The 20 Best Batmobiles

by: Esteban On  Tuesday, January 22, 2013

best batmobiles

On Saturday, January 19, 2013, the original working Batmobile from the 1960′s television series sold at auction in Arizona for a whopping $4.6 million. The lucky new owner? A man with the name of a professional wrestler from the 80s: Rick Champaigne. The guy owns a logistics company in Tempe, Arizona, and was not at all embarrassed to have paid that much money for the car. Quite the contrary—he told Speed TV right after the auction that he planned to put the car in his living room.

Anyway, all this got me to thinking. If the Batmobile from the silly, campy 60s TV show got that much money, how much would one of the cool Batmobiles get?

Now, don’t get me wrong, I like the Batmobile from the 60s TV show. After all, without the popularity of that and the show, the Batman franchise wouldn’t be what it is today. But I still don’t think I would put it in my top five.

Who would I put in my top five? Well, I’m not totally sure. But here’s my top 20. Take a look and decide for yourself. They’re in chronological order, starting with the very first Batmobile ever. Take a look.

 

20. The First Batmobile

20 first batmobile detective comics #48 - best batmobiles

Detective Comics #48 (1941)

The first car owned by Batman to be called the Batmobile was this one. It was simply Bruce Wayne’s car (based on a 1936 Cord), because apparently back then people weren’t able to put two and two together (e.g., “huh, Batman and Bruce Wayne drive the same car”). From here it didn’t take long for things to get more creative.

 

19. The Bat Head Batmobile

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Batman #5 (1941)

Pretty much as soon as they started calling Batman’s ride “the Batmobile,” they realized, hey, this guy shouldn’t be driving around in any old car. So artist Jerry Robinson came up with this—the first unique batmobile.

 

18. The Bubble Dome Batmobile

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Comic Books (1958)

By the 1950s, Batman’s ride had become more futuristic…hence this car, which looks like something George Jetson would drive.

 

17. Batman's Roadster

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Batman #164 (1964) 

This Batmobile from 1964 was the first of the smaller, sportier Batmobiles. It was supposedly inspired by the 1950s Corvettes and the Porsche 356.

 

16. The Coloring Book Batmobile

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The Batman Coloring Book (1966)

An official Batman coloring book was released as part of the marketing campaign for the 1966 TV series, and it included an entirely original take on the Batmobile—which probably wouldn’t be all that interesting if not for the fact that it seems to have inspired the Pontiac Firebirds that came out two decades later.

 

15. The HOLY BATMOBILE! Batmobile

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Batman the TV Series (1966)

For the campy TV series starring Adam West, legendary car designer George Barris took a 1955 Lincoln Futura (a concept car) and turned it into this. Then they took molds of the new body and made duplicates.

Of course, it’s the original that sold for $4.6 million.

 

14. The Superfriends Batmobile

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Superfriends Cartoon Series (1973)

When Batman teamed up with Superman, Aquaman, and Wonder Woman for the Superfriends series, he got a new car. It was pretty much based on the Batmobile from the TV show, but simplified (in a good way) for the purposes of animation.

 

13. The Challenge of the Superfriends Batmobile

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Challenge of the Superfriends Cartoon Series (1978)

The spinoff/new version of Superfriends saw Batman get a sleeker, updated version of his classic car. Apparently this would could dodge boulders.

 

12. The Dark Knight's Tankmobile

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The Dark Knight Returns Graphic Novel (1986)

In the mid-80s, Batman got serious again. The Dark Knight series by Frank Miller took place in a dystopian future, inspired (in part) the Christopher Nolan film trilogy, and featured Batman’s most ridiculous vehicle yet: a tank.

 

11. The Matchbox Batmobile

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Detective Comics #589 (1988)

The Batmobile that debuted in Detective Comics #589 looked a lot like your Matchbox Car, and it had some features that inspired a number of future designs. For example, there’s the sliding cockpit window (which is a main feature of the next entry) and the enclosed wheels (which we’ll kind of see in #7).

 

10. Michael Keaton's Batmobile

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Batman the Motion Picture (1989)

Tim Burton’s dark and surreal Batman films definitely produced one of the most iconic and best-loved Batmobiles. (Though, does that jet turbine on the front look like a dong to anyone else, or is it just me?)

 

9. The Batman Animated Series Batmobile

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Batman: the Animated Series (1992)

On the heels of Tim Burton’s huge success, the first serious animated Batman TV series came out in 1992. And in that series, Batman had a pretty awesome Batmobile that was part old-school, part new-school.

 

8. The Batman Forever Batmobile

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Batman Forever (1994)

When Joel Schumacher took over the Batman franchise for 1994′s Batman Forever, things got a lot more colorful. The Batmobile was no exception.

 

7. The Snakemobile

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Batman #503 (1994)

Despite the fact that this comic book Batmobile looks more like a cobra than a bat, I still really like it. It’s one of the less derivative designs on the list.

 

6. The New Batman Adventures Batmobile

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The New Batman Adventures Animated TV Series (1995)

After the successful run of Batman: The Animated Series, they went right back at it with The New Adventures of Batman. And for that series, they created one of the best Batmobiles of all time…in my humble opinion, of course.

 

5. The Batman & Robin Batmobile

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Batman & Robin (1997)

This may have be the worst of the recent Batman films, but the Batmobile was pretty cool.

Well, it was cool as long as it wasn’t lit up.

4. The Christian Bale Batmobile

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Batman Begins (2005)

The Tumbler, introduced in Christopher Nolan’s first Batman flick, was the first Batmobile in a long time not to feature a bat motif—no wings, no logos, nothing.

Of course, all he did was prove less is more. Or, actually, that more is more—this was the most functional, high-performance Batmobile ever.

 

3. The Pointy Batmobile

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Detective Comics #823 (2006)

This 2006 comic version of the Batmobile doesn’t impress like the other ones we’ve seen since the turn of the milennium. In fact, it’s the most normal-looking car Batman has driven in years. However, it’s still pretty sharp.

 

2. The Muscle Car Batmobile

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Detective Comics #841 (2008)

In 2008, Batman got a purple ride that looks a bit like one of Chevy’s new Cameros.

I must say, it’s pretty awesome.

 

1. The Video Game Batmobile

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The Arkham Asylum Video Game (2009)

Who would have thought 20 years ago that video games would come so far? Back then a Batmobile would have been a little black box that spews out crappy 8-bit sound. Today it’s this beauty, clearly inspired by the 1989 movie Batmobile, but with some original touches like that kickass grill.

 

Special thanks to batmobilehistory.comIf you liked this list and want to learn more about Batmobiles through the years, you should definitely check this site out.

 





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