The Batmobile is as much a character in the movies as the Dark Knight himself. Outlandish designs with rocket thrusters and insane computer systems have defined the vehicle for years, but the latest movie car took another direction. In The Batman, prop designers looked at what could happen if Bruce Wayne had built the car himself with complete disregard for his massive fortune. A recent video detailed the design process, and it’s impressive, to say the least.
Beyond the early Adam West portrayal, Batman has long been a conflicted character, oscillating between rage and grief over his parents’ deaths. Robert Pattinson played the hero in the latest film, diving into his darkness and introspection. The car that came out of that mindset is unlike any Batmobile so far, and the team that created it spent countless hours constructing an intricate and detailed machine.
The car looks like a mashup between a classic Camaro and Mustang, mixed with some elements of a modified dirt track racer. Compared to the swoopy Batmobile of the 1990s and the outrageously militaristic vehicle from Christian Bale’s Batman, the new car looks uniquely homebrewed – the desired effect. The team wanted to design a car that Batman had built in a garage by himself, and the exposed tube frame and somewhat ragged look do the trick.
A big block LS provides power for the rig, while a separate dummy engine in the back provides a dramatic effect. The crew designed and hand-built the prop engine, using thousands of parts to create a realistic second powerplant for the car. They added flame elements and dynamic louvers that move to provide drama with the under-hood lighting.
Since the film includes glimpses of the interior, there had to be at least a partial cabin setup. The team achieved an old-school muscle car look with leather-wrapped components, including the seats, steering wheel and dash. The dash features class-looking gauges and controls, and the interior is surprisingly complete for an open-back prop car. Once all of that was done, the team had to figure out how to mount and control multiple cameras.
Beyond the gas-powered primary car, the team built other electric cars, and all of them saw extensive testing for safety and performance. Through that process, they discovered new design potential and capability that allowed them to push filming further, including jumping the car.