Evolution of the Batmobile | History of the Batmobile (2023)

The history of the Batmobile is a long one. Starting in the 1940s, the Batmobile has been constantly revised. To understand its appeal and rich history, you'll first need to learn about the evolution of the Batmobile in television and film over the past 75 years. Due to its long run, it's hard to know exactly how many Batmobiles there havebeen.

Through the years, the Batmobile has looked different in each comic series, film and television show. To have a broader understanding of how the Batmobile has evolved, you'll need to have a good idea of the most popular television and film versions, along with the ways they've been redesigned or modified.

Changes to the Batmobile have ranged from simply adding new modifications to an older model to completely redesigning the entire vehicle.A fan's favorite Batmobile is likely from the era in which they were introduced to Batman. However, serious Batman enthusiasts will likely have all the Batmobiles ranked.After reviewing the following iconic Batmobiles, you can develop your own rankings for the legendary vehicles.

Evolution of the Batmobile | History of the Batmobile (1)

Table of Contents

  • The Early Batmobile Models
  • 1966 Batmobile: The West Mobile
  • 1989 Batmobile: The Keaton Mobile
  • Batmobiles From the 1990s
  • 2005 Batmobile: The Tumbler
  • 2016 Batmobile: The Batfleck Mobile
  • 2022 Batmobile: The Pattinson Mobile
  • Visit One of the Largest Batmobile Collections in the World

The Early Batmobile Models

Before the Batmobile became a worldwide phenomenon, it had humble beginnings in the 1940s with just two versions: the 1943 model and the 1949 model.

The First Batmobile: 1943 Batmobile

Probably the simplest Batmobile ever used, the 1943 model holds a special place in Batmobile history, since it's the vehicle that started it all. The 1943 Batmobile model was first featured in the Columbia serial Batman movies that ran each week. The series chose the 1939 Cadillac Series 75 convertible, originally designed by Harley Earl of General Motors. As it was a car designed for the general public, there were barely any modifications or gadgets included.

Evolution of the Batmobile | History of the Batmobile (2)

Unlike future versions of the Batmobile, the car doubled as both the Batmobile and the personal car of Bruce Wayne. As such, the producers of the movies had to figure out how to differentiate between the vehicle as the Batmobile and as just a regular car. To illustrate the difference, they decided when the top was up, the car was the Batmobile, and when the top was down, the car was Bruce Wayne's.

1949 Batmobile

The next and final serial run for Batman introduced a new Batmobile. Like the previous version, this new Batmobile was a stock automobile that came straight out of a factory. Though the series added the Bat Cave and Wayne Manor to the series to bring the Batman universe to life, it didn't have the budget to trick out the Batmobile.

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Ford's 1949 Mercury Convertible was selected to take over for the 1939 Cadillac Series 75. As there weren't any modifications to the vehicle, the convertible top was used again to signal when it was the Batmobile, and when it was Bruce Wayne's personal car. Over the filming of the show, the Mercury was switched out six times due to the car's poor handling when cornering. The combination of power and inadequate handling resulted in the car getting wrecked several times.

(Video) The Batmobile History: Evolution of Batman's Supercar | Up To Speed

1966 Batmobile: The West Mobile

After the 1943 and 1949 Batmobiles, fans had to wait a while before Batman hit the small or big screen again. When fans finally got their wish in 1966, the Batmobile they saw would blow the previous versions out of the water. In fact, many now consider the 1966 Batmobile to be the original Batman car.

The first modified Batmobile appeared in the 1966-68 Batman television series and the 1966Batmanmovie. Adam West's iconic performance as Batman brought Gotham and the Batmobile to a whole new audience. With the star power of West, the people behind the show knew they had to have a stunning vehicle to compliment him.

West's Batmobile was the first iteration to feature mods and gadgets, leading many to consider this the prime example of the iconic car. Legendary Hollywood car designer, George Barris, had three weeks to design the car. He pulled inspiration from the conceptual and unreleased Ford 1955 Lincoln Futura.

The baseline design of the Futura—with its bubble canopies and long fins—made for a perfect base for the Batmobile. Along with the base design of the Futura, Barris added modifications that would add to the visual theme of Batman. The car was painted black with red trim to really make the car pop on screen. Finally, the red Batman logo on the doors of the vehicle and in the center of the wheels tied the whole design together.

Barris would go onto add other gadgets such as rockets, lasers, a computer, a police beacon and a telephone. The car also had a chain splice placed on the nose and a couple of parachutes installed in the rear. With the parachutes, the car could make a complete 180 degree turn with ease.

