Batmobile Going on the Block Next Month

The 1963 Batmobile.
Photo: courtesy Heritage Auctions.

A bonafide 1960s-era Batmobile, the earliest DC–licensed model known to exist, will be available at auction next month at Heritage Auctions, reports ArtDaily. The car, thought to be lost for decades, was rediscovered in 2008 and has been lovingly restored to its original condition. Opening bids start at $90,000 and are expected to top $500,000.

Originally a 1956 Oldsmobile 88 with a 324 Rocket engine, the car was rebuilt between 1960 and 1963 to create a body with a more dramatic shape, including a large fin and sliding pocket doors. A DC Comic Book licensee realized that the new high-concept car bore a striking resemblance to Batman’s vehicle of choice. Due to the superhero’s growing popularity, the company convinced the owner to paint the car in Batman’s signature black with red accents, and to take it on the road, touring as the official Batmobile.

“This is a great piece of lost pop culture and Americana,” said Heritage director of entertainment and music Margaret Barrett in a statement.

In 1966, with the debut of the Batman television series, the 1963 Batmobile, overshadowed by replicas of the show’s George Barris–designed model, was retired. The vehicle fell into obscurity, and was left for decades to rust in a New Hampshire field.

Based on meticulous research by auto historian George Albright, the car was restored over the past year by Toy Car Exchange. At this year’s Sacramento Autorama, the vintage Batmobile won top honors for hand-built sports cars.

Batman’s car has been enjoying some time in the spotlight of late, as fans gear up for the new movie starring Ben Affleck. In art-related news, the Worcester Art Museum included the Batsuit in its “Knights!” honoring National Batman Day (see: “Worcester Art Museum Celebrates National Batman Day“), and the Dark Knight had a whole section of New York Comic Con, replete with a giant bronze effigy, to celebrate the superhero’s 75th birthday (see: “The Out-of-this-World Art of New York Comic Con“).

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