As a kid, I liked the show Batman. It was cool and camp. Later in life, I had the chance to meet Adam West (the original Batman). He was a nice guy.
Given this background, I can say that I’ll gladly shell out for a ticket to any Batman sequel that might be coming in the future and I might even be wiling to spend 40 bucks on a Batman ride at an amusement park. If asked politely, I will happily do the Batusi at any dance-themed party I’m attending.
What I’m trying to say is: I like Batman.
But if I had, say, $4.6-million lying around, I don’t think my first thoughts would be “somebody get me the original Batmobile.” Yet that is exactly what one money bags did last week.
Rick Champagne, 56, who owns a Phoenix-area logistics company, paid $4.6-million for the original Batmobile at a public auction.
“I really liked Batman growing up and I came here with the intention of buying the car,” he told Reuters after the sale.
“Sure enough, I was able to buy it. That was a dream come true.”
A dream come true? Really? Let’s examine the evidence.
The Batmobile was born in 1965 when legendary designer George Barris put $15,000 into a 1955 Lincoln Futura and transformed it into the iconic, car-phone-toting, oil-deploying, smoke-and-nail hurling, V-8-engined crime-fighting vehicle.
That’s pretty cool. No one’s disputing the Batmobile’s appeal. It’s so cool one-time Selena Gomez-toting songster Justin Bieber owned a knock-off Batmobile: a Cadillac CTS-V customized to be “Batriffic” with Bat symbols, matte-black exterior and futuristic doors (he was pulled over in it last year for cutting off a cop).
But is it $4.6-million worth of cool? I’m dubious.
Not that it’s really any of my business. It’s Mr. Champagne’s money and, if he wants to spend it on the original Batmobile, that’s his business.
I’m worried about what this historic sale will do to the movie- and TV-themed automobile market.
It could send it soaring into an artificial bubble.
That worries me because, while I may not go nuts over the Batmobile, I might be convinced to take out a second mortgage in order to buy Jim Rockford’s golden Pontiac Firebird (1976 or 1978 models) or Bo and Luke Hazzard’s Dodge Charger. And then, of course, there’s James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5.
But now, thanks to Mr. Champagne’s largesse, I’ll be lucky if I can afford a down payment on Freddy Krueger’s wheelchair (which sold for $6,900 in 1996).
Truth is, every vehicle-lover has a movie star car for which he’d be willing to lay down big money.
Often, it’s the car we watched on screen growing up that hits the soft spot.
Sadly, these dreams may be even further out of reach.
To get us back on track, I’m presenting a list of more accessible cars and what I might pay for them.
Prince’s Little Red Corvette: The song wasn’t really about Corvettes. So any rusty beat-up red 1983 Corvette would do. I’d pay $580 if it came with a tape deck and the upholstery had been Fabreezed.
Christine “Spike” Nelson’s mom’s Lada: Who can forget Degrassi’s very own punk girl and how for two weeks she mothered Eggbert? Not me. I hated that show. If you promised to film me driving Spike’s mom’s red Lada into a wall Jackass-style, I’d pay you $478 for it.
“Mondale” Brandon Walsh’s 1978 Mercury Cougar: I have a lot in common with Beverley Hills 90210’s likeable lead character. We were both once handsome and had our drinks spiked in high school. I’d pay $1,999 for this car.
The Beachcomber’s Nick Adonidas’s tugboat Persephone: Apparently this boat is now preserved in dry-dock at the town of Gibson’s “Museum ship.” I’d consider paying $12,000 if they allowed me to bring it to Toronto and turn it into a floating Hooters-themed casino. I’ll consider paying $15,000 if they allow me to sink it with vintage War of 1812-era cannon manned by surviving cast members.
David Hasselhoff’s KITT: This is the original self-driving car. I’d pay $50,000 if actually talks and is truly sentient.
The Batmobile from 1997’s Batman & Robin: Gotta be honest, I didn’t really enjoy 1997. Owning the one-seat wonder that housed George Clooney’s posterior in the worst of the Batman films might begin to make up for this. To be fair, that movie lacked a certain “ZZZZWAP”.
Follow Andrew Clark on Twitter: @aclarkcomedy