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Ever since Rick Champagne was a kid playing with his toy replica of the Batmobile, he’s wanted to own the iconic car from the 1960s Batman television series. On Saturday, that dream at last became a reality.
The Arizona businessman, and lifelong Batman fan, shelled out $4.62 million for the customized 1955 Lincoln Futura, the second-highest amount ever paid for a vehicle at the famed Barrett-Jackson collector car auctions (a 1966 Cobra Super Snake owned by auto designer and racing driver Carroll Shelby sold for a record $5.5 million in 2007).
“I’m going to keep it at home,” Champagne told SPEED TV. “Maybe take it out for a Sunday drive.” Asked whether he’d store the Batmobile in his garage, he said he’ll probably put it in his living room.
The Lincoln Futura concept car was originally purchased from Ford for $1 by legendary customizer George Barris, who transformed it into the Batmobile in just 15 days with a budget of $15,000. After the TV series ended, Barris purchased the 19-foot-long automobile and placed it on display in his North Hollywood custom-car shop.
Barris, now 87, also built vehicles for such TV shows as The Munters, The Beverly Hillbillies and My Mother the Car, but the Batmobile is by far his most famous creation. “I saw the script and it said, ‘Bang,’ ‘Pow,’ ‘Boom,’” Barris recalled in an interview last fall. “That’s exactly what I wanted the car to do. I wanted it to be as big a character as the actors.”