The Batmobile
of the 1960's

'66 Batmobile

The Barris built Batmobile from the 1966 TV series.

This interpretation of the '60s Batmobile, from BATMAN IN THE SIXTIES (1999), is obviously based on the Batmobile from the TV series. Art by Rick Keene, coloring by Tom Ziuko.

In the first half of the decade of the 1960s, the Batmobile did not change much from its appearance in the '50s. Its length and the size of the bubble canopy changed, as did the number of headlights, depending on which artist drew it, but fundamentally it was pretty much the same. All that changed in 1966 with the premier of a a television series starring Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin. The series lasted for two seasons and is remembered now for being a high camp send up of the superhero genre. The television show featured well known character actors and movie stars on the down hill side of their careers as the villains, and cheesy costumes and sets. The dialogue was all tongue in cheek and the acting pure ham. The TV show did have one thing going for it, though -- a really neat Batmobile.

The series' producers contracted experienced Hollywood car customizer, George Barris, to produce a Batmobile for the show. Barris used an obsolete show car, the Lincoln Futura, as the basis for his conversion. It was an inspired choice. The unique design of the Futura and Barris' modifications to it produced a vehicle that was radically different from the comic book Batmobile, but the sleek, powerful car with the long sweeping fins was readily accepted by the public as the real Batmobile. (Historical note: at the same time that Batman made the move from comic books to television, George Barris was appearing in comic books, in advertisements for AMT's line of model kits based on Barris' customized cars.) The show became so popular that the campy humor and the Barris designed Batmobile were introduced into the comic books.

Naturally, as a fan of Batman and as a modeler, I had to build this Batmobile. Aurora produced a kit in conjunction with the show, but it is too rare and expensive to build, and an odd scale for automobile models (1/32). There are several resin kits of the TV Batmobile, but the ones I'd seen were either poorly made or inaccurate (I've heard good things about one called the "Caped Custom" but have never seen it). When Revell released the Lincoln Futura as one of its SSP Series (Kit 1270), it became possible to do as Barris had done, only in 1/25 scale - convert the Futura into the Batmobile.

Of all the Batmobiles featured on this site, this is the most difficult, for several reasons. The fit of the parts in the Futura kit is not bad for its age, but it's not good either. Barris' modifications were not major but they are numerous. The open cockpit meant all of the interior is visible. Perhaps a less obvious difficulty factor is the popularity of the TV series and its long life in syndicated reruns. People who have never read a comic book will recognize this Batmobile and will remember at least some details of its appearance. So all those details have to be right. There is no room for the kind of artistic interpretation that can be exercised when the only references are a number of inconsistent illustrations from decades old magazines.

On the plus side, this Batmobile really exists (in several versions) and there are plenty of photos, videos and other references available to the modeler. The best single source of information is The Futura/Batmobile Home Page. I also generated useful pictures by capturing them from video recordings of the television show using a computer equipped with a video capture card. Although the resolution of these pictures is not as good as a photograph, with enough episodes on tape, a view of nearly any part of the Batmobile can be found.

Model of the 1960's Batmobile

1/25 Scale

Click here for more pictures and description of the construction process for the Batmobile.

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The character of Batman, the emblems and the comic book panels on these pages are the property of DC Comics. All text and photographs are 2001-2013 Dan Thompson, except where otherwise noted. This homepage is not intended to infringe on the copyright of DC Comics to its characters, but was created out of gratitude to all the talented writers, artists, and editors who created the Batman.