After more than five years of Popcorn Flicks–the monthly series of free outdoor movies produced by Enzian and the City of Winter Park–we finally got around to screening BATMAN: THE MOVIE (the 1966 camp classic) in May. And what do I see recently in the Orlando Sentinel? A 3-way lawsuit is taking place in a Daytona Beach courtroom over the botched auction of what was supposedly an authentic “atomic-powered” Batmobile.
The litigation stems from a 4-year-old dispute when a group of celebrity vehicles went up for auction upon the closing of the Klassix Auto Attraction museum. We’re talking a GHOSTBUSTERS ambulance, the coach from “The Munsters,” a FLINTSTONES car (from the 1994 movie), a car from Woody Allen’s SLEEPER, and motorcycles from TV’s “Chips.” But undoubtedly the star of the show was the Batmobile, said to be one of only five originals designed for the series by converting the 1955 Ford Lincoln Futura. Attending the auction was Hollywood’s self-described “King of Kustomizers,” George Barris, who apparently (and curiously) didn’t prevent the Tallahassee Antique Car Museum from making a high bid of $189,750. But then the auction fell apart amid questions of the car’s authenticity and finger-pointing and accusations about lies and misrepresentations.
The Tallahassee museum ended up getting a refund (though the promisory note remains unpaid), and the auctioneer still has the car at the company headquarters in Indiana. Reportedly they tried to sell it another time since and a heckler dressed as Robin crashed the auction (you gotta love this!) and screamed to potential buyers that the car was a fake. While the judge on the Daytona Beach auction case is not going to rule on whether or not the car is an original (too bad), he has to sort out all of the contractual and legal obligations between the museum, the auctioneer, and Barris. That should be fun–wonder if this one will make Court TV?
By the way, Bat-fan Eric Seltzer, who runs the 1966batmobile.com website, estimates there could be as many as 50 replicas of Batmobiles throughout the world selling for up to $200,000. So if you have some extra cash and are in the market for one, you may want to make sure it’s the Real McCoy–good luck!