Car news

22 January 2013

60s Batmobile sells for Rs 23.6 crore

Plus: Ferrari 250 GTs go for Rs 4.3 crore a pop and first ‘Vette sells for Rs 60 lakh…

Vijay Pattni
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There was a gentler time in Batman's fictional history; a time when he was a friendly, podgy, ham-fisted investigator more concerned with disco dancing than Gotham's apocalypse. Oh, and he didn't drive a modified tank either.

It was of course, the Batman of the 1960s. And this past weekend, one of television's - and popular culture's - most sacred automotive cows was sacrificed by its creator and owner to a very lucky (and wealthy) collector.

Ladies and gentlemen, the very first, original 1960s Batmobile - the Batmobile used in the iconic telly series (which only aired in India during the 90's) - has sold at auction for an astonishing Rs 23.6 crore.

A gentleman named Rick Champagne who lives in Arizona, purchased the vehicle over the weekend at the Barrett Jackson auction, after some spirited bidding. "It was a dream come true," he noted.

It's easily the most famous television car in history, starting out life as a Lincoln Futura concept car from 1955. Car customiser George Barris bought the concept from Ford for just $1 (Rs 55 aprox today, but a lot lesser in 1955), and following a meeting with Batman telly producer William Dozier, was given a budget of $15,000 and 15 days to come up with the ‘Batmobile'.

Suffice to say, he did pretty good. More mature readers of TopGear.com may remember the car came with such awesome gadgetry including the Batcomputer, smoke screen, emergency Bat turn lever, a Batphone, Detect-a-scope, and of course, that rear rocket thruster.

There was also a 6.4-litre (390 cubic inch) Ford V8 with an auto gearbox underneath, though we suspect the power output was a little shy of the 400bhp Chevy V8 used for the most recent Dark Knight's ride, the Tumbler.

"The car had to be a star on its own," Barris noted before the auction. That much is clear.

What's also clear, is the enduring awesomeness of the Ferrari 250 GT. Because elsewhere in auction-land this past weekend, a pair of GTs - SWB and LWB - sold at separate auctions for over $8m each.

A 1958 250 GT LWB California Spider sold for a whopping Rs 4.42 crore, offered up by Gooding & Company, while a few miles away, RM Auctions sold a red 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Competizione for Rs 4.37 crore, a world record for this type of 250.

Oh, and to top it all off, the first 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray - which only got its world premiere last week in Detroit - sold at Barrett Jackson's auction for Rs 60 lakh.

Don't forget, we've had a hotride in the Tumbler from The Dark Knight Rises...

Batmobile image courtesy of Barrett Jackson

Tags: batmobile, ford, 250, ferrari

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