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Movies Transportation Idle Build

The Home-Built Dark Knight Batmobile 87

ElectricSteve writes "RM Auctions recently declared James Bond's Aston Martin DB5 to be 'the world's most famous car,' but there's no doubt that there is another contender for that title — the Batmobile. One thing that muddies the waters a bit is the fact that the term 'Batmobile' actually describes at least three different vehicles: the modified Lincoln Futura concept car from the '60s TV series, the vaguely Corvette-shaped 1989-and-beyond movie cars, and now the car from the most recent two movies, the military-spec Tumbler. Michigan-based movie props artist Bob Dullam really likes the Tumbler, so he did what any of us would do in his position — he built one of his own from scratch."


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The Home-Built Dark Knight Batmobile

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  • by Drakkenmensch ( 1255800 ) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @10:52AM (#34037442)
    Saw it on Discovery's Daily Planet, the man is seriously talented to duplicate something so complex that doesn't have any sort of available blueprints.
    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IU6dBAYywA [youtube.com]

      Seriously samzenpus, what's your next "news" story?
      Are you gonna tell us about this brand new Batman movie with aweeeeesoooomeeeee Joker played by (yourenotgonnabelieveit) Heath Ledger of all people?
      Or how about the upcoming Star Trek reboot - with completely new actors playing the original crew?

      FFS... Can't there be SOME quality control to his stories posted here?

  • TFA says it's "fully functional". I say, rocket-jumping and missile launch or it doesn't count. :b
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      It also seems much smaller, like a midget batmobile or perhaps a smaller version of the batmobile that robin would ride.

      • I got to see one of the drivable movie prop Tumblers up close a couple of years ago and one of the things that really struck me was how small it was. It definitely looks much larger on screen.
    • I don't think it even has an e-brake notice the wheel blocks.
      • by karnal ( 22275 )

        e-brake or not, if you have a car that you're still working on you should always chock the wheels. It's still a work in progress and if he wants to make sure it stays put, that's a definite must-do.

    • OK, for myself, "fully functional" means I can take it to the corner store and do some shopping... but according to TFA this thing is not street legal.
      I'll admit the armaments would be handy during rush-hour.
      "Oh, your left turn signal seems to be stuck in the ON position, let me fix that for you..."
      • I doubt the "real batmobile" ever would have been street legal. One registration search and owned by "Wayne Industries" would have caused a bunch of lawsuits. The costs on roof damage alone would have ruined stock price.
        • Street legal is equipment requirements, many cars sold throughout the world are not street legal in the USA. License, registration and (for the real Batmobile) the big one, insurance, all come into play after you have a vehicle that is street legal.

          I wonder what kind of a premium you would have for something that crashes through buildings and what not.

          "Hello, Prudential? Hey did you see the TV report about the car chase that led to the eventual building collapse downtown? Well, funny story, I kinda did th
          • For the insurance, you probably couldn't get a standard full coverage policy and would have to take out some sort of liability plus a vanity rider.

            I had that problem with a restored 1969 Chevelle. Almost any damage to it and they wanted to blue book it and total it out. This was because it was out of production for so long, they simply treat it as too much to repair or something. I actually had a drunk back into me at a cruise in once. It only scratched the chrome on the bumper and their insurance company w

            • I had a buddy that liked to restore cars, his last one was a 49 Ford Coup with a flathead V8. I think he used Farmers for full coverage (i.e. repair cost) as a "show car", but there were limits as to total miles per year he could drive the thing.
              • I didn't know they offered anything like that. I'm going to have to check into it.

                It's hard to valuate the costs of repairs when a lot of it is going to end up being custom work and/or fabrication because the OEM or even aftermarket parts aren't available. Your generally left with some bloated priced piece you need or restoring a junkyard- or less then perfect piece, or in some cases, even making your own. This is were sweat equity pays off.

                Maybe the value of the '49 Ford was more then the blue book of my '

  • But the steering seems weirdly designed and probably not to easy to control at hi way speeds.
  • by balaband ( 1286038 ) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @10:58AM (#34037520)
    ...to which extents Engineers are willing to go to get laid. Amin, brother.
  • FTA

    Dullam has even been contacted by defense contractors about using their transparent aluminum in the windows.

    Obviously not the stuff made famous from Star Trek...Maybe Transparent Alumina or Aluminium Oxynitride.
  • by splutty ( 43475 ) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @11:04AM (#34037600)

    It's a damn shame that to make this thing street legal, you actually have to crash a bunch of them.

    And building like 10 of them, is going to be a real issue.

    • by confused one ( 671304 ) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @11:19AM (#34037814)
      It could be handled like a kit car. Most of those (kit cars) wouldn't pass modern crash testing because they're based on older designs. But, you can get them titled, inspected & certified for use on the road and insured.
      • by Nadaka ( 224565 )

        This is true, but the process is a lot longer and more expensive than titling a standard vehicle.

        After an accident a few years ago, my insurance company made a mistake on the paperwork that resulted in my truck having its VIN number retired. It only took about 1200 to get the truck fully functional again. I looked into the process of having it retitled as a custom vehicle, but it wasn't worth the effort to me at the time.

        • by name_already_taken ( 540581 ) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @12:27PM (#34038830)

          You made it hard on yourself by starting with a mass-produced vehicle. In that case the State wants to make it hard to make sure you're not trying to pull something like re-titling a stolen vehicle.

          In Illinois, it's pretty easy and not expensive at all. It doesn't even cost any more than titling and registering a normal mass-manufactured car.

          Here's what you need to title a homebuilt or kit vehicle in Illinois:

          • Three photos of the completed vehicle showing front, side, and rear views.
          • Title for the chassis and all bills of sale or other ownership documents for any essential parts of the vehicles, or a certificate of origin from the manufacturer if the vehicle was assembled entirely from a kit. (Now, this could be interesting. Bill of sale for the presumably used engine, or title from an existing car's chassis or floorpan usually works)
          • Completed title (or title and registration) application. (Same form you use to title and register a normal car)
          • Check made out to the Secretary of State for $65 (title only) or $143 (title and registration). (Same fees as a titling and registering a normal car)
          • Sales tax form with a check made out to the Illinois Department of Revenue for the amount of sales tax due. (Presumably this would be $0 for a homebuilt vehicle)

          There's also an inspection by the State, which doesn't sound any worse than the normal safety inspection people have in places like NY State. (Illinois doesn't routinely inspect cars)

        • by tgd ( 2822 )

          Even in the most difficult of states its pretty easy to have a car that has never had a VIN titled -- you just typically do a state inspection where they verify there are no stolen parts on it.

          Its different if its salvage or a car based on something otherwise previously titled. From scratch cars are easy to title, but harder to pass inspection with.

          Your difficulty was because you started with a chassis that had a pre-existing VIN associated with it.

      • I think the open wheel design would bar it from being street legal in most states regardless.

      • by Plekto ( 1018050 ) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @01:06PM (#34039398)

        So what exactly would be the outcome of a crash test where the car takes out the wall and keeps going?

      • I call BS, the old KITT could safely crash through just about anything up to and including an immovable object. The new one got trashed in every other episode.
    • I do not know what state you live in but you can defiantly register a home made vehicle in CT and I would suspect many other states. I helped build a dune buggy years ago and it had to go through a special inspection, pretty much they wanted paperwork on any car parts you used (the receipt from the junk yard for the 4 brake assembles and the engine itself) and made sure it had legal bumpers wheel wells and seat belts beyond the usual inspections. They issue the vehicle a VIN number that you have to bolt

      • I do not know what state you live in but you can defiantly register a home made vehicle in CT and I would suspect many other states.

        Why does everything have to do done with so much attitude these days? I look back with nostalgia to the days when I could peacefully register a kit car. Now you're saying you have to be defiant to get it done. Oh, for the good old days.

    • That's only for mass-market sale. To simply get a handbuilt vehicle street-legal, you just have to have bumpers of the right height, lights that work, license plates, whatever the local ordinances require. There's no crash-testing needed.

      You think custom motorcycle manufacturers make 10 bikes for each one they sell?

      • Yeah, and bumpters is not something this has. It is not designed to pass inspection, it is designed to look like the original and otherwise look cool.

    • It's a damn shame that to make this thing street legal, you actually have to crash a bunch of them.

