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The Home-Built Dark Knight Batmobile

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the taking-the-little-jokers-to-school dept.

Movies 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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As seen on Discovery channel (3, Interesting)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:As seen on Discovery channel (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34039456)

I'm very shocked that slashdot would link to a site called jizmag without a NSFW warning. If this comes back to me, I'll lose my job. It's almost like egg on my face. Someone needs to clean this site up.

Re:As seen on Discovery channel (1)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 3 years ago | (#34039776)

Well then, you've saved yourself the trouble of finding out your employer has absolutely no capacity for critical thought.

Re:As seen on Discovery channel (1)

unitron (5733) | more than 3 years ago | (#34052890)

You left out one of the "z's", so if your boss backtracks your surfing he'll just hit a "site not found"-type message or a re-direct to Yahoo or something, so you'll be okay.*

*(until he sees Slashdot in your list of visited sites)

As seen on youtube - 2 YEARS AGO (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 3 years ago | (#34040954)

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?

Re:As seen on youtube - 2 YEARS AGO (1)

Dever (564514) | more than 3 years ago | (#34050836)

Quality control?
Did you steal someones uid? Cuzzzz...obviously no, no qc

Re:As seen on youtube - 2 YEARS AGO (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 3 years ago | (#34053988)

Compared to this pus guy, ACs posting goatse links have quality control.

a "fully functioning" Batmobile? (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037456)

TFA says it's "fully functional". I say, rocket-jumping and missile launch or it doesn't count. :b

Re:a "fully functioning" Batmobile? (2, Funny)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037476)

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

Re:a "fully functioning" Batmobile? (1)

mattgoldey (753976) | more than 3 years ago | (#34038568)

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.

Re:a "fully functioning" Batmobile? (1)

JDmetro (1745882) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037612)

I don't think it even has an e-brake notice the wheel blocks.

Re:a "fully functioning" Batmobile? (1)

karnal (22275) | more than 3 years ago | (#34039966)

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.

Re:a "fully functioning" Batmobile? (1)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 3 years ago | (#34038258)

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..."

Re:a "fully functioning" Batmobile? (1)

crakbone (860662) | more than 3 years ago | (#34039114)

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.

Re:a "fully functioning" Batmobile? (1)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 3 years ago | (#34040756)

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 that with my car... so... my deductible is still $500, right?"

Re:a "fully functioning" Batmobile? (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 3 years ago | (#34047092)

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 wanted to total the car out and give me $600. Mind you, this was the third trip out after a frame up restoration. Ended up costing me about $1200 to have the bumper sent out to be fixed and re-chromed.

Anyways, most insurance companies won't pay out for deliberate acts. So if you deliberately drive through the building, they would likely laugh and hang up.

Re:a "fully functioning" Batmobile? (1)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 3 years ago | (#34049096)

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.

Re:a "fully functioning" Batmobile? (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 3 years ago | (#34053338)

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 '69 Chevelle. But they do seem to concentrate on the book value (if they can find it) and if the repair is within 80% or so, they try to total it out. Or so it seems. That's where the vanity rider comes in, you claim it's worth X dollars and they go by that instead of the book value. And ironically, the insurance company uses a different version of the book value that is specific to junking cars so it doesn't even match the blue book value that your bank would loan as collateral against it. I rolled a 2 year old Geo Storm after hitting a cow that walked in front of me as I was rounding a curve the third day I had it. I gave 3k down and purchased it already at 2k below the bank's book value and ended up owing $1200 for the purchase price after the insurance paid out. Seems to me that I should have been a couple grand up on it. The worse part about it is that I had to pay for the cow too (another $900), even though something (dog or something) was chasing it into the road.

Kind of cool. (1)

JDmetro (1745882) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037518)

But the steering seems weirdly designed and probably not to easy to control at hi way speeds.

It just shows.... (3, Funny)

balaband (1286038) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037520)

...to which extents Engineers are willing to go to get laid. Amin, brother.

Re:It just shows.... (4, Informative)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037910)

Tbh, it works; if someone built me a Batmobile I'd definitely sleep with him.

Re:It just shows.... (1)

balaband (1286038) | more than 3 years ago | (#34038682)

I can only imagine how tough can it be for a 'Gaygirlie' to find someone to do so:

Women engineer + Gay + Batmobile building skills

Oh boy, and I thought I have it tough

Re:It just shows.... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34038744)

Here [partiesinpackages.com.au] you go ;^)

Re:It just shows.... (4, Funny)

Nitewing98 (308560) | more than 3 years ago | (#34038974)

"It's the car. Chicks always dig the car." --Batman

Re:It just shows.... (1)

savvysteve (1915898) | more than 3 years ago | (#34039926)


Re:It just shows.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34042178)



PS: I'ld bury that Batmobile with mine. There are so many better styles of cars, yet it's only when Hollyweird shows-off their dogshit it is automatically cool yet unrealistic.

Beam me up Scotty! (1)

spammeister (586331) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037570)


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.

Street Legality: Nope! (2, Interesting)

splutty (43475) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Street Legality: Nope! (4, Informative)

confused one (671304) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Street Legality: Nope! (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#34038080)

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.

It's easy in Illinois... (4, Informative)

name_already_taken (540581) | more than 3 years ago | (#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)

Re:Street Legality: Nope! (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34040272)

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.

Re:Street Legality: Nope! (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 3 years ago | (#34038160)

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

Open wheels are not a problem (1)

BenEnglishAtHome (449670) | more than 3 years ago | (#34038424)

How many '32 Hi-Boys [google.com] do you see at an average rod run? It seems like lots of guys manage to get their open-wheel cars properly titled.

Re:Open wheels are not a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34040704)

At least in the state of california the requirement is something like 'No vehicle may be open wheeled unless it's under 1800(?) pounds.

The idea was that in case of a blowout you don't want a vehicle with a high level of load on the tires capable of ejecting the tread up onto someone else's window. How that works in practice I don't know, but that's the reason for the 'fender law' as it is.

I'm pretty sure about the 1800 pound limit though, because I have a car that's like a hundred pounds above it and was pondering if I could strip it a bit get it below and then get it cleared for open wheel action :D

Re:Street Legality: Nope! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34039314)

I doubt you're going to get it certified with that 1/2 windshield.

Re:Street Legality: Nope! (1)

CubicleView (910143) | more than 3 years ago | (#34039996)

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.

Re:Street Legality: Nope! (1)

silas_moeckel (234313) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037844)

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 on and your good to go. I think the bat mobile might run afoul of those bumper requirements.

Re:Street Legality: Nope! (1)

ffreeloader (1105115) | more than 3 years ago | (#34038550)

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.

Re:Street Legality: Nope! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34037882)

If it is "fully functional" you could just crash the same one ten times.

Re:Street Legality: Nope! (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 3 years ago | (#34038096)

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?

Re:Street Legality: Nope! (1)

gumbi west (610122) | more than 3 years ago | (#34039012)

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.

No bumper, many sharp edges. (1)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 3 years ago | (#34038126)

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.

Re:Street Legality: Nope! (1)

blackfrancis75 (911664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34038506)

he may actually get to crashing 10, since there seems to be no way to see out the front when you're driving it.

Re:Street Legality: Nope! (1)

bittles (1619071) | more than 3 years ago | (#34038680)

heck at 150mph thats reaching about the average top speed of any cop car, I'd say go for it!

Re:Street Legality: Nope! (1)

Mechanik (104328) | more than 3 years ago | (#34039524)

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 couldn't see WTF he was doing) was sweating his balls off in there, even with the top down, as it was the middle of summer, and there was no insulation between him and the heat of the engine, nor any air conditioning.

A prop-accurate Tumbler would pretty much only be good for a prop or a conversation piece.

Re:Street Legality: Nope! (1)

IrquiM (471313) | more than 3 years ago | (#34039980)

You only have to crash 3 of them in Norway, so building 4 would be sufficient

Right to Public Vehicular Travel. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34042122)

There is no approval for the road. As long as your mode of conveyance and Right to Travel doesn't cause harm to another fellow exercising their Right to Travel then you are fine.

COPS cause more distractions and compications on the Roads with all their stopping and flashing of Emergency Lights in non-emergency situations, that they truly are the sole problem the road isn't safe. Every Road I've been on has always been suited with well-placed flashers to suggest tight turns and possible road conditions throughout the Year that it truly is left to the comprehension and ability of the Motorist/helmsman/operator/driver/director to navigate or negotiate the Road and weather or not to earn a Darwin Award in doing so.

150 mph? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34037638)

This spec comes from where? The official Batman Returns movie book?

Re:150 mph? (1)

hesiod (111176) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037838)

Just cuz you can't drive it on the street doesn't mean you can't drive it on a track. It does have an engine and it runs, you know...

150mph?! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34037756)

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

Re:150mph?! (1)

Fishead (658061) | more than 3 years ago | (#34039484)

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 the 44" super swampers though...

Re:150mph?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34041232)

Please provide pictures when you assemble your motor with a forged aluminum crank. Really. We all want to see :)

Re:150mph?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34040158)

Yeah, and it'll probably hit something else first...

it's the iBatmobile! (1)

Kildjean (871084) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037842)

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

Re:it's the iBatmobile! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34038284)

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

not that it matters, but you may want to brush up on your deductive reasoning...

consider what is more likely:
1) the two 20-somethings doing the lighting and photography work brought their macbook so they could use it on the photoshoot OR
2) the engineer who is featured in one picture sitting on his masterpiece, loaned his macbook to the photogs, because they left theirs at home...

Beautiful car (1)

British (51765) | more than 3 years ago | (#34038086)

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?

Re:Beautiful car (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34038354)

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 to the inside of the knuckle. It also leads to a bunch of bump steer with the lame factory steering linkage so people who go fast in these older trucks replace the steering gear with a system with an additional link and an idler arm. But I mention it because it has a long knuckle that sticks way out. There are also wheels whose offset is very far to one side or the other, where the entire knuckle is normally within the wheel; you can flip the wheel around (well, it won't mount properly in most cases, but conceptually...) and get the same effect. Some vehicles are actually designed to have their wheels flipped around for off-road driving, notably the Volkswagen Thing. It had to be able to get narrow to go through tiny European streets...

wait.... (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 3 years ago | (#34038728)

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)

Re:wait.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34046444)

Hello computer?

Umm...what? (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 3 years ago | (#34043292)

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?

Re:Umm...what? (1)

FishTankX (1539069) | more than 3 years ago | (#34043642)

Transparent aluminum is actually a misnomer.

I believe what he is in fact being propositioned is the same aluminum compound the military is working on for armored vehicles.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aluminum_oxynitride [wikipedia.org]

What that wikipedia article fails to mention that is covered in this wikipedia article

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bullet-proof_glass [wikipedia.org]

Is that ALON glass can not only, with a nominal thickness (I'm thinking half an inch?) stop 50 caliber armor piercing rounds, AND (not covered in the wikipedia article) due to it's higher hardness is highly resistant to scratching, which is beneficial when driving around in a desert with a lot of sand .. Due to ALON's significantly higher strength, it also means that the windows can be less thick. I also believe that ALON might have better optical properties than normal bullet proof glass, though I have nothing to substantiate my claims.

BEIJINGU.S. Secretary of State Hillary (1)

aotian (1915400) | more than 3 years ago | (#34045010)

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