Continuing the Dark Knight’s 75th anniversary, we present 10 iconic Batmobiles illustrated by David Lo.
To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Batman franchise, we first documented The Complete History of Batman in TV and Film and we now present 10 illustrated versions of Batman’s iconic vehicles by David Lo exclusively for us here at Highsnobiety. While most will associate the Dark Knight’s vehicle of choice with Christopher Nolan’s Tumbler, the Caped Crusader has in fact driven a handful of cars, each a symbol of the era through its combination of design, function and technology. From the original red sedan from the Batman comic books in 1939 to the teased photo of the Batmobile from Zach Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Bruce Wayne’s most stylish modes of transportation are seen below.
Batman Comic Books: 1939 – Original Red Sedan
Bruce Wayne’s car first appeared in Detective Comics #39 from May of 1939 in “The Case of the Chemical Syndicate.” However, the first time the term “Batmobile” coined by co-creator Bill Finger was used was in Detective Comics #48 (February 1941), based off of a 1936 Cord 812, a red convertible.
Batman Comic Books: 1941 – Black and Blue
Jerry Robinson (creator of Batman rogue Joker) created the next Batmobile, originally appearing in Batman #5 from March of 1941 (cover date) in “The Riddle of the Missing Card.” Basing the main design off the 1936 convertible, Robinson added a miniature bat hood ornament and bat-shaped battering ram. The colors changed from red to a solid black and dark blue pattern.
Batman Comic Books: 1943 – Bat Logo
The “1940s Batmobile” standard was originally designed by Dick Sprang and first appeared in Batman #20 from December 1943/January 1944 (cover date). Batman #20 holds the first “Batmobile cover,” with Batman and Robin in the car. The black Studebaker-based car included red stripes on either side and a Bat-mask symbol grill and a dramatic roof fin.
Batman TV Series: 1966 – Crime Fighting Gets Campy
The “Classic” Batmobile from the Batman television series is based off an original 1955 Lincoln Futura, designed by William M. Schmidt. The car transformed into the Batmobile thanks to George Barris of Barris Kustom City in 1965, a year before the show’s debut on January 22, 1966. According to Barris’ design, the car was a sleek black with a red line with bubble canopy, attached with dozens of bat-like gadgets and outer accessories.
Batman Mythology: 1986 – Armor Added
Batman’s 1986 Batmobile was based off of a military tank, first used in the four-issue Elseworlds story arc Batman: The Dark Knight Returns created by writer Frank Miller and artist Klaus Janson against the Mutant gang rising in Gotham City. With a gunmetal interior and exterior heavily armored with grenades and rocket launchers, this was the largest Batmobile created thus far.
Batman and Batman Returns: 1989 – Tim Burton’s Version
Production designer Anton Furst created the 1989 Burton Batmobile. Although the Batmobile was a Furst custom build, the actual car was made by putting together two Impala chassis, powered by a Chevy V8 sitting on Mickey Thompson racing tires. Taking away the large Bat mask and having subtle yet powerful gadgets attached, Burton’s Batmobile rivals the most popular car next to the Adam West series.
Batman: The Animated Series: 1992 – Nostalgic Noir
Artist and designer Shayne Poindexter for the 1992 television show Batman: The Animated Series created a Batmobile with heavy influence from Tim Burton’s Batman film universe including an elongated film, square patterns and a flat, blunt hood. In addition to gadgets that couldn’t exist in a live action vehicle, such as tear gas dispensers, the Burton-inspired animated vehicle captured the 1940s noir setting.
Batman Forever: 1995 – Animal Instincts
Joel Schumacher’s 1995 film Batman Forever brought designer Barbara Ling and construction by TransFX Inc to create a Batmobile that was vibrant to its change of tone from Burton’s dark setting, making the car have literal ribs and wings to set apart from previous vehicles. Although there is no base car, it hints to past Batmobiles with a canopy cockpit, roof fin and memorable jet exhaust. This Batmobile has the shortest life span, being destroyed on set in the Batcave by The Riddler.
Batman Begins: 2005 – The Tumbler
The new Batmobile for Nolan’s 2005 film Batman Begins was designed by Christopher Nolan and Nathan Crowley and built by engineers Chris Corbould and Andy Smith. Wanting to make this car as realistic as possible, the car is nine feet wide x 15 feet long, weighing 2.5 tons and can reach 100 MPH. There is no base vehicle for the Tumbler but the chassis was based off of the nose of a Lockheed P-38 Lightning, fighter aircraft and its build of a military tank.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: 2016 – Military Grade
Zack Snyder’s tweeted photos of the Batmobile for March 25th 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice seems to be a hybrid vehicle of part-military and off-road race car. But with its sleek design the Batmobile has the potential to pick up speed and stand against presented foes, even the Man of Steel himself.
Enjoy all 10 vehicles above and read The Complete History of Batman in TV and Film.
Londyn Jackson for Highsnobiety.com