAT CHANNEL!


  1. All are looking very good and i like your post very much.

    Vintage Cars in Jaipur | Vintage Cars

  2. Wow great to hear from an auto enthusiast in a far off land!! United Restorations, I assume is your business, looks great.E-mail me if you have any museums or events you would like me to feature!