The Batmobile is probably the most iconic car in Hollywood movie history aside from James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5. Batman’s collection includes a Cadillac, a Mercury, a modified Lincoln, and many others.
The design has changed countless times since the Batmobile debuted in 1941 - but more on that later. Even Batman had to crawl, climb, bike, and fly before he could vroom.
Built from a Yamaha Catalina 250, the original ‘60s Batcycle had a sidecar that doubled as a go-kart so the Boy Wonder (in this case the magnificent Burt Ward) could be let loose to chase Gotham's villains.
In Batman: The Dark Knight (2008) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012) the Batpod - as it was later known - has 20" front and rear tires, and is powered by a high-performance, water-cooled engine. It is steered by the shoulders instead of hands, and the rider's arms are protected by shields, with two foot pegs set 3.5 feet apart on either side of the tank, which the rider lies on, belly down.
The Whirly-Bat (left) was designed with an aft counter tail rotor to keep it from spinning out of control. Batman’s Flying Batave (right) allowed him to fight crime without stepping foot in Gotham City. It has smoke-screen generators but needed frequent refueling, so it wasn’t as practical as Batman’s other toys.
As Bruce Wayne is head of Wayne Aerospace - manufacturer of exclusive private jets - it should be no surprise that Batman loves to fly. The Batcopter from the 1960s movie was based on the Bell 47 but modified with wings that reduce its power by nearly 50 percent. Holy crash land, Batman!
The Batboat from Superman/Batman #8 (2004), proved the Caped Crusader had land, air, and sea covered.
In The Dark Knight, billionaire Bruce Wayne abscond with an entire Russian ballet troupe aboard his superyacht, part of a cover story developed with his trusted butler, Alfred (Michael Caine).
Undoubtedly, the star of every Batman movie is the beloved Batmobile, of course, but it wasn’t always the iconic black roadster worshipped in the movies.
Back in 1941, the Batmobile was a saucy red car with a ‘quiet purr’, likely inspired by the Cord Roadster and distinguishable by a gold bat on its hood. The model boasted a battering ram nose so Batman could crash through walls.
Batman (Adam West) gunned his modified Ford Lincoln Futura Concept in the 1960s. The original car was sold at auction for $4.2m. Even Robin had Batmobile envy, explaining that "chicks dig the car", prompting Batman to muse: “This is why Superman works alone.”
The Batmobile in Tim Burton’s Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992) was designed by Academy Award-winner Anton Furst, built with an old Corvette body on two Chevrolet Impala chassis, and powered by a Chevy V8 on Mickey Thompson racing tires. It stretched to 22-feet long and was equipped with forward-mounted machine guns.
The Tumbler, a fan favorite, starred in Batman Begins, Dark Knight, and Dark Knight Rises from 2005-2008.
It too had machine guns mounted in between the front wheels and - while in ‘Attack’ Mode - the driver's seat moved to the center of the car, re-positioning Batman to lie face-down. Powering the Tumbler is a 5.7-Liter (350ci) V8 making 400-500 hp. Even with the oversized tires, the Tumbler could go zero to 60 in just five seconds.
Robert Pattinson plays Bruce Wayne in the latest reboot of the franchise and the new superhero comes with a new Batmobile. Director Matt Reeves offered a sneak peak at the new wheels on his Twitter account.
Whichever you prefer, there are really only two words to aptly describe the Caped Crusader’s iconic vehicles: Nananananananana Batman!