Five Decades of Building the Batmobile

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The story behind the design and build of every Batmobile created for the screen.

From the 1966 television series with Adam West to the latest movies with Christian Bale, every time Batman is reborn, so is the Batmobile. Starting with the Lincoln Futura that gave birth to the first Batmobile, through the jet-powered dragsters of the 1990s movies to the tank-like Tumbler in "The Dark Knight Rises" hitting theaters this month, this three-part video series serves up a detailed look at five Batmobiles that have played their part in helping good defeat evil over the past five decades.

The first model from the popular Sixties TV show was based on a 1955 Lincoln concept car and remains for hardcore fans the quintessential Batmobile. When the first of the two Tim Burton directed Batman movies was released in 1989, a new Batmobile was designed and ultimately built in just 14 weeks.

Powered by a Chevy Impala engine, with a petrol cap from a London bus, headlights nabbed from a Honda Civic, turned upside down and painted yellow, Ferrari rear lights, two Browning machine guns, and a grappling hook, the result was arguably the best looking of all the Batmobiles.

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"Batman Forever", released in 1995, saw a brand new model inspired by a leather fetish magazine, and powered by a high-performance V8. 8,000 man hours went into the build but the result was a bit of a dud and perhaps the least popular of the Batmobiles.

1997's "Batman & Robin" featured the 4th and most gaudy of the Caped Crusader's rides that utilized a NASCAR chassis packed with flashing lights, rockets and an assortment of gadgets. And then we have the Tumbler that hit the screens in 2005 in the first of Christopher Nolan's epic trilogy. "Batman Begins" was littered with big name stars but fans left cinemas talking about the monstrous Batmobile. A crude cross between a Lamborghini and a Hummer, the car was conceived as the original screenplay was being written, which is why it so perfectly fits the direction of the new Batman movies. Check out the videos and pick out your favorite.

Jennifer Graylock/Ford Motor Company

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