Come on, Robin, to the Bat Cave! There's not a moment to lose!
In 1966 The first full-length theatrical adaptation of the DC Comics character Batman was Released by 20th Century Fox. It was based on the TV series and also stared Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin. Of course the film also stared the Batmobile.
The original Batmobile was built by George Barris and originated as a one off Lincoln Futura concept car. The Futura was a futuristic concept car hand built in Turin, Italy at a cost of $250,000. Most show cars of the time were usually forgotten or destroyed. However the Futura was sold to Barris for the tidy sum of $1.00 and "other valuable consideration"t; by Ford Motor Company.
Because Barris only had 3 weeks to build the car, he decided it would be easier to transform the Lincoln into the Batmobile instead of building a car from scratch. The build was reported to cost $30,000 and the car made its television debut on January 12, 1966. In November of 2012 George Barris announce the sale of the Batmobile at the Barret-Jackson auction and it sold on January 19, 2013 for $4.2 million.
Recently I was browsing on cannadianrodder.com when i came across an introduction post by Morgan Lachmanec. It caught my attention because he displayed a picture that was not just a hot rod lincoln, but a 1976 Lincoln transformed into a 1966 Batmobile. When I saw Morgan was from Duncan I thought the car would make an excellent article here on VIHR.
Morgan was bit by the customizing bug when he was young. Weekends were spent at the dump looking for bicycles that could be brought home and repaired or customized. When he was 12 he purchased his first Hot Rod magazine. Within a couple of years he had his first project car, a beat up 1957 210 four door. He never got the 210 on the road, but only because it was replaced by a 1957 Bel Air when he was 16. It took him 4 years to complete the restoration and the car has been driven and enjoyed for many miles. Many cars have come and gone since then, but he still has the Bel Air after more than 20 years.
His hobby of restoring cars was an excellent education which helped him land his first job as an automotive technician at the local GM Dealer. Shortly after he went out on his own and started Artisan Automotive. And the rest is history.
Morgan set out to build a 1966 Batmobile in 2004. It is a replica of the one built by George Barris and is not a kit, but a build from scratch project. His most ambitious project to date. The car has earned him respect from some of the top replica builders in his field. For four yeas he balanced family and earning a living while he worked on the car.
The Batmobile is powered by a 1999 Mustang GT 4.6l with a 5 speed transmission. The firewall, floor pan and fuel tank also came from the same Mustang. So this bat has a bit of an equestrian side as well.
A mold was constructed to form the fiberglass for the sides of the car. Once one side was done the mold was taken apart and all the features were reversed to make a mirror image for the other side.
Next came a lot of filing and blocking to get the panels straight and smooth. As we all know if there are any imperfections, a black car will expose it once it is painted. Notice that initially the wheel arches were not fabricated. This was to be sure the body lines were perfect first.
By far the most challenging part of the build was the glass canopies. Even with all the research and planning that was done before any actual hands on work began, Morgan was still faced with a bit of what is commonly referred to as "cut and try engineering" . The front canopy mold has been modified once and the rear is up for it's second mod. Even with the best molds there are many other things that have to be just right in order to get a good part.
Of course there were many other details and fabrication challenges that had to be overcome. By focusing on one at a time and a lot of perseverance, over time the car began to take shape.
Morgan's car has been described as incredible, surpassing other replicas that have sold for more money. His attention to detail is fanatical. There are many details on this car that are exact to the original Batmobile, which most other replica cars do not have.