Computational creativity and the future of AI

Kapow! The home-built Dark Knight Batmobile


October 26, 2010

Bob Dullam and his Batmobile Tumbler replica

Bob Dullam and his Batmobile Tumbler replica

Image Gallery (9 images)

RM Auctions recently declared James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 to be “the world’s most famous car,” but there's no doubt another contender for that title – the Batmobile. One thing that muddies the waters a bit is the fact that the term “Batmobile” actually describes at least three different vehicles: the modified Lincoln Futura concept car from the 60s TV series, the vaguely Corvette-shaped 1989-and-beyond movie cars and now the car from the most recent two movies, the military-spec Tumbler. Michigan-based movie props artist Bob Dullam really likes the Tumbler, so he did what any of us would do in his position – he built one of his own from scratch.

Bob Dullam's Batmobile Tumbler replica

Dullam has been working on his Tumbler over the past five years, using nothing but a chop saw, a reciprocating saw, a drill press, and a Mig welder – all in his non-heated, non-air-conditioned two-car garage. He had no prior car-building experience and nothing but movie DVDs and production stills to go by. Nonetheless, he now has a fully-functioning, incredibly accurate-looking Batmobile.

“Every aspect of it was pulling a rabbit out of a hat,” Dullam told Gizmag. “You have to mount the engine in reverse, so now you’ve got a transmission that’s pointing towards the front of the car, how are going to get a drive shaft to go underneath it and drive it in reverse?”

Bob Dullam's Batmobile Tumbler replica

Challenges like that aside, the car is up and running. He now plans on working on the interior, along with parallel steering within the vehicle’s nose cone, so it can be driven from that area too, just like the car in the movies. Dullam has even been contacted by defense contractors about using their transparent aluminum in the windows. It’s not surprising that he thinks the vehicle will never really be “done,” per se.

“It’s not there yet,” he said. “It may never be there unless I decide I’m tired of the whole thing. It’s an ongoing experiment.”

"If all I did was costumes and busts and things like that... a lot of people do that kind of thing. I want to build a brand name for myself, and to do that, I think you have to rise above and beyond the pack.”

Bob Dullam's Batmobile Tumbler replica
  • Engine: 350 V8 with four-barrel carburetor
  • Transmission: 3-speed turbo
  • Top speed: 150mph (241km/h)
  • Body panels: Epoxy resin reinforced with fiberglass mat
  • Tires: 44-inch Super Swampers (rear)
  • Steering: Rack and pinion power steering via detachable aviator style pistol-grip steering device
  • Weight: Approximately two tons (1.8 metric tons)
  • Dimensions: 15’L x 9’W x 5.5’H (4.5 x 8 x 1.7 meters)
  • Visibility: Round-vehicle video cameras
  • Production cost: Approximately US$50,000 to $100,000
  • Street legality: Nope!

Via Daily Planet

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth

Transparent aluminum?

[Ed note: See]

Jon Shurtleff
27th October, 2010 @ 06:02 am PDT

I'm sorry but I must ask one question: Why?

27th October, 2010 @ 06:13 am PDT

Amazing Bob but, if you want to have complete autonomy with regard to propulsion you need to get a couple of Siemens water-cooled AC induction motors and hook them up to several lithium battery packs, spaced around the vehicle (I'd say one for the front wheels and one for the back).

27th October, 2010 @ 07:38 am PDT

@donwine, why not?

Facebook User
27th October, 2010 @ 06:18 pm PDT

@donwine sometimes we do things just for the challenge, while

some people live their whole life and do nothing

Nick Rowney
27th October, 2010 @ 09:00 pm PDT

Ah ha! But can it transform and have a motorcycle eject pod?!?

Still, very nice work!

However, didn't you want to make it street legal too? Just saying, personally, I would of tried to make it street legal while keeping as much aesthetics as possible. Maybe you could show it off at some Monster Truck shows and whatnot!

Colter Cederlof
27th October, 2010 @ 11:48 pm PDT


Vikrant Chandragiri
29th October, 2010 @ 02:08 am PDT

Dude, that is awesome. How can we follow your progress? Do you have a website, etc?

[Ed note: There's a link in the article, but just go to]

9th November, 2010 @ 05:12 am PST

Well this beats lip stick and a hand bag any day. Every man should have THIS for a fashion accessory.

Mr Stiffy
10th November, 2010 @ 04:43 pm PST

This guy has too much money and time on hands.

27th January, 2012 @ 12:08 pm PST
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