If you were like most of Westport yesterday — out of town, on spring break — you missed two things:
- The 7th straight day of fantastic, June-like weather, and
- The Batmobile.
I’m not sure whether Batman or Robin was behind the wheel, but somehow it landed at Dragone Classic Motorcars. The showrooom is located in the old Saab dealership on Post Road West. You can find it by GPS, though the Batmobile is way more high-tech than that.
Jim Motavalli — the Staples grad who writes about cars for the New York Times — blogged about the vehicle:
(The) driver’s seat is cozy, with everything from the missile launchers to the Detect-o-Scope within easy reach. Everything has a little red sign, including the squarish “Bat Moniter.” Yes, it’s spelled that way. The Batmobile introduced some technology that actually happened eventually, including a FAX-like machine that could transmit photos.
Among other features: a Bat Turbine Switch (the car was supposedly turbine powered, explaining that macho flaming exhaust), the push-button Bat Phone (30 years before cars actually had phones), the Bat Compass, and bat insignias everywhere—on the wheels, the floor mats, the doors, even the seat belts.
The “Emergency Bat Turn Lever” was for turning the car around in emergencies; it deployed the parachutes, which this car indeed has. Completing the period look is a non-working Pioneer eight-track player.
Gotham City being Hollywood, this Batmobile was actually a stunt double. According to Jim, the Dragone car — with a General Motors chassis and a 327 V-8 — is “said to be Batmobile #5, used for stunt driving and chase scenes.” A 1966 letter that comes with the car said it is serial number #00005, and was “the main stunt car for the Batman TV show.”
Jim said that owner George Dragone estimates the Batmobile will sell for between $500,000 and $750,000.
Holy 1 percent, Batman!
(Bonus “Batman” fun fact: Frank Gorshin — the Riddler on the TV show — lived in Westport for many years. In fact, his house was just few hundred yards from Dragone, where the Batmobile landed today.)
(The Dragone collectibles auction is set for Saturday, May 19, 10 a.m. If the Batmobile is not your style, check out the Duesenberg Model J — it could sell for up to $2 million. Among the more than 50 other vehicles: a Ferrari 250 GT Lusso, and a 1911 Stanley Steamer. Click here for details.)
Click below for Jim Motavalli’s YouTube video of the Batmobile: