Sometimes nostalgia can be a powerful thing. It certainly proved to be this past Saturday night, as the original 1966 Batmobile rolled across the stage in Scottsdale. As soon as its presence at the auction was announced, it became one of the most highly-anticipated vehicles of the evening, overshadowing even other one-of-a-kind vehicles, including the one-off 1968 Shelby EXP Mustang prototype. Barrett-Jackson CEO Craig Barrett called the Batmobile the "most famous car in the world" and judging by the level of excitement at the auction, it was not over-sold.
The cynics were quickly silenced once bidding began, with the bids going into the seven figure range almost immediately. The crowds cheered ever more loudly as bidding continued. When the hammer finally came down, the car fetched $4.2 million dollars before fees. The winning bid was made by Rick Champagne of Ahwatukee, Arizona, CEO of Champagne Logistics. To keep the excitement level high, the Batmobile's creator, the legendary George Barris, accompanied the car onto the stage, and offered his personal Batmobile jacket to the winning bidder.
The Batmobile started life as a 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car that Barris bought from Ford for $1. It was built as a rush order from the studio with a 15-day deadline and a $15,000 budget. Since its original building, Barris has always retained ownership of the car.
Although the sum fetched for the Batmobile is impressive, it is closely matched by the $4.1 million paid for the 1964 Aston Martin DB5 featured in the James Bond movies Goldfinger and Thunderball at an RM Auction in 2010.
Source: Speed TV, Barrett-Jackson