Fresh off the heels of Comic-Con International and anticipating Friday’s theatrical release of The Dark Knight Rises, superhero geeks worldwide are in a state of euphoria. And if we’re honest, so are we here at E3 Spark Plugs. Not only is Batman one of the most enduringly popular superheroes since his character originated in a 1939 comic book, his various rides have been the most enviable out there.
Some of the most imaginative Batmobiles never made it off the pages of a DC Comics comic book. But a few actually came to life on the sets of various TV shows and feature films. The first full size, fully operational Batmobile debuted with the Batman television series in 1966. Though the show remained in production just two years, that groovy dome-topped, red-trimmed and finned ride based on the Ford Futura remains a favorite among ardent fans of the Batman franchise nearly a half-century later. Rockets, lasers, radar, onboard computers, telephone and even a chain slicer all were far-out features for the day.
It would be another two decades before another live action Caped Crusader feature appeared in the Tim Burton-helmed Batman and Batman Returns starring Michael Keaton as Gotham’s crime-fighting reclusive billionaire Bruce Wayne, aka Batman. Ever since, each new on-screen installment of the Batman saga has sought to outdo the last with its own Batmobile rendition. And none have come cheap. It’s estimated that Wayne’s inflation-adjusted costs for his iconic rides ran from $32,000 for the original Batmobile, a 1936 Cord featured in the 1941 comic book, to $358,000 for the “tumbler” based on military tank technology. Accounting for the 100+ Batmobiles created, whether on paper or in metal, that’s an average of $214,700 each.
So which is your favorite Batmobile? E3 Spark Plugs shares a few favorites over the years, including one or two that remains in existence only in the comic books. Scroll down to see our top picks, plus The Dark Knight Rises trailer and a blast from Batman’s TV past. Then, post your favorites on the E3 Spark Plugs Facebook fan page.