Evolution of the Batmobile | History of the Batmobile (4)

When it comes to combat, this Batmobile was ready to take on Gotham's greatest villains. To create coverage and obscure vision, Batman could use the vehicle's smoke emitter. If a villain was chasing after Batman or if he needed to stop a car, the nail spreader was a top gadget. In order to do some serious damage to another vehicle or obstacle, the car featured a battering ram. With all of these modifications, the vehicle was a worthy companion.

1989 Batmobile: The Keaton Mobile

Tim Burton helmed the 1989 Batman film that brought a darker tone to the iconic character—far more than any of the cartoons and films in the past. As such, the 1989 Batmobile was designed with a new take on the series in mind. With the movie's more serious tone, Anton Furst, the Batmobile designer, wanted the vehicle to have a darker feel as well.

He got rid of the red trim and the bright red Batman logo, and the Batmobile went completely black. Instead of an exotic Ferrari or Lamborghini that fans had become accustomed to in the cartoons and comic books, this version of the Batmobile took on the appearance of a car designed for drag racing, with its skinny, sleek design. The long vehicle looked as if it was ready to break the sound barrier.

This Batmobile was not the type that could hide in plain sight, but with its speed, Batman could navigate around with such quickness, that it didn't much matter. Michael Keaton's Batman, already iconic on its own, became even more synonymous with the franchise, due to the vehicle's bold appearance.

Along with its speed and new look, the vehicle had even more modifications —so it was always prepared for a fight. The Batmobile had retractableshielding, self-driving and machine guns all incorporated into the vehicle. Additionally, the Batmobile featured shin breakers on the sides, bombs, disc launchers and an implement that could lift the car and let it turn 180 degrees on a dime.

Batman Returns, the movie following the 1989Batman, used the same Batmobile. The new movie showed off the vehicle's ability to turn into the "Batmissile," helping Keaton's Batman make a quick escape from the police. Moreover, the animated series that immediately followed the 1989 Batman would go on to largely draw from this Batmobile's design.

(Video) Evolution of Batmobile & Batplane 1949-2022

Batmobiles From the 1990s

The 1990s would bring several new Batmobiles to the franchise, both in television and film. Though the Batmobile fromBatmanwould retain its role in the 1992Batman Returns, there would still be four more Batmobiles designed and released to the public in the 90s. The following vehicles were four all-new Batmobiles used through the decade:

1992 Animated Batmobile

Due to its animated nature, the designers of the Batmobile fromBatman: The Animated Serieshad much more freedom in the number of modifications and gadgets they could employ. Shayne Poindexter took the lead in designing this vehicle and tried to utilize past designs from both the movies and comic books. The final look was fairly simple, with it looking like a fairly standard car, other than its long hood. The vehicle also featured slatted grills and a blunt nose.

Evolution of the Batmobile | History of the Batmobile (5)

You shouldn't let the minimal design fool you, though—this Batmobile was dangerous. The Batmobile featured dispensers for smoke, oil and tear gas, along with ejection seats, wheel slasher hubs and a missile rack. For defensive purposes, the body panels and wheels were reinforced with titanium alloy, a shield mode and reversible jet exhausts.

1995 Batmobile: The Kilmer Mobile

The third installment in theBatmanandBatman Returnsmovie series,Batman Forever,took the series in a different direction. The films were directed by someone new, and with the new director came a new designer, Barabara Ling. To put her own vision for the Batmobile front and center, Ling decided to craft a vehicle that had a more organic feel to it.

Ling still incorporated some of the old model's designs, keeping the split cockpit canopy, the long, the skinny design and the separate fenders—but overall, the car was transformed.

Instead of the nondescript design of the 1989 Batmobile that didn't feature any Batman logos on it, the 1995 Batmobile incorporated the bat logo onto each wheel. Instead of turning with the wheels, the logo would stay upright, constantly displaying Batman's symbol. Most noticeable about the new design was the new ribs along the side and the bat-like wings that were attached to the back of the vehicle. Of all of the vehicles in the franchise, this one looked most like a living, breathing bat.

Evolution of the Batmobile | History of the Batmobile (6)

As weaponry and modifications went, this Batmobile was fairly minimalistic. It could lock all four of its wheels, which allowed the vehicle to move from side to side quickly. It also employed a grappling hook and could transform itself, so it could climb up walls and other vertical structures. However, Riddler destroyed this Batmobile by putting explosives in the vehicle's cockpit.

