In November 1966, George Barris and the Producer’s of the Batman TV show decided to build copies of the Batmobile to capitalize on the success of the show and the car. Barris and his crew pulled a mold from the #1 Batmobile and created 3 fiberglass copies.
From the agreement dated August 15, 1966, “…all of the parties hereto are desirous of exhibiting to the public for profit vehicles copies from and representing exactly the aforesaid Batmobile…BARRIS is authorized to construct such copies of the Batmobile vehicle as FOX and GREENWAY may approve…”
From a 1967 document, “The demand for bookings (car shows & appearances) has been greater…as we do not have enough cars and can not move them around the country quick enough to fill all the requests. Naturally, another car would bring more income which would be beneficial…”
No, each one was unique in its own way. “Such copies of the Batmobile shall be faithful reproductions as to the quality and design of the Batmobile currently used by FOX and GREENWAY.” The “Dragster” did have a larger racing engine (427 ci), a bigger tire & rim combination and four small holes on each side of the rear canopy (to prevent the canopy from blowing out). It also shot flames from the turbine exhaust. Also, replica #2 & 4 did not have headlights while #3 did. The wheel bats on the replicas were all one-piece concave aluminum castings. The bat design was different than the #1.
Yes, the #4 Batmobile was seen during “The Contaminated Cowl” episode which aired January 4, 1967. The key to spotting the replica is the cylindrical beacon cage (versus conical shape of the #1), the different colored arch lights & the larger red antler lights. The replica arch lights have a red/yellow pattern versus the red/red on the #1.
From the agreement dated August 15, 1966, “BARRIS agrees to affix permanently upon each vehicle produced hereunder appropriate copyright and trademark notices and supplied by NATIONAL PERIODICALS in the following form…”
“Batmobile”–The Barris Kustom Insignia–“Powered by…” The Ford Oval Insignia–“Greenway Productions…Mr. W. Dozier”–“Filmed at “20th” Century T.V.”–“National Periodicals Inc. “67”–“Design Patent…George Barris”–“ABC-Television…Batman”
In 1968, George Barris decided to cover his #2 exhibition car in flocking or “Bat-fuzz.” This velvety, fuzzy finish was used on the cars as a trendy addition to accent their features. It was accomplished by first spraying the cars with epoxy and then spraying them with nylon fibers that were electro-statically applied. Nylon flocking was resistant to dirt, stains and more durable than paint.
The #3 was fuzzed in the early 1970’s
The #4 was fuzzed in 1970
The first was built by Jim Sermersheim, a Batmobile fan, who set-out to build a working Batmobile replica. Using magazine photos and the Batman TV show as a reference, he created his custom car from a ’58 Ford Thunderbird. He toured his car around the country (including Canada) for approximately two years before finally selling it. Eventually George Barris would acquire it and the car would become part of Barris’ Batmobile stable. This car is commonly known as the “#5” car.
The second car was built by a British fan in 1966 from a ’58 Chevy Impala. The car was brought to various events in the UK and could be seen in promotional photos with the British band, “Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich.”