Batmobile

This October, 2012 photo, shows the the original Batmobile in Los Angeles. Batman's original ride, from the 1960s TV series, will be auctioned on Jan. 19, 2013, at the Barrett-Jackson auction house in Scottsdale, Ariz. The 19-foot-long black, bubble-topped car was used in the TV show that starred Adam West as the Caped Crusader. Famed auto customizer George Barris transformed a one-of-a-kind 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car into a sleek crime-fighting machine. On the show, it boasted lasers and a Batphone and could lay down smokescreens and oil slicks. (AP Photo/Courtesy Barrett-Jackson/George Barris)

Barrett-Jackson

An Ahwatukee Foothills man scored the original 19-foot-long black, bubble-topped car used in the 1960s “Batman” TV show for $4.2 million Saturday night at the Barrett-Jackson car auction at WestWorld in Scottsdale.

Although the Barrett-Jackson Auction Co. is not officially disclosing the bidder, a live interview on Speed TV Saturday night revealed that the buyer is businessman, car collector and lifelong Batman fan Rick Champagne of Ahwatukee Foothills. He said he’s wanted to own the Batmobile “ever since I was a kid. I had a toy model of it.”

In the standing-room-only crowd bidding for the original Batmobile quickly climbed into the multi-millions. Champagne finally flipped a coin with the bidder in front of him to decide who would get the final $4.2 million bid.

“I’m going to keep it at home in my living room,” Champagne told Speed TV.

On Saturday the Batmobile rolled onto the stage to the “Batman!” theme song from the TV show, with the crowd rising to its feet and loud applause was everywhere when the car’s creator, George Barris, stepped out.

The iconic car was used by Adam West who starred as the Caped Crusader and by Burt Ward, his sidekick Robin known for exclamations beginning with — “Holy.”

Champagne, who is president and CEO of Tempe-based Champagne Logistics, told Speed TV that he was determined to win the Batmobile, although “I knew there were some real heavy hitters in the room.” It finally came down to him and one other determined guy, he said, but he prevailed with that final coin toss.

The $4.2 million price tag is said to swell another 10 percent when the auction’s bidder fee is added on. The Batmobile becomes the second highest-selling vehicle ever at a Barrett-Jackson auction, behind Carroll Shelby’s own 1966 Cobra Super Snake that sold in 2007.

The Batmobile was famously built in just a couple weeks by Barris and his crew in 1965 after they got a rush order from the studio that was about to begin production of “Batman.” The TV car was built from the 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car, which Barris had purchased years earlier from Ford for $1.

After the TV show ended in 1968, Barris kept the Batmobile, storing it at his north Hollywood custom-car shop and trailering it to auto events nationwide. This was the first time the Batmobile was ever put up for sale.

“It’s the most famous car in the world,” said Craig Jackson, chairman and CEO of Barrett-Jackson, as the Batmobile bidding climbed on Saturday night live on Speed TV.

It certainly lived up to its reputation.

Bob Golfen, automotive editor for SPEED.com and a veteran auto writer based in Phoenix, contributed to this story. Reach him at bgolfen@gmail.com.

Contact writer: (480) 898-7913 or kmixer@ahwatukee.com

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.