Holy Car Show Batman - It's the Batmobile!
I was recently given the opportunity to meet the man who created one of the most famous cars in history...the Batmobile. The man behind the car is none other than George Barris, and I met him when he brought the Batmobile to the British Columbia Classic and Custom Car Show.
Being an avid collector of toys, especially Batman items, this was a dream come true.
(The good looking gentleman with the goatee in the pictures is the official toy collector - I am merely the author.)
His, (the official toy collector,) company was one of the main sponsors of the show, and when we found out that the original Batmobile was going to be making an appearance, we had to attend.
George Barris built a total of three cars for the 1966 television series, and the one pictured here is the original. The others that followed looked the same, and had the same features, with small updates for functionality for the television series. If you were to watch every episode that was produced, you might be able to spot the differences, but I don't know for sure.
It was interesting hearing the history of the vehicle and how it had been built.
It was exciting to be on the inside, watching people flock to the booth to catch a glimpse of an icon, and meet the man who created it.
I was invited to assist Mr. Barris with the running of the booth, photo ops, autographs and poster requests, plus I had the opportunity to get to know the man behind the car. It was an incredibly busy day, and a surprising amount of work, but well worth it.
Mr. Barris spends a lot of time traveling to and from Classic Car shows across the country to display his Batmobile, and confided that some of the parts used to make the car appear high-tech were manufactured using unorthodox materials and ideas.
The finished vehicle took an amazingly short amount of time to build, (I believe he said it was a matter of weeks,) and has since become the blueprint for all the cars that followed.
As you can see from the picture, even Batgirl made an appearance! It isn't everyday you get to meet a real, live crime-fighter!
The chance to photograph the Batmobile up close and personal was too good to pass up!
If you look carefully at the interior, you will see placards explaining several features that Batman and Robin used on their daily crime-fighting exploits. This little gizmo in the front is the Bat Radar.
(You might need to click on the enlarge feature in order to read the placards.)
Ever wonder how Batman managed to make those impressively sharp corners and fast 'U'turns when chasing down his opponents?
These little gems were considered cutting edge technology in 1966, and the Daring Duo couldn't have foiled their arch-nemesis without them.
Here you can see the switches for the anti theft device (another cutting edge technology for 1966,) bat siren, after burner, bat parachutes, ejection seats, and batphone. This vehicle was ahead of it's time, and equipped with everything the crime-fighting team needed to catch their quarry.
It is amazing to think that this Batmobile was built in a matter of weeks, using ordinary equipment, special effects that could be purchased at any auto supply store and came out looking this high tech - a miracle of automotive ingenuity - especially considering this was all done for a television show in 1966!
Check out the Batman behind the wheel!
Batman finally made an appearance, to the delight of Mr. Barris, and cameras appeared as if by magic. Hundreds of people flocked to the booth for a chance to meet the Cowled Crusader and take his picture to document the event! (Some of us even got his autograph!)
I remember strolling through the crowd after he had left, and overhearing snippets of conversations from disappointed patrons who had missed the opportunity of seeing Batman. Several people, seeing the Fix Auto shirt stopped me to ask if Batman was still around as they wanted pictures!
There were many changes made to the Batmobile over the years as other depictions of the Caped Crusader emerged onto the silver screen, but none are as memorable as this one.