      And building like 10 of them, is going to be a real issue.

      the issue with street legality may not be a matter of paperwork and money (or crash testing it).

      Laws often state that no sharp edges may be found on the outside. The car may legally be required to have a bumper too for example. Or the windscreen has certain requirements that this thing will fail to pass. Laws change everywhere, but what I am getting at is that the builder of this batmobile may not even have to try to pass a test for street legality, because he 'knows already that hell fail.

    • he may actually get to crashing 10, since there seems to be no way to see out the front when you're driving it.
    • heck at 150mph thats reaching about the average top speed of any cop car, I'd say go for it!
    • It's a damn shame that to make this thing street legal, you actually have to crash a bunch of them.

      And building like 10 of them, is going to be a real issue.

      Actually, you'd have to do more than that in order to make it street legal. It has no mirrors and no signal lights, for starters.

      You wouldn't want it the way it was originally designed anyway, other than as something to look at. I've seen the original prop, and the inside was pretty barren. Other than the basic controls, a seat, and a seatbelt, the entire inside is pretty much just sheet aluminum. The guy I saw backing it off a trailer (with lots of help btw, as with no back window and no mirrors, he

    • by IrquiM ( 471313 )
      You only have to crash 3 of them in Norway, so building 4 would be sufficient
  • 150mph?! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    There's no way that 350 hp, 4000 lb hunk of rolling wind resistance is going to hit 150 mph.

    • It will when you replace that exhaust with a RATO bottle.
    • by Fishead ( 658061 )

      There's no way that 350 hp, 4000 lb hunk of rolling wind resistance is going to hit 150 mph.

      It's a Chevy Small Block 350 V8 with a TH-350. Same motor-transmission that is in my '77 Chevy truck.

      If I ever get my motor re-assembled, I am hoping to have more then 350 HP but it's the torque I am after. There's no way my truck would hit 240kmh, but if I balanced everything, used a forged aluminum crank, blah blah blah I'd expect to be able to rev to 7000RPM and with the right gearing 240kmh shouldn't be a problem.

      But I'm building mine for the bush and hope for a minimum top speed of 100kmh.

      I'll take t

  • And this batpod [gizmag.com] is street legal.

  • And he used a mac [bobdullam.com] to build it. Scroll to the 5th picture....

  • I fell in love with the Tumbler when I first saw it. It's a perfect blend of a Formula 1 race car and, um, a F-117 fighter. It makes all previous Batmobiles look like a joke. No useless neon lights or un-necessary bat logos everywhere.

    I'm curious how he implemented the steering system. There's not really anything mechanical between the 2 front tires. Just a bunch of hydraulics with the steering rack way in behind, extending it with control arms?

    • The steering looks like pretty standard knuckles (from the tiny, tiny picture) with perhaps smaller than stock wheels on them and a way different offset. Instead of pointing out they point in. Can't get a clear look at the steering linkages, which means it could easily be either hydraulic or mechanical. It looks like it has a sort of modified bellcrank front suspension, maybe it has a similar arrangement in steering.

      The ball joints wear out a lot on mid-90s and earlier Fords because the ball joint is so far

  • Does it come in black?

  • Did they just say "transparent aluminum"?

    I was under the impression that .... To create transparent aluminium, more power than is used by an entire city had to be focused into a dot with a diameter of less than one-twentieth the thickness of a human hair, and then could only maintain the transparent state for 40 femtoseconds. (wikipedia)

  • I just had to create a youtube account to upload this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dr_EjKV5CM [youtube.com] . It's from almost ten years ago (Greek TV), so perhaps the current version is less hilarious?

  • I'm curious if he can hit a self destruct button and have the car split into the motorcycle!

  • From the article:

    Dullam has even been contacted by defense contractors about using their transparent aluminum in the windows.

    Did I miss my chance to meet Scotty? We actually have this stuff now? Since when does reality follow after fiction?

  • Australians built one a while back. http://www.flickr.com/photos/highoctanephotos/4569942668/ [flickr.com]
  • You can see it this week at the Kalamazoo Harold Zeigler [hzkalamazoo.com] car dealership on Stadium Drive.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"