Published February 04, 2013
Holy hidden history, Batman!
The original Batmobile built for the 1960’s TV show made news last month when it was sold for a Bam! Pow! $4.2 million at the Barrett-Jackson collector car auction in Scottsdale, AZ.
But was it really the first car to carry the caped crusader?
One savvy car collector has evidence to the contrary, and it’s up for sale on Ebay.
Two years ago while checking out a classic 1930’s Chevrolet bus in Chicago, George Albright of Ocala, Fla., noticed an interesting car sitting in the back of the warehouse.
It’d seen better days, but its swoopy, exaggerated bodywork and tall dorsal fin made it hard to miss.
Turns out it was a one-off creation built in the early 1960’s by a teenager in New Hampshire named Forrest Robinson who’d been sketching ideas for a real life Batmobile in his notebooks for a couple of years.
Constructed on a 1950’s Oldsmobile chassis, the fiberglass creation features quad headlights around a nostril-style grille, a pair of low, horizontal tailfins, and doors that slide into the rear fenders to open.
As far as Albright knows, it was the first of its kind to hit the road.
Powered by a 1957 Olds V8, Robinson finished the car in 1963, two years before George Barris built the iconic TV Batmobile, and used it as a daily driver as he and his wife Violette headed off for his three-year stint in the Army at Fort Bragg, N.C.
There, a rep for the All Star Dairy cooperative, which was launching a line of Batman-themed ice cream and drink products, came across the car and offered to rent it for promotional use.
Busy with his military service, and happy for the extra cash, Robinson jumped at the chance and handed over the keys.
Although never officially licensed or anointed a true Batmobile by DC Comics, the car spent the next two years touring the east coast with the All Star team, surely providing an eye-catching talking point at every stop.
Robinson eventually took the car back, and then sold it to a friend in 1967. He never built another custom car, but when he got home from the Army he did open a machine shop in his hometown of Westmoreland, N.H., that’s still in business today.
Unfortunately, the new owner didn’t take very good care of the car and it has deteriorated quite a bit over the years as it changed hands a couple of more times before Albright found it in Chicago.
But while the chassis and running gear have seen better days, and the body quite dirty, Albright says the fiberglass is surprisingly straight and ripe for a good restoration.
If you’re up for the challenge, it’s currently listed on Ebay for $19,800 in an auction that ends this Friday.
Compared to the $4.2 mil spent on the other one, it almost seems like a steal.
Good thing it comes with a clean Florida title as proof of ownership, you wouldn't want Batman to show up at your house looking for it.
Or would you???