The Tucson Auto Museum features one of the unique vehicle sets of film history from the classic Tim Burton’s Batman Returns!
At first, Batman often simply referred to that Batmobile as “the car”, and he later called it the Batmobile.
The Batmobile was built upon a Chevrolet Impala chassis with a Chevy V8 engine, and was based on and modified from a 1970 Corvette body when previous development with a Jaguar and Ford Mustang failed.
The original conceptual illustrations for this design were drafted by Julian Caldow, under the direction of Tim Burton and Anton Furst. Caldow also designed the look of the “cocoon” shielding. Furst wanted Caldow to include jet aircraft components, war machines, and other such vehicles in their search to produce a car for an edgier, darker Batman than what was previously seen. In the end, and opting for pure expressionism, the production crew took design cues from the Salt Flat Racers of the 1930s and the Sting Ray macho machines of the 1950s to produce a veritable tank of a car. The body of the car was sculpted by Keith Short.
The scene in Batman of the Batmobile making its way to the Batcave was partially filmed using a radio-controlled Batmobile model that was driven through a miniature forest road.
Affectionately dubbed the “Keaton Mobile” after Michael Keaton; the actor who played Batman/Bruce Wayne in Batman and Batman Returns, the Batmobile’s popularity with fans established a strong following. The Batmobile was used as a basis for several comic book cars (as well as itself made various cameos in the comics), as inspiration for the Batman: The Animated Series Batmobile, which served as a spokesmodel for OnStar in 1999, and easily ranked with the 1966 Batmobile as one of the most popular Batmobiles of all time.
The other vehicles featured in this exhibit are the Penguin’s iconic Duck Boat and Bat Sky Boat, which only make an appearance this single time.