Batmobile replica powered by real jet engine
By Ben Coxworth
July 15, 2011
Last October, we told you about the full-scale working Batmobile replica built by movie prop-maker Bob Dullam. The version of the iconic superhero vehicle that Dullam chose to recreate was the rugged, Hummer-esque beauty from Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, known as the Tumbler. Well, that car now has some company on the road, in the form of a street-legal copy of the smoother, slinkier Batmobile that first appeared in 1989's Batman. Built by Ohio auto restorer and designer Casey Putsch in just five months out of race car and military surplus parts, the vehicle is incredibly faithful to the original ... to the point that it's powered by an actual jet engine.
Putsch built the replica based entirely on mental images of the movie car, producing only one drawing, which was of a special shaft that he needed made by a machining company. He taught himself about turbines, so he could rebuild and install the car's powerplant, a military surplus Boeing jet engine that came out of a U.S. Navy drone helicopter.
That engine puts out 365 horsepower, and directly powers the rear wheels via a semi-automatic transmission. The Batmobile can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph (97 kph) in as little as 3.9 seconds, managing a reported top speed of 185 mph (298 kph), and getting between 3 and 10 miles per gallon (78 to 24 L/100 km) of jet fuel, kerosene or diesel. It has an aluminum and fiberglass body, and weighs in at 2,800 pounds (1,270 kg) - according to Putsch, it has about the same power-to-weight ratio as a Dodge Viper, and offers similar performance. It could likely perform even better, were it not for the shape of the original movie car, which Casey says is not very aerodynamic.
The car was unveiled on June 12th in Cincinnati, at the Ault Park Concours d'Elegance, where it won three awards. Casey's automobile restoration and design company, Putsch Racing, began business that same month.
Putsch is also a race car driver, which led to the creation of his replica. "That which I do best is racing and I don't know how to put the business together to get a sponsorship to race Indy Cars in the future, so I had to challenge myself somehow and this seemed like a fun one to do," he told us.
As would be expected, people tend to like the vehicle. "The reactions are incomparable," he said. "This car instantly destroys the boundary between fiction and reality and everyone is simply in shock and awe."
Turn up your speakers, and get shocked and awed yourself by checking out the car in action, in the video below.