Batman first appeared in May of 1939 in Detective Comics #27, and although the first true Batmobile did not appear for another two years, it has become one of the Dark Knight's best known weapons.
The Batmobile made its career debut in Batman #5, then appeared on a comic cover for the first time for Batman #20. Because of different artists' interpretations of what the car should be, it changed size, shape, and features frequently. Later, as the car was marketed beyond the comics, more forms appeared based on practical or aesthetic considerations. In the 1960s, the first full size, fully operational Batmobile was built for the TV show Batman, and had to face financial and functional questions. A few years later the design of this car would be modified for use in the Superfriends cartoon series, with the unique considerations of making a car that could be easily drawn repeatedly for animation. Then, nearly three decades after the TV series, Batman returned to live action with Warner Brothers Batman movies. At about the same time, Batman: The Animated series came out, with a whole new take on the design of Batman and his universe. All of this was on top of the natural evolution of the car over 60+ years, taking into account new technological features like the jet engine and the computer.Hollywood customizer George Barris to design a "Batmobile" for their soon-to-go-into-production Batman show. Dean Jeffries worked on the design and initial fabrication for the Batmobile, using a 1959 Cadillac, but when the studio wanted the car faster than he could deliver, he turned it back to George Barris. With only three weeks to finish, Barris decided that rather than build a car from scratch, it would be best to transform the Lincoln Futura (bought from Ford for $1.00) into the famous crimefighting vehicle of TV's caped crusader. Barris hired Bill Cushenberry to do the metal modifications to the car. When filming for the series began, several problems arose due to the age of the car: it overheated, the battery went dead, and the expensive Mickey Thompson tires kept blowing. By mid season, the engine and transmission were replaced with a Ford Galaxie's.
Barris built three fiberglass copies of the original Batmobile for exhibition on the car show circuit (one of which was used for exhibition drag racing). Eventually, the three copies were covered with a black velvet "fuzz" paint, presumably to hide stress cracks in the fiberglass bodies. Later, all three were restored to their gloss black paint job. The 3 replicas are all based on a 1965–1966 Ford Galaxie. Barris has retained ownership of the original TV car, which is currently on display at Barris Customs in North Hollywood, California. The three Barris copies all reside in private collections.
One of these three Batmobiles was sold at the Coys Spring Classic Cars Auction on February 27, 2007 at the Royal Horticultural Hall in London. Coys Auctions had said it expected the car to fetch more than £75,000 - the final and closing bid was £119,000, equivalent to $233,000 USD at the time.