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.
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