Comics Speculator: Holy Hot Rods! The Original Batmobile to be Auctioned

By Matt Baum

This week on the Comic Speculator we’re taking a break from comics to talk about one of the most iconic collectible cars in the nerd-car-collecting world. While it’s a collector’s market I’m not sure exists, I certainly with I had the income to be a part of it.

Heritage Auctions’ Dec. 6 Entertainment and Music Memorabilia Signature Auction is putting the first car to become officially licensed by DC Comics as the Batmobile on the block and it’s a beauty with an incredible story.

The first official Batmobile to hit the streets—a custom-built 17-foot body featuring a bat-nose front-end and iconic single fin on the rear created by two friends in a New Hampshire barn—will be up for bid at the Dec. 5-6 Heritage Auctions’ Entertainment and Music Memorabilia Signature Auction. Bidding will open at $90,000.

The first official Batmobile to hit the streets—a custom-built 17-foot body featuring a bat-nose front-end and iconic single fin on the rear created by two friends in a New Hampshire barn—will be up for bid at the Dec. 5-6 Heritage Auctions’ Entertainment and Music Memorabilia Signature Auction. Bidding will open at $90,000.

While this isn’t the George Barris Batmobile from the late 1960’s “Batman” TV series, this Batmobile will be much more recognizable to Golden-Age Batman fans as the car Batman and Robin drove in the late 1950s.

Two years before Barris bought the 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car for $1 (no kidding) and spent $15,000 and 15 days customizing Adam West and Burt Ward’s TV Batmobile, 23-year-old Forrest Robinson and his friend Len Perham built the first actual Batmobile in Robinson’s family’s barn in New Hampshire.

The two started with a 1956 Oldsmobile 88 frame and a 325 Rocket Engine. From there they built the car from the ground up. This was not a customization, like the Barris Batmobile, but a whole new car. The body was replaced by a sleek, custom-built 17-foot body featuring a bat-nose front-end and iconic single fin on the rear. Initially they painted the car silver and used it for everyday driving but after it was noticed by employees of All Star Dairies and Green Acres Farms Ice Cream—an affiliate of DC Comics at the time—Robinson and Perham’s Batmobile was repainted in the iconic black and red, and sent on a promotional tour of the East Coast as “Batman’s Batmobile.”

After the tour, Robinson sold the car for $200 to start a business and a few years later—while the Barris Batmobile was becoming a sensation—the first Batmobile sat forgotten in a New Hampshire field where it would stay for almost 50 years.

The Batmobile of 1950s comics had a Bat-Mask on the front and a large single fin in the back.

The Batmobile of 1950s comics had a Bat-Mask on the front and a large single fin in the back.

Initially the car was painted the car silver and used for everyday driving. It was noticed by employees of All Star Dairies and Green Acres Farms Ice Cream—an affiliate of DC Comics at the time.

Initially the car was painted the car silver and used for everyday driving. It was noticed by employees of All Star Dairies and Green Acres Farms Ice Cream—an affiliate of DC Comics at the time.

All Star Dairies produced Slam Bang Vanilla Ice Cream (with banana marshmallows) and teamed with DC Comic’s Batman and Robin as pitchmen.

All Star Dairies produced Slam Bang Vanilla Ice Cream (with banana marshmallows) and teamed with DC Comic’s Batman and Robin as pitchmen.

In 2008 the car was discovered and sold to a rare car dealer in Chicago and then to auto historian George Albright. Albright then tracked down Robinson and Perham. Using Batman memorabilia from Robinson and Perham’s original East Coast tour—things like antique from All Star Dairies and Green Acres milk and ice cream cartons—Albright was able to find company executives from that time, all of whom confirmed that this car was the original Batmobile.

In 2013, the car was sold to Toy Car Exchange LLC and taken to Borbon Fabrications in Sacramento, Calif., which specializes in vintage car restoration. There first Batmobile was restored to pristine condition over the course of the year.

In 2014 the restored Batmobile won first place in the hand-built sports car class at the Sacramento Autorama, the longest running indoor car show in the U.S.

George Barris built the more famous version of the Batmobile for the late 1960’s “Batman” TV series, starting with a 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car and spent 15 days and $15,000 customizing it. It sold for $4.2 million at the Barrett-Jackson Auto Auction in Scottsdale, Ariz. in January of 2013.

George Barris built the more famous version of the Batmobile for the late 1960’s “Batman” TV series, starting with a 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car and spent 15 days and $15,000 customizing it. It sold for $4.2 million at the Barrett-Jackson Auto Auction in Scottsdale, Ariz. in January of 2013.

In 2014 the restored Batmobile won first place in the hand-built sports car class at the Sacramento Autorama, the longest running indoor car show in the U.S.

In 2014 the restored Batmobile won first place in the hand-built sports car class at the Sacramento Autorama, the longest running indoor car show in the U.S.

Bidding will open at $90,000 ($112,500 with buyer’s premium) on Dec. 6 and there’s no telling how much a collectible car with this much history could go for. In January of 2013, the Barris Batman sold at the Barrett-Jackson Auto Auction in Scottsdale, Ariz. for $4.2 million. While this Batmobile isn’t as famous at its ’60s television-star cousin, it’s certainly as rare and older.

If you’re not in the market for a one-of-a-kind original Batmobile, also included in this auction is a slew of Beatles memorabilia—including the famous Cavern Club microphones used by the Beatles in the early 1960’s. The three microphones we’re built to enable vocalists to sing into either side. You might remember classic photographs of Paul and George singing into the same mic. Along with the microphones, Beatles collectors can bid on several other pieces autographed Beatles memorabilia.


Matt Baum is WorthPoint’s comic book Worthologist. If you have any questions about these books or anything else in the comic book world feel free to contact Matt or post your question below in the comments section below. If you need more comic-nerd in your life, you can follow Matt on Twitter, where he’s always screaming about something nerd-related. Thanks to all Matt’s new followers and keep the comments coming!

WorthPoint—Discover Your Hidden Wealth

(Visited 47 times, 1 visits today)