‘Does It Come In Black?’ — The Story Behind The Batmobile And Its Many Models

The Batmobile might be the most iconic fictional car this side of James Bond’s many, many Q-improved Aston Martins. But it’s also one that’s been through any number of changes, redesigns, and rebuilds over the years, which means there’s a Batmobile for everybody.

The original Batmobile was a stock red convertible, but Batman didn’t let that stay for long. By 1941, Batman had a sleek, black car with a huge batfin on the back and a giant Batman hood ornament on the front, which happened to be useful for ramming things. But it didn’t become iconic until 1966, where George Barris modified a Lincoln Futura concept car into a Batmobile for the TV series that saved the Caped Crusader from obscurity.

When the ’80s came along, there was plenty of excess in Batman comics, the most notable being that the Batmobile became a monster truck in classic storylines The Dark Knight Returns and The Cult. But all that changed in 1989, when Tim Burton’s Batman drove a sleek, jet-thruster powered two-seater. And, of course, in the 21st century, Christopher Nolan gave us the Tumbler. This Friday, we’ll see a new Batmobile, halfway between Burton’s ’40s-inspired style and the Tumbler’s hard military lines, but at least one thing will stay the same: Crashing it into Superman is always a bad idea.