Getting behind the wheel of Morgan Shane’s Batmobile
By Angela Espinoza, Arts Editor
The weekend of April 21 and 22 was not one to be forgotten, as the very first Fan Expo Vancouver took place at the Vancouver Convention Centre. More importantly though, this writer got to experience one of the most exhilaratingly nerdy moments of her life: sitting in the driver’s seat of the Batmobile.
We’ve all dreamt of taking a spin in the legendary car at one point or another. Whatever forms the caped crusader’s cruiser has taken though, its cool factor has relied on the general knowledge that Batman maintains only the finest working and looking technology around. But before the modern day Tumbler and the oh-so-phallic Burton-Schumacher versions, there was one star vehicle that brought the Batmobile into the mainstream, and that was the 1966 George Barris creation built for the cult classic live action Batman TV series.
After my intimate one-on-one with the near exact replica of the latter model, I got to speak with the current owner and the very man who built the shimmering black beauty, Wild West Garage’s Morgan Shane.
…there was one star vehicle that brought the Batmobile into the mainstream, and that was the 1966 George Barris creation built for the cult classic live action Batman TV series.
“I started building it in August 2004 [and] worked on it full-time for about 18 months. Everything you see on this car was built by me; I developed the moulds for the canopies, I did all the sculpting work for the dashboard and the door panels. [About] 90 per cent of the body was hand-sculpted by me.” Eventually, Shane had to head back to work, leaving the project on hold for four years. But while the timing of its completion took a slower pace, Shane didn’t skimp out on showing off his baby and taking it for the occasional ride.
“Then about three months ago, I was contacted to make an appearance here [at Fan Expo Vancouver], so I started taking [the project] a little more seriously. In the last month we really scrambled to get it together; I’ve been working 15-16 hours a day for the last three weeks to get it going.”
As Shane continued to tell me of the preparations leading up to the convention, it was clear that this was a man devoted to bringing his working Batmobile up to the highest standards. So far as to have had the body shell of the car based on a mould taken from one of the original three replica’s Barris built. Needless to say, as the centrepiece of the entire weekend, I’m pretty sure the event’s 12,000 guests were more than impressed with Shane’s magnificent piece of machinery—one that I’m honoured to have had a couple pictures with.