To mark Barrett-Jackson’s half-century in business, in this special series we’re taking a look back at some of our favorite moments from the past 50 years – as well as some little-known facts about The World’s Greatest Collector Car Auctions.
In the automotive world the word “icon” is played out a bit much. But really, what better word is there to define one of – if not the – most iconic cars to ever grace television and film screens. We’re of course talking about the original 1966 Batmobile, the George Barris-built icon that defined childhoods for a generation. Selling at the 2013 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction, the Dark Knight’s ride rolled onto the block perfectly in sync with the classic Batman theme. Every face in the crowd was beaming with excitement.
This was history in the making. George Barris himself stepped out of his legendary creation and took to the mic.
“There’s only one group that can bring out the Batmobile for the first time in history, and that’s Barrett-Jackson,” George Barris said. “Barrett-Jackson is the best – number one auction company in the world!” Barris’ impassioned speech whipped the capacity crowd into a frenzy.
Bidding took off at a breakneck pace, topping the seven-figure mark almost immediately, while fans and bidders scrambled for a look at an era-defining icon. “The 1966 Batmobile is one of the most famous Hollywood cars in history and it has become a true icon that has been carried from generation to generation of Batmobiles to follow,” Craig Jackson said. Indeed, each subsequent iteration of the Batmobile owes in some part of its likeness to the wonderful work of George Barris.
It comes as no surprise that the Batmobile shattered expectations and broke records, becoming the second highest-selling vehicle ever at a Barrett-Jackson auction – just behind Carroll Shelby’s personal 1966 Cobra Super Snake. The Batmobile would sell for $4.62 million and set a new world record for the highest price ever achieved by a TV/movie car. In a move that would make members from Batman’s Rogues Gallery smile, the winning bid was decided by a coin toss between two eager bidders.
When the hammer finally fell, not a soul in the audience was seated. A historic precedent was set as one of the most important cars in popular culture found a new home. Auction action and excitement like this can only be found at Barrett-Jackson, The World’s Greatest Collector Car Auctions.