PHOENIX (Reuters) - An Arizona man with a special
fondness for caped crusader Batman and his sidekick Robin bought the
original Batmobile driven in the iconic television series with a bid of
$4.2 million at an auction on Saturday.
Rick Champagne, a Phoenix-area logistics company owner, came away
with the black, futuristic two-seater featured in the "Batman" series
starring Adam West and Burt Ward from 1966 to 1968, following a flurry
of spirited bidding at the Scottsdale, Arizona, auction.
"I really liked Batman growing up and I came here with the
intention of buying the car," Champagne, 56, told Reuters in a brief
interview moments after he bought the car. "Sure enough, I was able to
buy it. That was a dream come true."
The Barrett-Jackson auction was the first time the car was put up
for public sale. In addition to the $4.2 million bid price, the buyer
will have to pay an additional roughly $420,000 in premiums.
The Batmobile is based on a 1955 Lincoln Futura, a concept car built in Italy by the Ford Motor Co.
In 1965, the concept car was bought for a nominal $1 by noted
customizer George Barris, who had a mere 15 days and $15,000 to
transform the vehicle for the show. He has owned it ever since.
Barris told Reuters he had supplied vehicles for movies and
television shows before, but this one had to be markedly different than
"With every pow, bang, wow, wee, I wanted the car to do something
just like the actors," said Barris, 87, in an interview before the
auction. "The car had to be a star on its own. And it became one."
The car has a V-8 engine and instruments in the steering wheel, plus innovative items like a push-button transmission.
But generations may remember it best for Bat gadgets added for the
series, including a car phone and the ability to deploy such things as
oil, smoke and nails to thwart villains - not to mention twin rear
parachutes for quick Bat turns.
Barris said the vehicle toured the country after the series and a
movie and then was housed in a private showroom in California. He said
it was time to part with the popular car and let a new owner have the
(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Eric Beech)