The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles has opened the largest exhibition of science fiction and fantasy vehicles in the world. At the exhibition “Hollywood Dream Machines” you can see the original and truly amazing 1989 Batmobile!
The 1989 Batmobile for the return of Batman
The 1989 Batmobile was created for the return of Batman to the big screen with Michael Keaton as Batman. For the first film since 1966, Warner Brothers had Tim Burton bring his unique style to the movie, and Anton Furst was hired as production designer for Gotham City and the Batmobile. They wanted the Batmobile to be unlike any previous incarnation: a combination of brute force and classic design aesthetics.
The car shown at Petersen Automotive Museum is one of five cars authorized by the film studio for promotional purposes. The 1989 Batmobile was retired after Batman Returns (1992), but the car still ranks as one of the most popular Batmobiles of all time and has been used for inspiration for several comic book cars.
Features and gadgets
For the custom-built body, the production team spliced together two Impala chassis and incorporated a number of gadgets and cool features. To enable quick manoeuvres, the Batmobile had side-mounted grappling hook launchers and a central “foot” capable of lifting the car and rotating it 180°. The body had armor plating and the car could even envelop itself into a heavy armor cocoon. To avoid capture, the Batmobile also featured three primary pursuit deterrents: oil slick dispensers, smoke emitters, and for extreme circumstances the “Batmissile”. The “Batmissile” mode would shed all material outside of the central fuselage and reconfigure the wheels and axles to fit through narrow openings. However, once employed, the beast mode would essentially destroy much of the car, and it would have to be rebuilt afterwards.
Specifications of the Batmobile:
- Custom built body crated of two Impala chassis spliced together
Powered by a Chevrolet V8
- Mickey Thompson racing tires on custom wheels
- Intake from Rolls Royce jet
Turbine blades in the nosepiece sourced from a British Harrier fighter jet
- Two-seat cockpit
- Aircraft-like instrument panel incl. a passenger’s side monitor, self-diagnostics system, CD recorder, and voice command recognition system
- Headlights from Honda Civic & rear lights from Ferrari
- Movie equipment: bombs, forward facing browning machine guns, side mounted disc launchers, and chassis mounted shinbreakers. To avoid capture, the Batmobile was also equipped with oil slick dispensers, smoke emitters, and a Bat-missile mode that reconfigures the axis and wheels to fit through narrow opening
Hollywood Dream Machines: Vehicles of Science Fiction and Fantasy
The exhibition “Hollywood Dream Machines” is open from May 4, 2019. The Petersen Automotive Museum presents over 40 vehicles as well as hundreds of stories, props and memorabilia. Featured films include Starwars, Blade Runner, Transformers, Mad Max: Fury Road, Black Panther, The Hunger Games, Back to the Future, Death Race 2000, Speed Racer and more!
Price for tickets: $75 USD (includes access to the May 4th exhibition opening reception).
You should visit the vault at the Petersen Automotive Museum
The Petersen Automotive Museum is one of the world’s largest automotive museums. It was founded in 1994 by magazine publisher Robert E. Petersen and is today operated by the Petersen Automotive Museum Foundation. In 2015, an extensive $125 million renovation gave the building a new distinct façade designed by the architectural firm Kohn Pedersen Fox.
The Petersen Automotive Museum is offering a tour of the vault in partnership with Hagerty. A full 2-hour tour costs $30 USD. Get a sneak peak here!