By day, billionaire Bruce Wayne may attend board meetings and lavish luncheons but, by night, this champion of the people patrols the streets of Gotham as a caped crusader known as Batman. First aired on television in January 1966, while the dark knight may have changed his wheels through each iteration of this famous comic-book-derived character – the newest example being a modified, fire-breathing muscle car – for many it’s the first-ever so-called Batmobile that resonates.
Built around a Lincoln Futura concept car that was commissioned by Ford Motor Company for the 1955 Chicago Auto Show, the first Batmobile retained its 6.4-litre V8 engine while having its bespoke character-driven modifications applied. These included a nose-mounted aluminium cable cutter blade, “Bat Ray” projector, Batscope, police band cut-in switch, auto-inflating tyres and Bat smoke.
The original Batmobile’s current owner paid $4.6 million (more than R87 million) for the car at auction in 2013.
The Mystery Machine
In the animated television series Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! that first aired in 1969, a group of teenage detectives going by the name of Mystery Inc. set out to solve crimes perpetrated by criminals that use scary disguises and tricks as decoys.
Made up of Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy and, of course, their dog named Scooby, the team travels to each crime scene in a brightly coloured van dubbed, The Mystery Machine.
While there’s been much speculation over the years as to what actual vehicle inspired the animated van seen in the TV show, many believe that its bohemian colour scheme and hippie-era timeline hint towards it being based on a VW Transporter, the original Kombi.
The creation of the Indonesian tuning firm Concept Motorsport and featuring artwork by TeckWrap, the newest real-life example of The Mystery Machine is an all-electric VW ID. Buzz, the spiritual successor to the first Volkswagen bus.
Simply known as Ecto-1 as per its New York City number plate, the Ectomobile was introduced to the Ghostbusters team by member Ray Stantz as requiring “suspension work and shocks, brakes, brake pads, lining, steering box, transmission, rear end... maybe new rings, also mufflers, a little wiring...."
The 1659 Cadillac Miller-Meteor Sentinel that in the 1984 movie, Ghostbusters cost the team $4,800 is an ambulance/hearse conversation that, announced via distinct siren wail, transported this intrepid team of spirit specialists across town.
A character in itself that featured in the subsequent movie and television series, as well as in movie-related video games, this instantly recognisable Cadillac returned to the big screen in the 2021 reboot Ghostbusters: Afterlife, where it is discovered in an old barn by the grandson of one of the original Ghostbuster team members, Egon Spengler.
Can you imagine spending an evening trick-or-treating in the company of Bumblebee?
Arguably one of the most famous and instantly recognisable members of the Autobots, an alien race of robots able to transform into recognisable man-made machines, Bumblebee’s most popular form is that of a yellow Chevrolet Camaro with black GT stripes. A little-known fact is that one of his earliest disguises is that of a VW Beetle…
Having damaged his voice box in a fight with the evil Decepticons, the ever-enthusiastic Bumblebee communicates via a series of beeps and whistles. He is said to be constantly striving to prove himself in the eyes of the other robots—especially his leader, Optimus Prime. This often causes him to take risks and put himself in danger.
At BotCon 2023, Hasbro named Bumblebee as one of the first five robot inductees in the Transformers Hall of Fame.
The Adam’s Family limo
Not to be confused with the more modern interpretation of the unapologetically ghoulish Addams Family's preferred mode of transport as featured in the Netflix series, Wednesday, in the original television series depicting this family, their butler Lurch drove them around in a 1930s Packard V-12.
Created by American cartoonist Charles Addams, The Addams Family originally appeared in a series of cartoons, about half of which were published in The New Yorker newspaper over a 50-year period from their inception in 1938. Despite appearing dysfunctional by way of their individual “quirks,” many viewers have over the years applauded fictional parents Morticia and Gomez Addams for encouraging their children, Wednesday and Pugsley, to simply be themselves, despite what society says.
Hilariously tall and not known to speak, Lurch is featured throughout this franchise wearing an impossibly small chauffeur's hat while perched far above the car’s windscreen.