Viewer reception to this Batmobile was fairly lukewarm, with some even considering it ugly. The biggest criticism was that it looked like a car that was designed like a plastic toy, which turns out, it was.

1997 Batmobile: The Clooney Mobile

Batman and Robin, the final installment in the series that began in 1989, attempted to end the series with a bang. To make up for the rather dull response to the 1995 Batmobile, Ling went back to the drawing board and tried to design a Batmobile worthy of a new Batman, played by George Clooney.

While the film's quality is questionable, with some considering it the worst Batman film, Ling's new Batmobile is widely considered an improvement over the previous one. She achieved a more attractive look by takinginspiration from classic roadsters, such as the Jaguar D Type. This Batmobile could go up to 140 mph, had a length of 30 feet long and utilized an open-air cockpit. To really differentiate it from the previous Batmobile, Ling removed the organic-looking ribs from the sides of the vehicle.

(Video) Batmobile Evolution (1943-2022) | Evolution OF Batmobile From Movies And TV Series

New design features included three small exhaust nozzles on both of the rear fenders, separating itself from the sole jet exhaust featured on the previous versions. Though the vehicle had fins on the back like the past version, the fins were changed to look sharper and had their size increased substantially. The wheels on this Batmobile were less flashy, with only a silver Bat design included in the center. The rest of the tires were 22" and featured prototype Good Year tires.

1997 Animated Batmobile

The second animated series to premiere in the 90s put its own spin on the Batmobile. TheNew Batman Adventuresran from 1997-1999 and featured a Batmobile that was wider than the others of the era. The vehicle had a two-passenger coupe, along with a pair of thin jet thrusters. This new look would prove popular, as it was used in the 2000s in Batman comic books.

2005 Batmobile: The Tumbler

It took some time after the George Clooney-led Batman movie for the Batmobile to return to the big screen.When Christopher Nolan finally got a hold of the series in 2005, he put his directorial stamp on Batman with the Dark Night Trilogy.

At the helm, he completely revolutionized the franchise by restarting the entire universe. Along with crafting a new Batman and Gotham City, Nolan and Nathan Crowley designed an iconic Batmobile, unlike one ever seen in the Batman universe. To design the vehicle, Crowley and Nolan stuck to their vision to make the Batmobile as realistic as possible.

Evolution of the Batmobile | History of the Batmobile (7)

Like the rest of the movie, the new Batmobile was gritty and, like Nolan wanted, realistic, with the production designer going on to describe the vehicle as a combination of a tank and a Lamborghini. The functionality of the vehicle and it's sleek, slightly dangerous look made it a fan favorite.

Nicknamed the Tumbler, this Batmobile was used throughout the trilogy. It's an imposing vehicle, measuring in at 15 feet and 2" long, as well as 9 feet and 2" wide. Due to its size and design, the vehicle weighed over 2 tons.

Despite its weight, the vehicleoffers incredible performance— this new version:

  • Can complete a 0 to 60 dash in 5.6 seconds.
  • Can jump up to 30 feet.
  • Uses 44" Super Sawmper TSL Tires.
  • Is powered by a 500-HP Chevy 350 V8
  • Utilizes a jet engine on its back, with propane tanks fueling it.

Other than its impressive stats, the Batmobile had the ability to eject a custom motorcycle called the Batpod. After ejecting the Batpod, the rest of the Batmobile self destructs, helping Batman in extreme situations, where he needs to get away quickly and cause a distraction. Additionally,The Dark Night Risesalso featured a Tumbler in camo rather than the classic black look.

2016 Batmobile: The Batfleck Mobile

Unlike the critically acclaimed Christopher Nolan series, the Batman reboot, starring Ben Affleck as Batman, did not make a huge impression on critics or fans. However, the new Batmobile placed itself in competition with the Tumbler, some fans even preferring it.

Dennis McCarthy and Patrick Tatopoulos, the production designer, designed the new Batmobile, takinginspiration from its predecessor,but slimming it down and making it morevisually streamlined in appearance. The vehicle retains its wide look, but takes some weight off, while also utilizing a wheel arrangement that makes more functional sense. Its defined features pair well with its obvious utility, as it still gives a heavily-armored, ready for combat look.

Unlike the Tumbler's high-off-the-ground, plow-through-anything appearance, the Batfleck Mobile sits lower to the ground and has wider wheels to give the vehicle more maneuverable qualities. Even though it's maneuverable, it's still an imposing Batmobile, as it measures 20 feet in length and 12 feet in width, giving it an authority on the road.

