THE FIRST OFFICIALLY SANCTIONED BATMOBILE THAT EVER TOURED
"AS A YOUNG BOY, GROWING UP IN THE 1950's I ENJOYED BATMAN COMICS AND SEEING DIFFERENT VERSIONS OF THE BATMOBILE. THIS HELPED SERVE AS AN INSPIRATION
WHEN I DREW SKETCHES OF MY DREAM CAR THAT I STARTED BUILDING IN 1960 AND FINISHED IN 1963" - FORREST ROBINSON
The world's first custom car that toured as a Batmobile and was sanctioned by a DC Comics licensee in 1966, was conceived in 1960 and built in 1963 by 23-year-old Forrest Robinson. Forrest begun building the car together with a young friend, Len Perham, in the Robinson family barn. Robinson completed the car in 1963 - two years before the George Barris' customization of the TV Batmobile was started. The 1963 Batmobile is the earliest known custom car that was sanctioned by a DC Comics licensee in 1966 to be used as a Batmobile.
The ’63 Batmobile was custom-built from the ground up. Starting with a 1956 Oldsmobile 88 frame and the famous 324 Rocket engine—a predecessor of 1960s muscle cars—Robinson replaced the Oldsmobile body with his custom-designed fiberglass body, sporting the Batmobile’s iconic dorsal fin, bat-nose front-end and pocket sliding doors, reminiscent of the 1950s DC Comics Batmobiles. Specs of the Oldsmobile engine and frame can be viewed HERE.
When Robinson completed his masterpiece in 1963, he left the car unpainted —a stunning piece of art-on-wheels was simply covered in a coat of white primer. Robinson had also planned to build a glass-domed roof on the car which he did not have a chance to complete as he was called overseas on an army assignment. He left the car in storage for three years after using it as a regular driver for only a few months.
Upon Robinson's return from overseas in 1966, Batmania started in earnest and the car caused such a sensation that ALL STAR Dairies and its New Hampshire affiliate, Green Acres Ice Cream (a DC Comic Book licensee), leased it for a promotional campaign. The car was painted in official Batman colors, badged with official Batman labels, and toured the Eastern U.S. as “Batman’s Batmobile”, as noted in a 1966 Keene Sentinel newspaper article.
The Batmobile was returned to Robinson in late 1966, around the time when replicas of the Barris TV Batmobile were built and made available for touring. The Robinson Batmobile was, at this time, repainted into space-age silver and Robinson, again, used it as a driver until he sold the car in 1967. Within a few years,
the car lay abandoned in a New Hampshire field and for several decades remained a long-forgotten piece of American Pop Culture.
In 2008, the '63 Batmobile was discovered by Bobby Smith of Swanzey, NH. The car then changed hands several times.
In February 2013, Toy Car Exchange LLC purchased the Batmobile and transported it to Borbon Fabrications in Sacramento, CA - a specialist in
vintage car restorations. Restored to pristine condition, lovingly, in a painstaking, year-long process, retaining the original frame, parts, and engine,
the Batmobile was given a second life.
Early in 2014, the long-forgotten ’63 Batmobile debuted at the renowned Sacramento Autorama, America's longest running indoor car show. It won first prize in the handbuilt sports class, ahead of legendary classics such as the Shelby Cobra. In October of 2014, the car was invited to the prestigious Pasadena Car Classic show, where it was displayed together with three other Batmobiles.
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