When the Batman television series premiered in 1966, almost every kid and even most adults watched Batman and Robin fight crime, taking down villains like the Penguin, the Riddler, and the infamous Joker. The Bat Signal would be flashed, or they would get a call and Batman and Robin would spring into action, reporting to the Bat Cave where their preferred method of transportation was kept.
Yes, no other than the iconic Batmobile.When the Batman television series premiered in 1966, almost every kid and even most adults watched Batman and Robin fight crime, taking down villains like the Penguin, the Riddler, and the infamous Joker. The Bat Signal would be flashed, or they would get a call and Batman and Robin would spring into action, reporting to the Bat Cave where their preferred method of transportation was kept.
Yes, no other than the iconic Batmobile. Even today Batman is widely regarded as one of the most beloved superheroes of all time and every kid whether growing up in the 60’s or now, at some point has dreamed of donning that suit and being that fierce caped crusader, piloting the Batmobile and chasing after villains!
All the way from Gotham City to the City of Brotherly Love, on offer is the famed 1966 Batmobile #005. The original Batmobile was designed and built by the famous customizer George Barris, who was also responsible for building the Munster Mobile used in The Munsters and KITT used in Knight Rider.
The original Batmobile utilized a concept car designed by Ford called the Futura as the platform from which Barris constructed the Batmobile. The Futura boasted a futuristic and forward design with a flat body and cabin that was enclosed in glass. With a bit of tweaking and the addition of many items such as the Batray, Batphone, Batram, and rear turbine, the Batmobile was born. After the original Batmobile was constructed, Barris and his team at Barris Kustom City decided to create 3 additional fiberglass replicas of the car using molds they pulled from the original car. Today it is widely recognized among Batmobile experts and aficionados that there is also a 5th Batmobile that was built in period by a Batman enthusiast named Jim Sermersheim. Utilizing a 1958 Thunderbird chassis, Sermersheim built the car from nothing but photos of the original and from watching the TV show. Upon completion, and due to overwhelming demand, Sermersheim showed the car all over the United States and Canada for approximately two years. Around this time George Barris had gotten wind of someone touring an unauthorized and unlicensed Batmobile around the country, which didn’t sit well with him. Ultimately Barris acquired the car from Sermersheim and it became a part of Barris’ Batmobile stable.
It was approved by Barris Kustoms Industry, protected by the design patent Barris had in place for the Batmobile, and it was then recognized and verified by Barris as a genuine Barris Batmobile and it is believed to continue its tour as an official Batmobile to shows across the country. Many years later after sitting in storage and deteriorating for some time #005 was sold by Barris to Mr. Robert Butts, the owner of Fantasy Cars in El Cajon, California. On April 3, 1986 a letter was written from George Barris to Robert Butts stating that the vehicle was recognized as the 5th Batmobile approved by Barris Kustom Industries and protected by a design patent secured by Barris. After purchasing the famed Batmobile, Butts and his team at Fantasy Cars tediously and professionally restored the car back to its former glory. In 1988, the car then changed hands from Butts to the current owner who purchased it for her husband, a huge Batmobile fan, as the ultimate birthday gift.
The history continues and on July 26, 1988 there is a letter written from Barris to the new owner recognizing him taking ownership of the Batmobile from Butts and congratulating him. The very next day, Barris writes another letter regarding the licensing restrictions that revolve around the Batmobile and making note that if the new owner was to show the car outside of his home that he would have to pay a fee to avoid licensing infringement. Batmobile #005 currently shows very well for a 25 plus year old restoration. The black paint still holds a nice shine and the bright orange accents compliment the iconic lines of the car.
There are several small areas where paint has been touched up and there are minor imperfections in various areas but all items are consistent with an older restoration, and it still presents nicely. The most severe of the exterior cosmetics blemishes is a horizontal crack in the paint on the front hood which could be corrected but is not severe enough to immediately tend to it. The front and rear windshields are presentable but seem to have begun separating from the chrome frames slightly. The chrome items on the car which include the windscreen frame, rear exhaust ports (not functional, just for appearance), and wheels are all in good shape with no issues to report. The exterior lights are fully operational including the roof dome light.
The rear turbine looks great but is purely for show and unfortunately does not shoot flames. Moving to the interior, the door jams are presentable, the black seats finished with orange seams are well preserved with no tears or noteworthy flaws. Enter the car, grip the steering wheel, and immediately you feel as though you are Adam West, starring as Batman. Once in the cockpit you are surrounded by a variety of switches, levers, and buttons to operate systems such as the Bat-Ray, Bat-Radar, Bat-Scanner, Bat-Chute, Emergency Bat-Turn Lever, Detect-O-Scope, and of course the Bat-Phone. All the accompaniments one would need for proper superhero crime fighting. The gauges as well as the interior lighting components also are all functional. The carpets featuring the iconic Bat-Logo are also in great shape with no blemishes. Open the hood via the electric motor and it will reveal the 352ci V-8 power plant that produces approximately 250bhp. The engine bay appears correct for a 66’ Batmobile. Any discrepancies will have to be taken up with Batman. The underside is consistent with the rest of the car, showing no signs of significant damage and it is free of any rust.
Mechanically, the car does run and drive however it has spent most of its life on display and has only been driven short distances so a general service and inspection of all systems would be recommended to ensure all items functioning as they should. This is a very rare and unique opportunity to own a stunning piece of automobile and pop culture history. Batmobile #005 comes complete with an extensive history file making it a complete package for display in any museum or collection. This example was approved and owned by George Barris himself, it toured the countryside winning over the hearts of all that saw it, making Batmobile #005 substantially more desirable and an important piece of Batmobile history. Undoubtedly one of the most widely recognized and famous cars in the world it would be welcomed at any show and would make a spectacular addition collection, KA-POW!
- Drive LHD