(Video) The Evolution of the Batmobile — [COMPLETE EDITION]

Evolution of the Batmobile | History of the Batmobile (8)

When it comes to gadgets, this Batmobile is tricked out. The front of the vehicle is armed with a mountedmachine gun. Other modifications and gadgets include sonic repellent, harpoons, chemical devices and spiked coils. The Batmobile also features stealth features, scanning devices for sonar and toxic elements, anti-ballistics systems and night vision. Its suspension system also adjusts to different driving surfaces, meaning it can be taken off-road comfortably.

The future for the Batfleck Mobile is uncertain. It's made its appearances inBatman Vs. Superman: Dawn of JusticeandSuicide Squad,but whether or not it will appear in future releases is still unknown. What's for certain is that with the Super Hero craze still going strong and the power of the Dark Knight, we'll be seeing more Batmobiles in the future. For now, though, you can update your Batmobile rankings to show which Batmobile you feel is best.

2022 Batmobile: The Pattinson Mobile

The Batman saga continued with the 2022 film featuring Robert Pattinson as the caped crusader. Pulling from the dark themes of Christopher Nolan's Gotham City, The Batman somehow manages to create a darker and even more ominous movie. It's been compared to the film noir genre and feels somewhat like a hard-boiled, slow-burning detective film. With such a unique feel, it's no wonder that the Batmobile needed its own complete design.

The new Robert Pattinson Batmobile is one of the most authentic entries yet into the Dark Knight's vehicle repertoire. It pulls from old designs like the West Mobile while adding modern twists and elements that fit into its dark, gritty storyline. In other films, the Batmobile was a product of other designers. This was the case in The Dark Knight trilogy, where Batman relied on the expertise of Lucius Fox to build the tank-like vehicle.

In The Batman, however, the storyline follows something different — Bruce Wayne grew up street racing and has an intimate knowledge of the inner workings of a car. This Batmobile is a product of Wayne's own tinkerings.

On the outside, it resembles your classic muscle car — something straight out of the 1960s or 1970s. In fact, it actually has theroof and windows of a 1968-70 Dodge Charger.From the front, the2022Batmobile gives pretty obvious hints to the ChevroletCamaro. Its fenders are notably wide, and there's an imposing battering ram on the front bumper. The vented hood glows an ominous red.

The rear window and trunk have been removed and replaced with a monster of an engine — a641-horsepower Chevrolet LT4 V8with various turbochargers and an exhaust afterburner. The rear engine helps control the car's huge back wheels through a type of transaxle.

For a movie with the budget and notoriety of a Batman blockbuster, the production team needed four different stunt cars for the film. Two of the stunt vehicles had V8 engines, one had its engine completely removed for certain scenes and one of them actually featured a Tesla drivetrain. An electric Batmobile allowed the crew to use the vehicle quietly on set.

In the rain-soaked, shaded lens of The Batman, the new Batmobile is a perfect fit. It's a part of what many consider one of the best car chase scenes in Batman history, as the masked Wayne intimidates the Penguin with the monstrous revving of the Batmobile's engine and sets out after him across Gotham's roads. Paired with the epic soundtrack and Bruce Wayne's impressive driving skills, it's clear that the Batmobile has become a central item of this franchise.

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Visit One of the Largest Batmobile Collections in the World

When people name their favorite Batmobiles, the top models are usually the 1989 Batmobile, the 1966 television series Batmobile and the 2005 Tumbler. At Volo Auto Museum, you can see allthree of the iconic Batmobiles.

Any Batman enthusiast will love to see the authentic vehicles up close. Adding to their appeal, the 1966 Batmobile is autographed by Adam West and George Barris. Additionally, the Tumbler at the museum was restored from a wrecked stunt car that had been damaged on set. In fact, Volo's Tumbler isthe only one used on-screen outside of Warner Bros. We also have a 1966Batcycle as well as lifelike statues of Batman and the Joker that were custom made for the museum.

(Video) Every Batmobile From Movies & TV Explained | WIRED

The Batmobile Collection at Volo is perfect for the whole family. The museum's Batmobile Kiddie Rides give children the opportunityto feel like Batman while driving one of the Jr. Batmobiles. If you're looking for a fun, family vacation near Chicago,start planning your tripto Volo Auto Museum today. If you have any questions, please feel free tocontact us. One of our friendly staff members will be happy to answer any questions you might have.


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