In the late hours of December 2, 2007 I returned from a long, over 110 mile drive back from Garden City, MI with a Batboat behind me.
It was after dark, cold and raining. I had never towed anything before in my life, not less a 14 foot Batboat.
My black 96 Chevy Lumina, to my surprise, was harder to handle than before. I was not used to any of this and nervousness began to creep into me as I pulled out of the seller’s driveway onto busy North Beecher Road.
He was glad to see it go because it took up about 1/3 of the narrow driveway of his rented home. It blocked the access to the garage and he was moving to another place in a few days where there was zero room to park a Batboat.
Nervously aware of all the cars around me, I was heading north on Beecher Road and about the only thing I could see in all of my rear view mirrors was this huge, blue tarped Batboat that seemed to lunge and push my car forward every time I tried to slow down. It bounced and yanked at the trailer hitch at all imperfections in the road.
No more than a few blocks of this stuff I was scared to death and said to myself this was the most stupid thing I have ever done and it would never happen again. Approaching the first stop light I put on the breaks but kept on moving, stopping just feet from the car ahead of me.
The Batboat seemed not to have minded at all.
In all of my years behind the wheel I have never driven so cautiously in my life. Nervous as hell and sweating, I carefully made the right turn on to 8 Mile Road and was on my way to the "safety" of highway I-75.
After a while I got used to the driving and thought how cool it was to see through the darkness the outline of a Batboat in my rear view mirrors.
How did you find out about this boat? You may be wondering. Did you see it in a yard or newspaper ad? Nope. I came upon this Anti-Crime Watercraft at the 1966 Batman Message Board, which I had just become a member of, exactly two weeks too late after it sold on September 2, 2007 on eBay for $405.
Starting price was $19.66!!
The auction description and photos;
HERE IT IS BAT-FANS!!
A REAL FULL SIZE BATBOAT REPLICA, BASED OF THE TV /MOVIE BATBOAT WITH ADAM WEST & BURT WARD!
BUILT FROM A LATE MODEL 60'S GLASTRON SPEEDBOAT,COMPLETE WITH MOTOR AND TRAILER. HAS BEEN ON THE WATER AND RUNS!!
MOTOR IS IN GREAT CONDITION,AND ACTUALLY IS MORE POWER THAN THE BOAT ACTUALLY NEEDS. THE BAT-FIN SECTION IS REMOVABLE TO ALLOW MOTOR TO BE INSTALLED AND USED ON THE WATER, AND ALLOW MORE THAN 2 PEOPLE IN THE BOAT.
THE TRAILER HAS WIRE HARNESS FOR LIGHTS AND NEW TIRES, THE BOAT HAS SINCE HAD FRONT "BAT LIGHTS" INSTALLED BEHIND MESH SCREEN UNDER THE SCOOPS. THERE IS A RADIO, NOT SURE IF THAT WORKS, NEVER TESTED THAT. RUNS GREAT,GETS ALOT
OF ATTENTION! RUNNING OUT OF ROOMS FOR THESE BIG TOYS,MY LOSS-YOUR GAIN!
BOAT HAS MADE SEVERAL APPERANCES AT LOCAL CHARITY EVENTS AND CAR SHOWS IN AND AROUND MICHIGAN AND CANADA,ALSO- WAS SIGNED BY THE ORIGINAL TV BAT-GIRL AND BATMOBILE BUILDER, GEORGE BARRIS.
ANY AND ALL QUESTIONS, PLEASE ASK BEFORE CLOSE OF AUCTION- WINNER IS RESPONSIBLE FOR PICK UP/DELIVERY SERVICE.
Feeling I had “missed the boat” I typed a 1966 Batman Forum reply that I am in the same state as the seller and “practically across the street of the Saginaw River boat docks!!!” http://www.66batman.com/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1188528779/14#14
“If I knew about this auction I would have bid up to $1,000.” ending with “Will this person be selling more Batboat repros?”
This had not been my year regarding Batman vehicles. In the previous year, finally feeling secure that I had a increasing and stable income, I had high hopes in getting a Batmobile to drive around in and had been actively saving up for one in late 2006.
As of October 2006, a loaded Batmobile had been $55,000 and up. However, several weeks later a replica was sold at one of the big car auctions for $100,000+ and soon after another in the $200,000 range.
This is now the going rate for an Anti-Crime Cruiser these days, $200,000 and up, so I was out of luck.
On November 22, I logged onto the 1966 Batman Message Board and found a personal message from the Batboat owner asking me if I still was interested. The auction winner lived in Illinois and and he encountered too much red tape in transporting an atomic powered Batboat that didn't have a clear title or license plate from Michigan so he had to back out.
I jumped on it and a few correspondences later got the owner's number and driving directions. He wanted around $700 for it on the phone but at his home I got him down to $600.
(Image of the new Batboat in my driveway, 12/06/07)
That’s right. $600!!! With motor and trailer.
There are a lot of problems with it, though, but it isn’t anything I can’t handle.
I intend this blog to be a journal of the history of the 1960s Batman Batboat, feature various reproductions, showcase fun Batman stuff, give details about how I came to buy this replica, and my hopeful adventures in repairing and making it a functional Anti-Crime cruiser.