I don’t like throwing the adjective “iconic” around too often, but in the case of the 1966 Batmobile, I think it is fitting. For many who grew up watching television from the mid-1960s onwards, the sleek, black, double-bubble canopy-equipped vehicle driven by Adam West’s Batman is THE Batmobile.
The task of crafting a Batmobile for the Batman TV series was originally assigned by executive producer William Dozier to custom fabricator and hot rodder Dean Jeffries, who started work on a custom 1959 Cadillac in late summer of 1965. As the show’s January 1966 television debut loomed and it became clear that Jeffries would not be able to meet the deadline for delivery of the car, the project was re-assigned to custom car designer George Barris. With design input from 20th Century Fox production artist Eddie Graves, Barris and his Barris Kustom City crew spent three weeks and $30,000 on modifying a 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car and turning it into the classic Batmobile that we know today. Three fiberglass-bodied exhibition replicas based on the 1965/1966 Ford Galaxie chassis were built by Barris Kustom City in October of 1966, and along with the original, continue to appear on the auto show and TV/film/comics convention circuit to this day.
The 1966 Batmobile replica featured on the Fan Expo Vancouver floor was built by Morgan Lachmanec of Wild West Garage, on a 1976 Lincoln Continental chassis. It features a drivetrain and 5-speed transmission from a 1999 Mustang GT 4.6L and puts out approximately 250 horsepower. The Cowichan Valley-based custom car builder began his Batmobile replica project in 2004, initially working on it full-time before shifting to a more relaxed build schedule and finally completing it in the three weeks before its Fan Expo Vancouver debut. If all goes well, this should just be the first of many appearances on the convention circuit for the shapely four-wheeler.