Holy bat auctions! One of the most iconic television cars of all time is up for sale.
The only 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car, heavily modified by legendary customiser George Barris to become the original 1966 Batmobile in the live action TV series Batman as well as the movie adaptation, will go to auction on January 19, 2013.
The original Batmobile has been a part of Barris' personal collection since he first bought it from the Ford Motor Company for a dollar in 1965.
The auction, in Scottsdale, Arizona, will mark the first time the car has gone up for sale since then.
The 5.8-metre long, two-seat, bubble-topped grand touring car prototype was hand-built in 1954 by Ghia Body Works in Turin, Italy, and unveiled in its original pearlescent Frost-Blue white paint finish in 1955 at the Chicago Auto Show.
At the time, the car featured instruments housed in the steering wheel, as well as a push-button transmission, exterior microphones to pick up and transmit the sounds of traffic to the occupants inside, and a host of other innovative devices.
According to several reports, it was described as a "rolling laboratory" from which Ford would learn about new technology to apply to their production automobiles. In 1959, sporting a fresh red paint job, the Futura was featured in the film, It Started with a Kiss, starring Debbie Reynolds and Glenn Ford.
Barris then acquired the vehicle and kept it in his garage for several years. In late 1965, Barris was asked to produce a Batmobile for the upcoming TV series. With only 15 days and US$15,000 budget, Barris decided to transform the Lincoln Futura into what is now widely recognised as the original and iconic crime-fighting vehicle.
The car features a 390-in 1956 Lincoln V8 engine and hydro automatic transmission. Gadgets include a nose-mounted aluminum Cable Cutter Blade, Bat Ray Projector, Anti-Theft Device, Detect-a-scope, Batscope, Bat Eye Switch, Antenna Activator, Police Band Cut-In Switch, Automatic Tyre Inflation Device, Remote Batcomputer, the Batphone, Emergency Bat Turn Lever, Anti-Fire Activator, Bat Smoke, Bat Photoscope, and many other Bat gadgets. If needed, the Batmobile was capable of a quick 180 degree "bat-turn" thanks to two rear-mounted ten-foot Deist parachutes.
- © Fairfax NZ News