The original Batmobile from the 1960s television series starring Adam West as the Caped Crusader sold at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Phoenix, Arizona, on Saturday for $4.62 million. The iconic vehicle was created from the 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car by car customizing pioneer George Barris who also made the Munsters Koach and the Beverly Hillbillies truck.
“Barris told Reuters he had supplied vehicles for movies and television shows before, but this one had to be markedly different than the others.
“With every pow, bang, wow, wee, I wanted the car to do something just like the actors,” said Barris, 87, in an interview before the auction. “The car had to be a star on its own. And it became one.”
The star car has been in his possession since before it was a Batmobile. He was working with Ford in the early 60s and they sold it to him for a token $1. This is the first time it’s ever been sold outside of that handshake agreement.
George Barris and his family accompanied the Batmobile onto the stage while the show’s theme song played in the background. The audience started signing it while the bids got higher and higher. There was a reserve price set for the car, but neither Barris nor the auctioneers announced it publicly. All we know is it was in the multi-million dollar range, not that there was much of a chance of the Batmobile not reaching the minimum. Interest was astronomical and bidding fierce. Finally the hammer fell at $4.2 million for a total of $4.62 million including buyer’s premium.
The total cost ties the record for the highest price paid for a movie car at auction. James Bond’s 1964 Aston Martin DB5 driven by Sean Connery in Goldfinger sold for $4.6 million in 2010.
The buyer, for once not anonymous, is Champagne, Rick Champagne, a Phoenix-area business man who has been a fan of the show since he was a boy. He had a toy model Batmobile then. He’s got the real thing now.
“I really liked Batman growing up and I came here with the intention of buying the car,” Champagne, 56, told Reuters in a brief interview moments after he bought the car. “Sure enough, I was able to buy it. That was a dream come true.”
When asked where he’s going to keep it, Champagne replied “in the living room. I’m going to tear down a wall and put in my living room.” Which doesn’t sound at all weird to me, even if he meant it as a joke. As long as your living room has some kind of ramp to the outdoors, that is, because this car is street legal and you’d be insane not to drive it.
Watch the entire auction spectacle as it went down on this video starting around the 27 second mark: