“First Licensed” Batmobile to be Auctioned Off

The first officially licensed Bat-mobile will be auctioned off by Heritage Auctions. Bidding begins November 17, 2014 and ends on December 6, 2014.

 

Designed and built by twenty-three year old Forrest Robinson of West Moreland, NH. The custom built fiberglass body was placed on a 1956 Oldsmobile 88 frame with a 324 Rocket engine. He started to build the custom car at Ramsey Hill Road in Walpole around 1960, it took him about two years to complete. In 1963 Robinson joined the army and used his custom car for his daily commute to his post at the Aberdeen Proving Ground Military Base in Maryland.

Forrest Robinson in an interview about the custom car stated “I was fascinated with what you could do with fiber glass you know. I wanted to make something and I figured why not make a car?”

All Star Dairy a subsidiary of Green Acres Ice Cream Company (A DC Comics Licensee) rented it from Robinson for a couple of years to use at promotional events for the company’s Batman Ice Cream and drink products. The car was originally painted silver, but was repainted in official Batman colors after being rented by Green Acres. For the promotional campaign the car was outfitted with official batman emblems and toured the Eastern US as “Batmans Batmobile”.  The Dairy Company paid DC Comics 3 million dollars in order to have Batman and Robin ride along for the marketing tour.

 

 

The car was retired in 1966 shortly after the Batmania craze had swept the nation and returned to Robinson. Robinson sold the car to his friend Danny Ford in 1967 for about $200. It then passed through a number of owners through the years.  In 2008 the car was discovered by Bobby Smith of Swanzey, NH in the woods where it had been for 40 years. Smith sold the car to a rare care dealer in Chicago. Collector and car historian George Albright came across it in 2011 and bought it from this dealer. During the time that George owned this one of a kind treasure he tracked down original owner Robinson and his pal Perham, who helped him build it,  as well as a retired DC Comics executive and the former All Star Dairy’s executives, all of whom remembered the car. Unfortunately, a shell of its former glory, the frame had rusted as well as the dash components over the years.  But the fiber glass body was still in decent shape, including the cool internally hidden sliding doors.  It would take a master restoration artist and Mr. Albright was not up to the project.  So he placed the Batmobile up for sale on EBay in 2013.

In February 2013 the car was bought by Sid Belzberg co-owner of Toycarexchange.com and was shipped to Borbon Fabrications in Sacramento, CA for a full on restoration.  It took owner Mario Borbon, owner of Borbon Fabrications, and his crew a little under 11 months (10 month 26 days to be exact) to complete the restorations. The car was restored using a 1956 Olds Rocket motor on a newly restored chassis. Borbon changed a few things, like giving the car a modern suspension, new wiring and custom gauges.  He kept the car close to its original owners design keeping the sliding doors and finishing it off with a classic black and red paint job.

Mario Borbon was interviewed by a Sacramento television reporter and said “It had been neglected, it had been sitting for a long time.  But you could still see the potential of that car and what it could be”.

In 2014 the car debuted in Sacramento Autorama, America’s longest running indoor car show. It won first place in the hand built sports car class. Robinson’s daughters Karen (a physical therapist) and Darlene (who lives in VA) were on hand to witness their dad’s handy work. Forrest was invited but doesn’t like to travel.

See the Bat-mobile in action!!!

 

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Source: Heritage Auctions , Borbon Fabrications

Thomas ODonnell

Thomas ODonnell

My love of comics started at the age of 5, when visions of mythic beings fought their way across my TV screen. Batman '66, Super Friends, Wonder Woman, and Superman '78 filled my early childhood with imagination and adventure. Soon enough I found the spinner rack! Batman, Justice League and DC's Who's Who kept me coming back for more. I've seen the death of hope, justice broken, a light extinguished, and a universe torn! A kingdom come, the lightning return, a triumph of evil and a multiverse reborn!