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10 Best Batmobiles Of All Time

When it comes to comic book vehicles, you won’t find a ride more iconic than the Batmobile. Batman’s signature car has been tearing up the streets of Gotham City for nearly 80 years and much like the Dark Knight himself, it’s popularity has continued to grow. With its long sleek body and bat-like tailfins, the Batmobile is, without a doubt, one of the most instantly recognisable automobiles of all time.

Since its official introduction into DC Comics in 1941, it has undergone countless transformations as it changed with the times – each variation rocking its own unique look while paying homage to its previous incarnations. But it didn’t just make its presence felt within the pages of the comic books; it also came to life on our screens through multiple film adaptations, TV shows and video games.

From spaceship-like racing cars to sleek beauties, the vehicle has seen so many reinventions that it’s almost impossible to pin down a definitive Batmobile. With that in mind, let’s take a look back through this iconic vehicle’s rich history in the pages and on the screens to narrow down its ten best variations.

10. New 52 Batmobile

DC Comics

DC hit the reset button in 2011 when it re-launched its continuity, bringing about a brand new era for every superhero and villain involved. That new era also extended to the universe’s vehicles, as the Batmobile was completely redesigned to match this brave new world – and what a redesign it was.

The New 52’s Batmobile is the perfect example of taking something old and reinventing it for the modern age. As it was the very first version of the vehicle in this new continuity, it possessed a pretty neat callback to the Bat-face design from the original classic Batmobile – with a twist. Instead of having the legendary Bat-face symbol on its hood, the hood itself was shaped like an actual Bat’s face, teeth and all – with the headlights serving as its eyes. The unusual facial design was complemented by the vehicle’s ornate body and spiky tailfins – all of which made it feel like it was actually a living creature.

It may have been short-lived, but this Batmobile was a perfectly futuristic way of introducing this new era, and the bat’s face was such a genius move that it’s hard to believe it hadn’t been done before.

9. DCEU Batmobile

Warner Bros.

DC’s Extended Universe is built around the notion of superheroes being perceived as grandiose figures with god-like presences and, as a result, a lot of the movies thrive on larger-than-life spectacles. Though the films don’t always live up to this, it’s sure fun to watch them try, simply because they always go out of their way to produce something huge.

Take the DCEU Batmobile, for instance – this one is perhaps the largest Batmobile to ever make its presence felt on the silver screen. Though it’s low to the ground and moves with the grace of a racing car, it’s incredibly wide and overflowing with gadgets. It’s a reliable weapon in battle as it possesses a large canon on its hood and, as we saw in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the vehicle is also virtually indestructible.

While it is a sight to behold and possesses all the qualities needed to make a lasting impression, the only criticism is that it’s almost a little too substance over style. Theoretically, it’s the perfect Batmobile, but there is something unfinished about its appearance that is preventing it from ranking higher than other live-action outings. There just aren’t that many Bat-like elements to it, and thus, it almost appears like an unfinished exoskeleton of a potentially better car.

8. Classic Batmobile

DC Comics

If you’ve read any of Batman’s early adventures from the forties, then it’s highly likely that you came across this classic design. It may seem relatively simple by today’s standards but it was actually a major upgrade in its day. When the Caped Crusader was first introduced into the comics, he didn’t have his own demonic ride, and instead just rode around in a red car. Thankfully, the idea was quickly abandoned and this Batmobile was eventually introduced in 1941, originally drawn by artist Jerry Robinson.

Though it changed up quite a bit during its initial few years, thanks to some modifications by Dick Sprang, all of these slight alterations were instantly recognisable because of the giant Bat-face mounted on the hood of the vehicle. They also possessed a single wing-shaped tailfin that travelled onto the car’s roof, contrary to the two tailfins most later designs would possess.

Considering Batman went from a random car to this beauty, he did pretty well for himself. And it’s impossible to overlook just how important this classic Batmobile is, as it paved the way for every future iteration of the beloved vehicle that came after it.

7. DC Rebirth Batmobile

DC Comics

When DC once again relaunched their continuity with Rebirth in 2016, we were ready for major changes. One of said changes was, of course, the Batmobile.

The new look paid tribute to some of the most iconic Batmobiles from years gone by, restoring the exceptionally long body made famous by Anton Furst in Tim Burton’s 1989 film. Perhaps the most recognisable features are the the tailfins and the sliding canopy, as they bear a striking resemblance to the Batmobile from Batman: The Animated Series, while the Bat-face on the front is a callback to many of the classic iterations from earlier comic books.

In spite of these similarities, this version is actually quite a lot more armoured than previous outings and due to this, it’s a lot more durable than its predecessors.

It’s nice to see that DC was still willing to embrace their past to shape their future, and as a result, they created one of their most badass Batmobiles yet.

6. The Dark Knight Returns Batmobile

DC

Set in a near-dystopian Gotham City, Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns may just be the greatest Batman tale ever told. The story centres around an older, retired Bruce Wayne who returns to crime-fighting after The Mutants bring the dying city to its knees. But the veteran Caped Crusader doesn’t come to the fight alone; outgunned and outmatched, he decides to bring in some heavy artillery. As a result, we are introduced to the most intimidating Batmobile of all time.

The vehicle was nothing short of enormous and dwarfed everything around it. It sported large canons on the front and, in the place of average tyres was the continuous track system (typically seen in army tanks) that allowed it to overrun anything in its path, with ease. A major departure from the traditional Batmobile design, this one’s intimidating appearance complemented the dystopian-like style of this Gotham City and was undoubtedly an incredible sight to behold.

