Batman and Robin drum up interest in Batmobile auction
The Batmobile up for auction Saturday at the Broward County Convention
Center is expected to fetch $100,000 to $200,000.
BY NICHOLAS SPANGLER
EMILY MICHOT / MIAMI HERALD STAFF
CRUISING: Batman and Robin roll down State Road A1A in Fort Lauderdale on
Thursday to stir interest in Saturday's Batmobile auction at the Broward
County Convention Center.
a.. If you want to bid
''How're you doing today?'' he said. ''Hello, citizens.'' And, putting some
bass into it, ``Be good!''
The man in the suit was Terry Lobzun, who lives in Canada and works for an
auction company. Once, for his job, he donned a dinner jacket and drove
James Bond's Aston Martin down Toronto streets. The reasons he put on an
expensive costume and drove a Batmobile up A1A in Fort Lauderdale on
Thursday were several.
He was ''taking one for the team.'' He was ''doing it for the kids,
really.'' Mainly, though, he was generating publicity for a very, very rich
man from Michigan who'd built his wife a near-exact replica of the car from
the 1966 TV series, and now wants to sell it. That couple's marriage is, one
presumes, still happy, but the car's novelty has worn off, but it caused at
least one accident when somebody stopped to gawk in a grocery parking lot.
So this Batmobile will be offered up Saturday afternoon at the Florida
Collector Car Auction at the Broward County Convention Center, when it's
expected to bring between $100,000 and $200,000. In the past, other replicas
have sold in the $100,000 range. One of the original cars from the TV series
will be auctioned in London later this month and is expected to fetch more
than $148,000, according to Scotland's Daily Record.
This particular Batmobile is black, 22 feet long, has 1,000 miles on it and
looks suspiciously like a '55 Lincoln. ''The lights work and everything,''
Terry said. Besides working headlights and Bat floor mats, it has three
rocket tubes, two parachutes, one Bat Turn Lever and a Bat Ray Protector,
none of which work. There's also a Batphone, which Terry tried to pick up.
''That doesn't work either,'' he said. ``I guess it's screwed down.''
Terry and I got dressed in the convention center bathroom, I in a Robin
costume I'd bought for $50 and he in the premium Batman getup he was renting
for $200. Fifty dollars doesn't do much in the way of crime fighting: little
black mask, sagging utility belt that tied in the back, skimpy tights. But
$200 got Terry enormous foam Bat-abs and Bat-pecs, black rubber gloves and a
black rubber hood that made a squelching sound when he put it on.
Squelch. ''Oh sh--,'' Batman said. ''I think I lost a contact.'' It was on
the restroom floor, and it was probably just as well he didn't find it.
It was a long walk to the Batmobile and the guys who were setting up for the
auction said things that would probably make a real superhero quit. Like:
''Nice tights!'' and ''Aw, give 'em some candy,'' and 'You gotta be kiddin'
''The thing about the Batmobile,'' said Batman, unfazed, ``is that it's a
cultural icon. You just want to let people know about it.''
Another thing about the Batmobile is that it has no air conditioning. The
temperature was pushing 80 as the Batmobile nosed out of the convention
center parking lot and down Southeast 17th Street. Sweat was dripping from
under Batman's rubber nose-covering onto the tip of his actual nose, and
from there to his preposterously muscled rubber chest. Robin, self-conscious
about his puny musculature, felt better about his dime-store getup and waved
to some women on the sidewalk. They ignored him.
''We love you, Batman!'' they said.
''I love you, too!'' he said.
This was how things went, more or less, for the rest of the morning. The
sidekick was an accessory, less mysterious than his boss, less cool than the
''Well, yeah,'' Batman said. ``Probably out of all the heroes, Batman is the
one women like. He has a little dark side to him, and women like that.
Superman -- he was super for what he was, but he never had a car, or
The Batmobile turned north onto a stretch of A1A called Seabreeze Boulevard,
and the superhero in the driver's seat began to smell faintly of crab.
''Man, I'm sweating like a dog,'' he said.
People stopped, and waved, and took pictures. After a while, Batman pulled
over into a beach parking lot.
''Oh, my goodness,'' said Anne Lee, of Sunrise.
''We loved that show,'' said Gail Eby, down from Canada. ``No sex, no
swearing, one of the only decent shows we could watch.''
Citizens asked Batman to chat, to answer questions about his car, to pose
for pictures. Sometimes they asked Robin to squeeze in on the side, but
''You look good,'' said Martha Allen, down from North Carolina. ``But your
costume's not as nice as his. And muscles -- you need some muscles in
There wasn't much conversation in the Batmobile on the way back to the
convention center. The silence was broken when Batman's cellphone rang.
He couldn't hear very well through the hood. ''There should be some ear
holes in this thing,'' he said to Robin.
''I'm in the Batmobile,'' he said, to the police commissioner -- or was it
the butler -- on the phone. ``I'm trying to park it in the garage.''