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DescriptionEarliest Known Officially Licensed 1963 Batmobile. What is believed to be the world's first car that became an officially licensed Batmobile was conceived and customized starting in 1960 by 23-year-old Forrest Robinson. After finishing the design, Robinson and a young friend, Len Perham, begun building the car in the Robinson family barn. Robinson completed the car in 1963-two years before the George Barris customization of the TV Batmobile was started. The "'63 Batmobile" is the earliest known car in existence that was sanctioned by a DC Comics licensee.
Although many people associate the Batmobile with the cars seen in recent Batman movies or the late-60s Batman TV show, Robinson's earlier car is instantly recognizable as "more authentic" by comic book lovers. It has features seen in DC's Batman Comics from the 1940s and '50s, including the prominent front-end bat-nose and rear-end single fin.
The '63 Batmobile was custom-built from the ground up. Starting with a 1956 Oldsmobile 88 frame and the famous 324 Rocket engine -- a predecessor of 1960s muscle cars -- Robinson replaced the Oldsmobile body with his custom-designed body, measuring 17 feet by 83 inches, sporting the Batmobile's iconic dorsal fin, bat-nose front end and pocket sliding doors. Specs of the Oldsmobile engine and frame can be viewed here:
By contrast, the 1966 Barris Batmobile was a souped up and repainted version of an existing vehicle -- a red, 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car used by a movie studio in a non-Batman movie.
When Robinson completed his masterpiece in 1963, he painted the car space-age silver-a stunning piece of art-on-wheels. Robinson initially used the car for regular driving, but when Batmania started in earnest, the car caused such a sensation that ALL STAR Dairies and its New Hampshire affiliate, Green Acres Ice Cream (a DC Comic Book licensee), leased it for a promotional campaign. It was repainted in official Batman colors, badged with official Batman labels, and toured the Eastern U.S. as "Batman's Batmobile", as noted in a 1966 Keene Sentinel newspaper article. The car was eventually returned to Robinson in late 1966 -- around the same time that replicas of the Barris TV Batmobile (known as "ABC TV Batmobile," later as "Barris Batmobile" or "1966 Batmobile") were built and made available for touring.
Forrest, who needed cash to start a fabricating business, sold the car for $200. Within a few years, the car lay abandoned in a New Hampshire field and, for almost fifty years, remained a long-forgotten piece of American Pop Culture.
In 2008, the car was discovered by Bobby Smith of Swanzey, NH. He sold it to a rare car dealer in Chicago, who re-sold it to auto historian George Albright. George, a meticulous researcher, tracked down the two builders of the car, Robinson and Perham, as well as a retired DC Comics executive, and the former ALL STAR Dairies executives- all of whom remembered the car. Albright supplemented his research with Batman memorabilia such as Batman milk cartons and ice cream containers imprinted with the National Periodic Publications (then owner of DC Comics) copyright.
In February 2013, the '63 Batmobile was purchased by Toy Car Exchange LLC and transported to Borbon Fabrications in Sacramento, CA, a company that specializes in vintage car restorations. Restored to pristine condition, lovingly, in a painstaking, year-long process, retaining the original frame, parts, and engine, the car was given a second life.
Early in 2014, the long-forgotten '63 Batmobile debuted at the renowned Sacramento Autorama, America's longest running indoor car show. It won first place in the hand-built sports car class, ahead of legendary classics such as the Shelby Cobra.
Toy Car Exchange LLC is an online auction marketplace for rare collectible toy cars and real 1:1 collectible automobiles. Please visit http://toycarexchange.com
Highlight Video of the 1956 Oldsmobile 88 - THE FIRST BATMOBILE - Built in 1963, sanctioned in 1966.
This car will NOT be on display at Heritage's Dallas office as it warehoused in Northern California. If you would like to see the car in person in Northern California, please call Margaret Barrett at (310) 492-8631 to make arrangements.
If you are the successful bidder, it will be your responsibility to retrieve the car from Northern California yourself. Heritage Auctions will NOT be responsible for shipping this car to you.
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