Vintage Batmobiles

Corgi Toys Batmobile, 1966
I have it on good authority that the Corgi 1966 batmobile is worth investigating. This British Batmobile is a pretty schmick item and highly collectable, especially if it's a first issue, which if in good nick can sell in the high hundreds and a thousand or more if it comes with the box. Collectors are often aging Babyboomers reaching out poignantly for their childhood toys and look upon the Batmobile as an iconic memory from their youth.

Corgi 1966 Batmobile. Image from Toy Collector

The very fist issue, from Corgi's Mettoy plant in Swansea, South Wales in October '66, came out in matt black and featured a blue windscreen, red rockets, front chain slasher,  rear jet flame, an instruction manual, lapel badge and red bats on gold hubs (swank). A few months later another version appeared which was exactly the same except it was gloss, rather than matt. There were many subsequent variations on the Corgi Batmobile, right up to 1983, when they lost the licence.(

The First Batmobile
Image from the Golden Age of Comic Books
The first reference to Batman's car,  the precursor to the Batmobile, appeared in 1939 in Detective Comics No. 27 (Batman's first appearance) and was a far cry from the flashy black, later versions. In fact it wasn't black at all but rather an elongated red convertable and pretty ordinary by Batmobile standards.

The term 'Batmobile' did not make an appearance until two years later, in Detective Comic No.48 and as Batman's adventures progressed, so too did the sophisticated functions of the Batmobile, even more so when the character moved beyond the comic books. 

 The 60s TV Batman
It was the 1960s ABC TV show, which ran from Jan. '66 to March '68, which spawned the first functional, toy Batmobiles from Corgi. To the comic book purists the campy, tongue-in cheek show  was a travesty but to the TV fans it was a blast....

The series starred Adam West as Batman and as Burt Ward as Robin and they were joined by a rotating cast of veteran stars playing various evil personalities. A total of 120 episodes were produced over it's two year run.

Dadadada...dadadada.  60s TV Batman and Robin

The 60s TV Batmobile. Image from Wiki Commons.

 Hot Wheels Batmobile
After obtaining the licence to reproduce diecast replicas of the 1966 Batmobile, Hotwheels launched a 40th anniversaty version and evidently the Hot Wheels team were serious about producing a detailed replica of the original, down to digitally scanning the original design and recreating the exact proportions and details of the '66 version.

The Batmobiles come in three scales - 1/64...basic, 1/43..intermediate and 1/18, which is evidently 'incredible'. For added authenticity (and fun),  to scale Batman and Robin figure sets are also available...try

Hotwheels Batmobile. Thanks to for the image

 Mego Toys Batmobile 
 Mego produced a line of Batmobiles in the 1970's, together with an extensive 'mini-adventure' ad campaign. The company had secured the rights to produce a series of action heroes from DC ( NPD)and Marvel Comics and the Batmobile, which included space for two 8" action figures, was an adjunct to that series.

Fibreglass Freaks Replica 1966 Batmobile
If a full-size vintage Batmobile appeals, they can be purchased from Fibreglass Freaks in Indiana for a mere $150,000 - cheap when you consider  that one sold at an R & M auction for $216,000.(Wiki.)

The company obtained the licence to officially build the cars from DC Comics in 2010. According to FF, the features of their Batmobile 'defy a summary' but they do try, so check out the website. Hint:the rear flamethrower works. This car would have to be the ultimate boy toy...but jeeze, wouldn't you feel just a little ostentatious pulling up at the traffic lights in one of these...? I guess that's the point...

Image from Fibreglass Freaks