DVICE honours its ‘Superhero Week’, by presenting the 14 of Batman’s greatest Batmobiles of all times, with the valuable help of Batmobile History. Here goes!
1941: Detective Comics #48 Believe it or not, the first official Batmobile wasn’t a super-tricked out rocket-boosting car with the blackest black paint money could buy. The first time the term “Batmobile” was mentioned was in Detective Comics, when it was a red sedan convertible with a gold bat ornament. Red’s not exactly the stealthiest color car to be driving around town, but it does denote speed like no other. Which is perfect, as Batmobiles are known for being super fast, red or no.
1943: Batman Dailies Bob Kane’s Batmobile for the daily Batman comics was certainly a different take on the minimalist original red car. Although it wasn’t the first Batmobile to place the Batman faceplate strikingly on its front bumper (that was Batman #5, designed by Jerry Robinson), Kane’s car upgraded Robinson’s 1941 Batmobile with a more prominent bat fin that would later on be used in future Batmobile designs to indicate the strength and speed of Gotham’s hero.
1950: Detective Comics #156 After the destruction of his previous ride chasing off hoodlums, Batman’s new Batmobile was considered to be 10 years ahead of every other vehicle available at the time. This new Studebaker Batmobile started to pack in the gadgets with a searchlight on its roof that doubled as a Bat Signal projector, rocket thrusters and built-in TV and radar displays. The resemblance to the 1943 Batmobile isn’t just a cosmetic throwback. See that sharp Batman faceplate? It was designed like that for smashing through barriers.
1966: Batman TV Series Modeled after Ford’s Futura, the TV Series’ Batmobile remains one of the most popular ones ever, mostly in part due to its rockets, lasers, radar, onboard computers, telephone and even a chain slicer. With groovy red accents and fins that meshed perfectly with Batman’s cheesy image (at the time), this Batmobile was definitely a product of the ’60s.
1989: Batman / Batman Returns Arguably, the most iconic Batmobile to ever exist, this demon created for Tim Burton’s two Batman movies was a complete re-imagining of the caped crusader’s speedster. Noticeably absent are any Bat-logos. Instead, the entire car is centered around the front jet turbine intake and rear rocket booster. Packed to the brims with new tech like CD recorders, voice recognition, grappling hook launchers, machine guns, smoke emitters and oil slick dispensers, Burton’s Batmobile was a technical beast that oozed of top-secret military-grade weaponry. It even had a “Batmissile” mode for emergencies, where the entire car’s shell could be shed for near-death escapes.
1992: Batman: The Animated Series Boxy and elongated, but not without a few curves here and there, just like the art style for the cartoon series, this Batmobile didn’t shy away from its unachievable-in-real-life features. It had so many gadgets including wheels that could slash other cars, missiles, tear gas & oil dispensers and reversible jet engines that it could only be possible in the fictional world of animation. Nonetheless, The Animated Series Batmobile was a brilliant reflection of Bruce Wayne’s calm facade during the day and badass crime fighter traits by night.
1995: Batman Forever There’s only one way to describe this Batmobile designed by Barbara Ling: batty. Considered to be somewhat of a devolution of Tim Burton’s sleek, weapon of death Batmobile, Ling’s design focused on making a more “organic” vehicle, hence the car’s exposed ribs and fins. On a cooler note, Batman’s new ride lit up with a slick blue glow. You definitely can’t accuse this car for not looking “alive.”
1997: Batman & Robin Returning for round two, Barbara Ling refined her Batmobile from Batman Forever with design cues reminiscent of a long drag race car. Hoping for a larger on-screen presence, this Batmobile measured 30-feet long and could hit speeds of 140 miles per hour. Even though it still maintained its organic and exposed aesthetic (with even more glowing lights in red orange and yellow), Ling’s second stab at the Batmobile kept the on-board gadgets and tech at a bare minimum.
1997: The New Adventures of Batman & Robin Picking up where The Animated Series left off two years prior, this Batmobile ditched the boxy and elongated design in favor for a more edgy two-passenger coupe. Extremely minimal in design, Batman and Robin’s ride was like Speed Racer’s Mach 5, a racing champ.
1999: Batman Beyond Set in the future of 2019, Batman’s car can easily be mistaken to be a Batjet/wing/plane because it doesn’t have wheels — it flies. Being too old to fight off the baddies in the new Gotham, Bruce Wayne hung up his cape and took in an apprentice to be the new Batman: young Terry McGinnis. Naturally, being a Batmobile in the 21st-century, Batman’s Batmobile can zip around at Mach 3 speeds, shoot grappling hooks, fire weapons and has an array of on-board computers. Is it fair to call this a Batmobile when it doesn’t hit the pavement? Why not?
2004: The Batman Looking very cartoony, Batman’s “fatmobile” was the Lamborghini of Batmobiles. Combining sharp looks, with high-tech weaponry, Batman could easily cruise around Gotham, smashing through obstacles and breaking shins. Don’t let it’s young looks fool you, it’s design is the culmination of over 60 years worth of Batmobile history. Everything from its rear fins to its grills, rocket boosters and blue accented glowing lights are inspired from the old Batmobiles and we’re happy to say it looks hot!
2005/2008: Batman Begins / The Dark Knight The Tumbler. Along with the reboot of the Batman movies, Christopher Nolan’s Tumbler Batmobile was a complete 180 from what everybody had come to know and love from the Batmobile. Instead of sleek lines and curves, the Tumbler offered sharp, angled and rugged looks — qualities that invoked Batman’s inner and outer persona. Known for its fat wheels that could leap 30-feet into the air and hit speeds of 110 in 60 seconds, the Tumbler was the most realistic Batmobile ever to be created. Like Batman, the the Tumbler is a tank, built for the gritty streets of Gotham. Nolan’s take on the Batmobile might have received resistance at first, but after two critically-acclaimed movies, fans have learned to love it as much as Tim Burton’s.
2008: Batman: Gotham Knight Never seen this Batmobile before? Well, you should be ashamed of yourself. Shown off in Gotham Knight, a Japanese DVD-animation of six anime-styled shorts set between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, this Batmobile appears to be a cross between the Tumbler and an inverted F-14 fighter jet. Despite it not being shown too thoroughly in the movie, it challenged the belief that a Batmobile’s potential size had to fit a certain mold. As Batmobile History points out, the vehicle is about 21-feet wide, which makes it too huge to roll down a typical road. Tumbler be damned! Maybe in the future, there are no roads…
2011: Batman Live World Arena Tour Designed by famed Formula One race car designer Gordon Murray, the Batman Live car is the spitting offspring between a F1 race car and a Batmobile. Envisioned for the crime fighter with F1 tech that’s 15-20 years away, Murray’s design incorporates “breathable” carbon fiber for its body, “virtual” wheels with LED lights and an eco-friendly hydrogen fuel cell that only emits water. While it does look very sleek, it’s tinier size also destroys all hope for storing Batman’s gear. At least Robin or Batgirl can sit in the back seat.