The Real First Batmobile Is Up for Auction Next Month

Nov 14, 2014 06:00 PM EST | Jordan Ecarma

The oldest vehicle known to be officially licensed as a Batmobile will be up for auction next month, and as a "more authentic" replica, it's a big deal for devotees of the comics from the 1940s and '50s.

Starting in 1960, a 23-year-old named Forrest Robinson and a friend customized a 1956 Oldsmobile 88 frame with a body featuring the "prominent front-end bat-nose and rear-end single fin" seen in the comic books, according to the Heritage Auctions listing.

The Batmobile was completed in 1963 and was soon noticed by All Star Dairies and its New Hampshire affiliate, Green Acres Ice Cream (a DC Comic Book licensee), which leased Robinson's silver masterpiece for promotional use.

Repainted in Batman colors and featuring official Batman badges, the car toured the eastern U.S. as "Batman's Batmobile" until it came back to Robinson in late 1966.

Here's where the first Batmobile takes a detour: Robinson sold it for just $200 when he needed money, and the work of pop culture art sat in a New Hampshire field for 50 years.

It was rediscovered in 2008 when Bobby Smith of Swanzey, N.H., found it and sold it to a Chicago rare car dealer.

Ending up in the hands of auto historian George Albright, the Batmobile was reunited with its original owners during Albright's "meticulous" research.

Toy Car Exchange LLC purchased the car in February 2013, restoring it to mint condition in a year-long process that managed to retain the vehicle's original frame, parts and engine.

Jalopnik noted that the Batmobile featured in the late-1960s TV series went for $4.2 million when it was auctioned off last year.

With an opening bid of $90,000, the first known Batmobile goes up for bid on Dec. 6 in Dallas, Texas. 

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