As the year pivots from frustrating lockdowns amid a terrifying pandemic to utter lawlessness in the streets, we’ve all probably been waking up on the wrong side of the bed on a daily basis. Today, your author roused himself feeling particularly bitter as he realized the sniffle from last night has evolved into something a little more persistent. That’s going to keep me on the sidelines while my neighbors decide whether to protest brutality or embrace it fully by ensuring another quadrant of the city is razed. Perhaps I should have splurged on a fancier pack of masks, surely then this 2020 would have all worked out in my favor.
Now would be the perfect time to share the hollow virtue-signaling coming from the leadership at Ford and General Motors, both of which have announced they’re finally ready to tackle discrimination head-on several days after the tragic killing of George Floyd. But you know that would be pointless because — and I can’t put too fine a point on this — they are automakers and nobody sane wants their corporate opinion on racial politics.
So we’re covering the new Batmobile (below the break), which was only controversial in 1995 because someone designed it to look exactly like a giant phallus (above).
If the recent filmic handling of DC’s comic-book franchises is anything to go by, there’s little reason to presume the next Batman movie will be a good one. After releasing a trilogy of enjoyable bat films, Warner Bros. seems to have settled into some of the worst entertainment currently available at your local cinema or home streaming service — whether it be related to the Dark Knight or linked to some other DC character. The only noteworthy exception from the past eight years was 2019’s Joker, a film that was panned in the media for months before ultimately garnering critical acclaim and an Oscar win for Joaquin Phoenix’s complicated portrayal of the villain.
Little is known about 2021’s The Batman, other than the titular character being played by Robert Pattinson and the film leaning into a more realistic portrayal of his tech. While that hasn’t done much to pique our interest by itself, it has done wonders for the new Batmobile. It’s probably the most down-to-earth vehicle we’ve seen the caped crusader drive since Adam West piloted a modified Lincoln Futura in the campy 1960s comedy series. If movie cars are any measure of a film’s overall greatness (they are), perhaps this will be a decent flick after all.
Lenny Robinson, a 51-year-old man who dressed up as Batman in a black Lamborghini Gallardo and visited sick children in hospitals dressed as the superhero, was struck and killed on Interstate 70 on Sunday, the Washington Post is reporting.
The man, who became an Internet star after a video (video below) of his encounter with Montgomery County (Maryland) police made the rounds, was returning from a car show in West Virginia when his Lamborghini was struck.
The so-called “Route 29 Batman” lived outside of Baltimore and delivered toys and books to children around Maryland and Washington D.C.
Collectors are often categorized into completists, generalists, and specialists. Actually, I don’t think the dividing line is that clear when you consider someone who tries to collect one of each model year air-cooled Porsche is simultaneously a completist and a specialist. One of the things that keeps writing about cars interesting is how multifaceted the car hobby is. Some folks collect air-cooled Porsches. Others collect TV and movie cars – vehicles that have had prominent roles in television series or notable motion pictures.
There have been lots of Batmobiles since Batman first appeared in print in 1939. In addition to the comic books, starting in the 1940s there have been movie serials and feature films, as well as television shows both live action and animated. I suppose, based on the many replicas that have been made (enough for the rights to have been litigated) that the Adam West era Batmobile fabricated at the direction of George Barris is the most famous, and next in line would be the Batmobile from Tim Burton’s Batman Returns or the Tumbler from the Batman films directed by Christopher Nolan. The first Batmobile, or rather the first car called the Batmobile, is less well known. The term “Batmobile” first appeared in Detective Comics #48, in 1941 and has been attributed to writer Bob Finger. Batman’s car was described as a supercharged red roadster with a reinforced hood that could be used as a battering ram. Most online sources, including batmobilehistory.com and this popular infographic say that Batman artist Bob Kane based his drawing of that car on a 1937 Cord 812, but I’m convinced that while the Cord may have influenced Kane, so did a lesser known supercharged American car from the late 1930s, the Graham “Spirit of Motion”, also known as the Sharknose.
I will admit that I am a Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction fanboi. I spent last week in Detroit during the NAIAS, and thus had to skip my annual trip to Scottsdale, Arizona for their auction extravaganza, one of the greatest automotive events in this country. However, amidst all the breathless reporting about Barrett-Jackson selling the original Batmobile for $4.6M, you might have missed the story of a rare fail by the auction giant.
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.