Published February 21, 2014
Ben Affleck, your ride is ready.
Well, maybe not, but if the one-time Daredevil wants to impress as the new Batman, he might want to think about driving the oldest, and possibly coolest, “Batmobile” in his upcoming film.
Although it was never officially the Caped Crusader’s car, a Batman comics-inspired vehicle – designed and built by a teenager in the early 1960s and left to rot for decades in the back of a Chicago warehouse – has been brought back to its original crime-fighting form.
Created on a whim by young Forrest Robinson of Westmoreland, N.H, its swoopy, triple-tailfin body was formed from fiberglass and mated to the chassis of a 1956 Oldsmobile years before George Barris sketched his iconic car for the Batman TV series.
It soon caught the eye of an All Star Dairy representative, who rented it from Robinson for a couple of years to use at promotional events for the company’s line of Batman ice cream and drink products.
Robinson eventually sold the car to a friend in 1967, and then it passed through a few owners before Florida-based collector George Albright came across its neglected hulk in 2011 and bought it on the spot.
While most of the metal bits had deteriorated badly, the car’s fiberglass bodywork was mostly intact, right down to its sliding, pocket-style doors.
But Albright wasn’t up for the task of restoring it, so he listed it on eBay last year.
After hearing about the auction, Sid Belzberg, co-owner of the trading website ToyCarExchange.com, bought the car and shipped it to Mario Borbon’s Borbon Fabrications in Sacramento for a full restoration.
Eleven months and over 1,700 man-hours later, the car is now in better-than-new condition.
Now riding on a restored chassis with a 1956 Olds Rocket motor under the hood, Borbon modernized a few things, like the suspension, wiring and gauges. But he retained the original look, finishing the two-seater in a classic black and red paint job with whitewall tires.
Of course, if “Batfleck” is interested, he’ll have to borrow the car.
Borbon says that Belzberg loves how it turned out and isn’t selling it anytime soon.
Instead he plans to display it at as many car shows as possible to share it with likeminded fans, like the recent Sacramento Autorama where it made its public debut.