1966 Batmobile no. 5 Auctions for US$210,000

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The Batmobile No. 5 has a unique and very traceable history, making it remarkably desirable to any enthusiast of Batman. The No. 5 was not built by George Barris, nor any of the Hollywood establishment for that matter, but rather by a major fan of Batman, Jim Sermersheim in 1966. Using only photographs and the TV show as design references, Sermersheim built the car using a 1958 Ford Thunderbird chassis as the basis. It was very well detailed and dialed in right down to the interior, which probably explains why it recently sold for an impressive US$210,000 at Mecum Auctions.

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After about two years of showing the car, Barris acquired it from Sermersheim. He then approved it and protected it with the Barris design patent, thus recognizing it officially as a Barris Batmobile. So, historically, Hollywood only commissioned four Batmobiles, the original and three fiberglass replicas for the TV show. But, in reality, there are five original Barris Batmobiles, the fifth having been created out of passion and adoration of the comic strip and television show.

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After many years in storage, Barris sold No. 5, accompanied by a letter written by Barris on April 3, 1986. The letter stated that it was a real Barris Batmobile complete with patent protections, to Robert Butts, the owner of Fantasy Cars in El Cajon, California. Robert Butts along with his team, fastidiously restored the car back to its original splendor. In 1988, No. 5 was sold by Butts to its current owner as a gift to her husband, the ultimate gift for a Batman fanatic.

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On July 26, 1988, Barris wrote a letter to the new owner congratulating him on the acquisition of the car; the next day another letter arrived from Barris discussing the licensing restrictions surrounding the car, telling him that if he were to show the car outside of his home, he would need to pay Barris Kustoms a fee to avoid infringement. Today, that owner is offering Batmobile No. 5 for sale for the first time in 28 years. It has remained in storage for the majority of its life and shows exceptionally well, with only a few blemishes stealing from its lustre.

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Likely the world’s most recognizable car, the Batmobile is not for the shy or withdrawn and is certain to become the crown jewel of any collection, likely requested to attend show after show.

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