It eventually came to life on the screen in an animated move adaptation and somewhat inspired the Batmobiles used in live-action films Batman Begins and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

5. The Tumbler

Warner Bros.

After Joel Schumacher took it upon himself to inexplicably turn the Batmobile into a neon-lit missile (because that was totally inconspicuous), Christopher Nolan gave us something entirely different when he rebooted the franchise with Batman Begins. The Tumbler was a large, tank-like automobile that had absolutely no problem running over anything that got in its way.

With its sharp, segmented appearance and its gigantic tires, this was a departure from the sleek, lengthy Batmobiles we had been used to seeing on screen throughout the previous decade. However, it was a welcome change that clearly took inspiration from Miller’s The Dark Knight Return, and much like that tank, the Tumbler had an arsenal to die for. With a built-in weapons system, the vehicle could fire missiles and drop explosives, making it incredibly hard to tail. In addition, it was also incredibly durable and could crash through walls without any bother.

Perhaps its most impressive quality was its ability to boost into an unassisted jump, allowing it to fly quite some distance across rooftops when necessary – an attribute that sets it apart from a lot of the other Batmobiles we have seen.

It may have left a lot of destruction in its wake, but The Tumbler was still a hell of a lot more subtle than any of the Schumacher Batmobiles, and it introduced the iconic ride to a whole new generation.

4. ’90s Batmobile

DC Comics

If the word “sleek” manifested itself as an object, it would look a lot like Norm Breyfogle’s Batmobile from the early nineties. The futuristic vehicle was modelled after the Lamborghini Countach, and as a result, had striking similarities to the real-life car. However, as this was the world of comic books, it didn’t take long until the features became more exaggerated.

This would ultimately end up working in the Batmobile’s favour, as we suddenly had something that looked more like a spaceship than a car. The tailfins were more eccentric than ever, rounded on one side and incredibly sharp on the other, while gigantic-but-slim headlights gave the vehicle a permanent frown that made it look oddly terrifying as it tore up the streets of Gotham City. Yes, it tore up those streets, and was every bit the racing car that it appeared to be.

Given that there was over 50 years of comic book history and countless variations of the vehicle that came before, it’s a testament to Breyfogle that he managed to come up with something so vastly different that somehow still embodied everything Batman stood for. Sure, it was out there, but in the best way possible.

3. Batman: The Animated Series Batmobile

Warner Bros.

The Batmobile that appears in Batman: The Animated Series is one of the most instantly recognisable versions ever produced – and for good reason. Inspired by Burton’s live-action Batman, Bruce Timm’s design bears a lot of similarities to the film’s variant. However, it also manages to be entirely original, sporting a more rectangular design and a chrome grill that allowed it to stand out, while complementing the artistic tone of the series.

You don’t even have to watch an episode to understand how iconic this version of the Batmobile is, as its role in the show’s intro says more than enough. That single shot of the vehicle speeding towards its destination presents it as the larger-than-life presence that it truly is, and it’s undoubtedly awe-inspiring to watch – a feeling that never goes away no matter how many times you see it.

No other animated version of the Batmobile even comes close to touching the grandeur of this one. It took an already great design and modified it for its own universe, allowing it to be original in its own right – and in doing so, created something just as legendary. This Batmobile is a visually stunning, awe-inspiring monster that is in a league of its own – just like the entire series.

2. 1966 TV Series Batmobile

Warner Bros.

After The Caped Crusader utilised Bruce Wayne’s own car in the original forties Batman serials, the Batmobile would finally make its live-action debut on our screens two decades later in the classic 1966 TV series. The vehicle itself was a modified Lincoln Futura concept car and was renowned for its large tailfins and exaggerated hooded headlights. But thanks to legendary designer George Barris, this became the definitive look for the Batmobile – a title it would hold onto for decades.

With its red siren on top and Bat-phone inside, it was the perfect ride for duly-deputised agents of the law Batman and Robin. Moreover, it was incredibly advanced for its era, jam-packed with a number of neat gadgets as the three large pipes on its boot could emit a powerful smoke-display to deter any potential thieves, while the hood housed the trusty Bat-Beam – and let’s not forget the lever inside that initiated the emergency Bat-turn.

As far as Batmobiles go, this is one that undoubtedly stands the test of time. Despite its vintage design, the black and red paint job gives it a timeless quality that ensures it would still suit any modern day Caped Crusaders. Furthermore, as the first ever live-action Batmobile, it’s pretty damn perfect.

1. Tim Burton’s Batmobile

Warner Bros.

Never has the Batmobile looked more majestic than it did in Tim Burton’s Batman films. Designed by the late, great Anton Furst, this version of the vehicle mirrored Burton’s Art Deco vision of Gotham City. It possessed an incredibly long sleek body with edgier wing-shaped tailfins on one end, and eery yellow headlights on the other.

Even the moment where it first hits screens is a stroke of genius. Michael Keaton’s Dark Knight tells Vicki Vale to get in his car, to which she remarks “which one?”, only for us to get a closeup of the beautiful vehicle in all its grandeur. It was a moment that stuck with us and it set the tone for the Batmobile’s usage throughout Burton’s two films. Unlike other entries on this list, this Batmobile didn’t rampage through anything – it glided through grim forests with an undefinable elegance.

But the automobile was every bit as dangerous as it was stylish, as it housed machine guns in its fenders, grenades in its wheels and even had a Bat-disc launcher mounted to its side.

This Batmobile was introduced into various comic books in the years that followed, and its long, sleek design inspired countless subsequent variations. It goes without saying that it redefined the vehicle’s legacy, and it has since become the yardstick for which all Batmobiles are measured.

 

 

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