He’s our favorite caped crusader and probably the only guy that gets a free pass to wear tights in public. He’s gone from campy, to bad ass, back to campy and then back to bad ass again and throughout that time his ride of choice, the Batmobile, has done the same. The whole premise of Batman is one that has been done a thousand times over. Take a wealthy philanthropist who wants to fight injustice and make him into a crime fighting vigilante, think of him as a modern day Robin Hood if you will. Batman always had a few things with him to help him fight crime. He had his trusty utility belt, the Batmobile and in some cases Robin, but he was optional so we won’t get into him. The Batmobile however, well now this is something that from day 1 has kicked ass.
Batmobile #1: 1966
Batman first showed up in 1939 but he didn’t really get his whip until 1966 when the original TV show appeared. Batmobile #1 was driven by Adam West and was a pretty trick ride that sported some pretty radical hardware. Based on a 1954 Lincoln Ventura it has a dual bubble canopy, turbine engine, the bat-phone, afterburners and around 1000 hp (estimated of course). It’s the one that started it all and to this day it still draws oohs and aahs from fans around the globe.
Batmobile #2: 1989
In 1989 the Batman franchise was reborn but this time on the big screen, it featured Michael Keaton as the masked man and was directed by Tim Burton. As with all things Tim Burton the new Batmobile had a very industrial and dark feeling to it. It was low-slung and fully enclosed with the turbine engine mounted up front. All in all it was a pretty mean looking machine but at over 20 feet long I can only imagine that it would’ve been a bitch to parallel park.
Batmobile #3: 1995
1995’s Batman Forever featured an entirely new Batmobile and to say it was a complete mess would be an understatement. Designed by Barbara Ling the car was supposed to have a more organic design but instead looked like it was created in NY’s West Village. It had a rib cage, massive ridiculous wings, lights like you’d see on a carnival ride and wheels covered with bat-plates. It was simply horrible, and so unfortunately was the movie. Seriously, Batman must have been totally embarrassed to roll in this thing. Oh yea, Val Kilmer played Batman which also explains a lot.
Batmobile #4: 1997
1997 featured more of a refreshed Batmobile and a new Batman played by George Clooney. Back again was designer Barbara Ling and her new improved mess. Yes, she toned down the massive wings and took the dinner plates off the wheels, but in the end the car was still a complete disaster and unfortunately so was the franchise. 1995-1997 were the dark years for the man in black.
Batmobile #5: 2005
In 2005 the Batman franchise was revived and went in a completely different direction. Gone were any remnants from the comic book and instead we were treated to a dark, almost real life portrayal of what Batman could actually be. Director Chris Nolan also went in a completely different direction with the Batmobile as well. Called the Tumbler, the new Batmobile was designed in the military division of Bruce Wayne’s company and was a purpose built, ass-kicking machine that was like nothing we’d ever seen before. It weighed 2.5 tons, was 9 feet wide, 15 feet long and had a turbine driven engine. It was also matte black which didn’t hurt either. Christian Bale took over as Batman in the new set of films and the Tumbler, well, all we can do is hope that it sticks around for awhile because we like this one.