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Batmobile leaves film cars standing
Metro, 15.02.2004
by Oliver Stallwood

With its voice-activated controls, retractable armour and arsenal of hi-tech weapons, no big-screen car can keep up with the Caped Crusader's. The Batmobile has been voted No.1 vehicle in a poll of film fans – ahead of James Bond's Aston Martin and The Italian Job's Mini Coopers.

The supercar first appeared in the Batman comic in 1941, evolved during the 1960s TV series and made its movie comeback in the 1989 film starring Michael Keaton.

Production designer Anton Furst wanted the 20ft vehicle to reflect the superhero's personality. 'I went for the most brutal expression of a car – an image which also suggest sex and violence,' he once said. 'We wanted to get menace, violence and all the intimidation that comes out of Batman's character into it.'

He led a dozen technicians to build the car for just £6,000 in 12 weeks. It was based on a Chevy Impala with its chassis lengthened by 30 in. The engine was also lowered by 1ft to allow for the low hoodline. Parts of the vehicle, including the air intake, were culled from jet aircraft by Mr Furst, who died in 1991.

The car has twin Browning machine-guns hidden in the top of the wheel-housings, an explosive grappling hook and afterburners.

Chris Dunne, of UCI Cinemas which carried out the poll, said: 'Whatever need Batman has is met by the Batmobile. The car is an integral part of the movie. 'There are 20 Bond films with a different version in each one. In Batman, the car remains the same.'

Lotus Esprit World's Comments

No. 9's not bad, considering the film was released 27 years ago. All I can say is, I doubt the batmobile has changed as many peoples motoring lifestyles as the Esprit. If it wasn't for 'The Spy Who Loved Me', who knows what I might be driving!

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