We had a chance to review the amazing Tumbler on Monday, but it’s still Batman week, right? So we thought we’d take another look at the most iconic superhero car of all. But you all know the Batmobiles by Burton and Schumacher intake-to-fin. Here’s a few Batman rides you might not have heard of.
Before there was the Batmobile, there was Batman, and he had to get around Gotham. The first car we ever see him driving comes from 1941’s Detective Comics #48, and it’s one of the most beautiful cars of its era – a 1936 Cord convertible. So classy you’d think Bruce Wayne just got fed up with his lack of Batmobile and took out one of his personal cars. This is likely the only FWD Batmobile in the lexicon.
The Cord wasn’t alone. Many Batmobiles of yore were based on production cars. The Porsche 904 Batmobile from 1973 might have been a problem for The Dark Knight, however. Only about 120 of the gorgeous 904s were produced, and we’re guessing they’re all accounted for. Track one to Bruce Wayne and you’ve got him. It first appears in Detective Comics #434.
Corvette Stingray Coupe
Admit it. The first time you saw a C3 Corvette Stingray you thought it would make a great Batmobile. The lines are perfect. It even looks like it has its own cape, no visual modifications required. Now, back in the day, Chevy initially advertised a 460 hp 454 LS7 option, but didn’t offer it. We’re guessing Batman made it happen for his Stingray, which showed up in 1972’s How Many Ways Can a Robin Die?
So yes. Bruce Wayne likes muscle cars. But they’re a bit too…plebian for taking out to the country club or for an evening at Gotham’s finest theatre. How do you release your pent-up muscle car love? The same way you release your pent-up anger and hatred for injustice: as Batman. He cruises at ’72 Mustang, perhaps a Mach 1, in Batman #247. Batman punches emissions testing in the teeth, so this one probably had the 429 Super Cobra Jet.
The Frank Tank
Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, from 1986, is one of the most memorable Batman series in the lexicon, both for its edgy, stocky art style and its wild, dystopian take on the theoretical future of Gotham. In TDKR, Batman comes out of retirement to win back the streets from violent gangs. When you’re old, pissed, short on patience, and Batman, you say, “Screw it. I’m taking the tank.” It’s armed with rubber bullet guns, plated with futuristically impervious armor, and even sports a large medical bay. Which you need when you’re 57 and you’re Batman.
The Long Hood
For many of us who were too young and impressionable to see the Tim Burton films, the car from 1992’s Batman: The Animated Series was the Batmobile. The engine sounded like a SBC through straight pipes, though the body was long enough to house three or four of them. The show (which won several awards and is still quite good for a Saturday morning cartoon), enjoyed a three year run, which was plenty of time for the Batmobile to rack up plenty of gadgets, including grappling hooks, a dumpster-transforming disguise, tire spears, tire tacks, and of course, a jet engine. It all sits in a gorgeous, art deco style body.
It’s enough to make you want to build a Batmobile of your own. Just do it right.