Sunday, November 14, 2021

A Bevy of Bat Buggies

 This week I've brought together a bunch of examples of the Batmobile from the past 60 years or so!

In 1966, Batman burst upon the TV screens and into the hearts of America. The show was campy and colorful and totally over the top. Adam West's deadpan delivery could have been "square," but the wild colors and fancy gadgets showed that it was all in good fun. 

The best gadget, by far, was the Batmobile. It was built by George Barris out of a Lincoln Futura show car that he purchased for one dollar. He really didn't have to do much to it, so I'd consider it a "mild modified" car.

There where a ton of companies that made their version of the  car then, and now. I think its easy to say that it is the most important TV car ever built. For a dollar.

Anyway, over the years I've collected a few. Here are my examples...

First, we have the 1/64 scale Playart example. This was produced in 1966 and looks a lot like the Corgi Husky car. However, Playart was a Hong Kong company, while Corgi hailed from Great Britain.

Here's the rather unremarkable underside.

Next we have the iconic Corgi Batmobile! 

Although Corgi started to make this model in 1966, this one is from ten years after that. You can tell that its the 1976 version because 1. The wheels don't have the red bats, 2. The trailor hitch, 3. The "flame" doesn't move in and out as it's rolled.
It does still have the rocket launcher pipes and the blade emergency brake.
I would like to have a 1966 version (like I did when I was a kid), but they are a little pricey.

Also in 1966, Aurora made a slot car Batmobile. I don't have one. I DO, however have the newer AutoWorld car. I love it!

This car is a work of art. It is packed with details, for such a small scale, and it is FAST.  And, by the way, it is several hundred dollars cheaper than the 1960s version.

Speaking of newer examples, a few years ago Hot Wheels came out with this:

Although produced by Mattel Hot Wheels, it's a larger scale, measuring about four inches long. They did a fantastic job with this car and if you put it along side the Corgi example, the Corgi suddenly looks pretty crude.

However, like the Corgi, there is a later version:

                           Ignore the Corgi....

Yep, just like Corgi, they added a trailer hitch, and Bat Boat! They clearly were taking aim at the most iconic version, and they did a fantastic job. Of course, it doesn't do anything except roll, so Corgi still wins there. (The boat does float)

Speaking of iconic versions, what about the actual comic book version from the 60s? Well, we have that covered too. A few years ago, Johnny Lightning came out with a die cast metal and plastic model kit of the DC Comic Batmobile. Here it is...

This model includes quite a bit of detailing. There are oil and smoke ports on the back, and a V8 under the hood. I had to paint everything except for the black and most of the silver parts, but it was pretty easy. This thing is pretty big, as you can see by the side by side picture with the Corgi version, and it has a nice weight to it. All in all, a pretty good effort on Johnny Lightning's part!

So there you have it! Will I get more Batmobiles? Probably eventually. Heck I might even replace my original Corgi version. I'll just have to keep my eyes peeled!

Until next time, keep searching for treasure!


  1. One of the coolest toys that I never had. I had a neighbor who had the Mego Batmobile and Batcave play set. Fun memories of playing with that in his driveway…and rolling the car down to the street. The collector in me cringes, but the kid in me knows that it was made to be played with and provided many hours of entertainment for at least a couple of little boys.

    I surprised my girlfriend once by blindfolding her, driving her to the mall (while playing the Danny Elfman Batman score), leading her into the building, and then removing the blindfold while she was standing in front of one of the touring Batmobiles. I have a Polaroid of us sitting in it. She married me anyway.

    1. I mourn many cool toys, but you're right- I did have a blast playing with them like a maniac!
      Hey, that was a great date!
      I saw one of the touring TV show Batmobiles about 15 years ago at the State Fair. Very cool!
      Here's a side story- A collector bought one of the original Batmobiles and he needed to change the battery out due to it having sat so long. He couldn't open the hood. The only latch was a push button activated electric release.
      True? I don't know, but I hope so!

  2. You have a great collection! My brother and I (both huge fans of the 1966 Batman show) had Corgi Batmobiles, and I always loved those things, from the flame that moved in and out, to the "chain chopper" (or whatever it was called), to the missiles that it could launch. Such a great toy, I wish we still had ours... mom probably got rid of them, but they would not be worth much because I'm sure we played with them HARD. I've been tempted to shell out the bucks to buy a vintage example in good condition, but... $$$. I also want a Corgi Yellow Submarine! And a "Black Beauty"! And the James Bond car! And... and....

    1. Corgi was truly the coolest toy car company EVER!
      When my mom and grandmother drug me along shopping, I was sometmes rewarded with a Corgi bought from Sanger-Harris department store. I can still remember the display case clearly. A white masonite affair with a top with glass doors protecting car samples and sliding doors on the bottom that held the brightly colored boxes. Heaven.
      I'm pretty sure my original Corgi Batmobile was VERY rough before I finally lost it. I do still have a few childhood Corgis, but not that one (or My Black Beauty). I have abother BB, but I got it at a toy show...

  3. The Johnny Lightning version is sweet! You can't have too many Batmobiles.

  4. Hi Stu, I'm late to the party. Cool post about some favorite toys. I never had any of these cars, but I had a plastic toy Batcave that came with a plastic Batmobile. I remember taking it in the back of the station wagon on the trips to Disneyland.

    We cleaned up my son's room recently (with his help) and found his Batmobile car from the more recent movies. He was going to toss it, and I scooped it for my collection.

    Also, if any of you have a Roku stick, you can stream the Batman 1967 classic series from the Roku channel. My wife hates it, but it's great to see all of that again.


    1. Thanks, JG!
      I DO have Roku! I'll have to check it out (and probably bug my wife too)


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