Bob Butts

In the mid-1980's, custom car maker Bob Butts obtained access to one of the Barris Batmobile replicas and pulled molds. Legend has it that Butts had only three days in which to make the molds as the car was between weekend car shows. The molds were made in only four pieces, had very little structural support, and were pulled off the car before they were completely cured. Nevertheless, the first molds that had been made of the 1966 Batmobile since George Barris pulled the molds off the #1 car in 1966 were made.

There was speculation that it might have been the #3 car, but evidence points otherwise–the leading edge of the hood was sanded off when the flocking was removed from the #3–and the original Butts mold has the leading hood edge. The #3 also has a significant gap between the front left fender and the driver door.

There is a chance it could have been the #2 car, because it toured heavily during the 1980s, often appearing at World of Wheels events. It has been removed as a contender, however, because it retained the flocked surface until at least 1987, if not 1988–a few years after Butts pulled the molds.

It is believed that the #4 dragster car was the one that Butts used.

The molds were used to make Butts' first replica, which now resides in the "Believe It Or Not" Museum in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Legend has it that the molds failed within a very short time. Only a few bodies came out of the original mold, one of which was cut in half lengthwise. Once the original mold failed, Butts was supposed to have called for a rejected car body that he had sold, and he used it to create a Batmobile replica. He pulled a new mold from that rejected body.

Batman fan Clint Young met Butts after the restoration of the #5 car was completed. Young toured with the #5 and with the other Barris cars during the late 80s doing Batman appearances across the country. He became Butts’ car salesman, selling both kits and turnkey cars. His early cars were crude, with little attention paid to quality or accuracy. His later cars were better and had more features, including electric hood and trunk actuators.  It is unknown how many turn key 1966 Batmobiles Butts made, or how many kits.

Butts built two 1966 Batmobiles were built for the movie Rock Star, starring Mark Wahlburg (check spelling). A handful of kits were completed, including Tom Woodruff’s magnificent tribute car, but many more sat unfinished in garages and warehouses around the world. 

The last turn key car he built was the one used in the TV movie Return to the Batcave, starring Adam West and Burt Ward. Barris bought this replica from Butts for a reported $30,000, and used it as his touring vehicle (Barris calls it his "#2 car").

In addition to the Batmobile replicas, Bob Butts also made a tribute replica of the 1955 Lincoln Futura, which is being restored by Fiberglass Freaks

Sources:  personal interviews


+1 #1 Clint Oehlke elkie 2013-07-01 09:21
Im building a 1/4 scale model of the Batmobile any advice

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