BATMOBILE  - 267

page last updated: 22 February 2017

 

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BATMOBILE

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It was originally a Lincoln, a concept car from a motor show in the late Fifties which was converted to be a Batmobile for the Sixties TV series by the same bloke that did the Monkeemobile. If you Google both Batmobile and Monkeemobile there is an awful lot of information on the net about both vehicles,

It is an iconic Corgi this one, one of their greatest successes alongside the James Bond Aston as an achievement. The chain-cutter blade, the missiles fired from the tubes at the back and the afterburner are such fantastic details. Inside the car though is a Batphone!

 The car was introduced in 1966. Original cars had cast gold wheels with bat logos and no tow hook. They were matt or gloss black. From 1967 to 1972 they acquired a tow hook and could have gold or silver cast wheels. In 1973 Whizzwheels arrived, at first narrow and chromed from 1974 the Whizzwheels were wider and black plastic. The early cars with no tow hook are the most sought after, matt black being preferred over gloss. A complete boxed car with all the collateral and leaflets is worth serious money, never mind they sold in millions. Next most preferable are the early chrome Whizzwheels followed by cast wheels cars with the tow hook and bringing up the rear on value are plastic Whizzwheels cars, but these are still worth good money.

This is an early release, you can tell this by the wheels with the red bats on them and the fact it does not have a tow bar for the Batboat. The cast recesses for the tail lamps and air intakes above the grille are deeper too in the early models. I made it from two wrecks I bought off eBay. The first one provided most of the bits but when I got it the seller who had said in the description that the car needed tyres omitted to mention that it needed wheels to put them on, so a second donor was required and a lot of spare parts from Steve Flowers.

I decided not to repaint, it looks more original that way. The restoration story and pictures are below.


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These are the two donor cars. One had quite good paint, but only one wheel, the other was very playworn, but still had its wheels. I had to order new screens, an aerial, tyres, door stickers and a cage for the beacon. The tyres and the cage I forgot to order, but I did get some missiles which I've since lost.

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I drilled out the rivets in the baseplates of both cars (six of them on each) and then removed the ones which hold in the cockpit canopy and missile launcher assembly of the bodyshell I planned to use in the finished car. The next picture shows all the bits laid out on my work table. The bodyshell at the top of the picture is the one I did not use with the interior still in place.

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I then replaced the screen with the new one, which was a bit disappointing really, it is a bit opaque and a paler colour than the original, although now the car is back together you wouldn't really notice. The picture below shows the cockpit being glued back in using a heavy hammer to press the parts together.

Below you can see why the front suspension always collapses. Corgi continued to do this through the late sixties which is why MGBs, Buicks, and a heap of other models have collapsed suspension now. They added 'springs' to plastic mouldings, either the seat unit as here or to the bright body trim and they always, absolutely always, broke off.

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There is a crosspiece cast on the inside of the baseplate which gives us an opportunity to add a better design of suspension using the traditional wires. In the pictures below you can see where I have drilled this casting and added wires. I glued the wires in place, just to hold them steady, They are actually held in place once the axle is replaced by the tension it causes. The wires came from a donor land Rover. You can get them from Steve Flowers, but as stuff takes a couple of weeks to come from there I chose not to wait.

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Below you can see the afterburner mechanism. This runs on a simple cam on the rear axle. By the way, the rear suspension has no travel, so the plastic springs tend not to break. It was my intention to use the afterburner casting with the tow hook, but they are not the same and the body castings are different to accommodate them. They are not interchangeable so I had to assemble the car without a hook - this is going to be a pest when I get a Batboat & trailer!

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When I came to reassemble the two body castings they would not fit because of my new suspension wires. To make them fit I ended up grinding slots in the cabin floor, these pictures were taken early on, the slots got a lot bigger! I suspect though that this one never went together that well and that is why it had six rivets. The works in the middle of the car tend to make the ends spring out.

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Under the vice and the heavy hammer below is a Batmobile being glued together. I was very pleased with it once done. It looks really good. The chain cutter was a complete sod to get back together and it won't stay closed now, I forgot new tyres and the cage for the beacon, but these can be re-visited. I need a Robin figure too, but they are always around on eBay. For now I've filled the slot in my collection with a very smart, early release Batmobile and I like it!

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