The replica-car business is the authentic and despicable cloaca of the automotive world, attracting scammers, liars, shade-tree hacks, shady African fiberglass molders, soon-to-be-disappointed owners, and lawsuit-addicted former poultry farmers in equal measure. A quick glance at the Gotham Garage website won’t reverse your opinion of the game, but the company, and it’s tatted-up owner, Mark Towle, are at the center of a rather interesting lawsuit.
At the heart of the issue is the George Barris “Batmobile”, which appeared as the vehicular star of the campy Adam-West-led Batman television show. The aforementioned “Gotham Garage” builds replica Batmobiles and has delivered two of them so far. Since the original Batmobile is nearly fifty years old, wasn’t made in any volume, and isn’t currently being produced by anyone, it would seem to be fair game for the replica makers, who regularly manage to get away with copying more recent vehicles.
Not so fast! DC Comics is getting involved. The Hollywood Reporter has the scoop, but it boils down to this: The Batmobile is part of Batman’s distinct trade dress as expressed in products derived from DC Comics. The article is worth reading because both arguments seem at least partially legitimate.
The recently-reimagined The Lincoln Motor Car Company That Makes Motor Cars And Is A Company Despite Being A Brand In Real Life And Not A Separate Company At All hasn’t weighed-in on the issue yet, which seems odd because the Batmobile is basically just a Lincoln Futura. If they fail to get involved, and the decision goes against DC Comics, there’s every chance that the replica builders of the distant future could rip off the 2013 Lincoln MKZ. And you thought Tom Hardy wearing an odd facemask and some leather bondage gear was scary!