Holy hot baby SUVs, Batman. Nissan has built a custom Nismo Juke up to Gotham City spec. The Nissan Juke Nismo Dark Knight has been revealed – and will be a competition prize -- just as news arrives that the original TV Batmobile will go under the auction hammer in January.
The Juke timing ties in with the latest of the Dark Knight movie series, and the car gets an arsenal of batworthy features. Designed at Nissan’s London ‘batcave’ design studio where the Juke was spawned, the special edition is finished in the matt black of the Dark Knight’s own Tumbler, set off with gloss black wheels and red accents.
Bat badges on the grille, tailgate and doorsill kickplates are matched by reflective bat logos on the suede sport seat headrests. Door mirror downlights project the classic bat signal onto the ground while an uplighter in the cabin shines it onto the headlining – which is handy if Bruce Wayne is already in the car with you, but otherwise risks the superhero not getting the message.
Based on the Juke Nismo, which goes on sale overseas in January, the Dark Knight features the same 160kW 1.6-litre turbocharged engine with a six-speed manual gearbox driving the front wheels – and a claimed 0-100km/h time of 7.8 seconds.
There’s no mention of the rubber-bullet machine guns and cannon of the Tumbler, or even the rear rocket thruster, Bat Smoke, Bat Photoscope or other features of the TV car – so we don’t think the Tumbler need fear being sent to the scrapheap just yet.
The Juke is being offered as a prize in a UK competition. But those for whom the TV Batmobile will always be the only one are bound to keep an eye on bidding when the original car goes up for auction in January.
The 1960s TV Batmobile was customised from a one-off 1955 Lincoln Futura concept prototype that was unveiled on the Ford stand at the 1955 Chicago motor show – in a pearlescent blue-white finish. It also later got a red paint makeover for a bit part with Debbie Reynolds and Glenn Ford in the 1959 movie, It Started With a Kiss.
But its life as the Batmobile didn’t start until about five years later, when the TV series brought its air date forward and needed a vehicle within a couple of weeks. The producers dumped the existing car plans and knocked on designer George Barris’s workshop door – behind which the Futura had been gathering dust.
The concept car had cost Ford around $250,000, but Barris had bought it from them for a nominal $1 after the Chicago show. He completed the customisation in three weeks – and the Batmobile was born.
The car is likely to get bids of more than $2 million when it goes under the hammer in the US on January 19, although auction house Barrett-Jackson has not released an estimate.
“The 1966 Batmobile by George Barris is one of the most famous Hollywood cars in history and it has become a true icon that has been carried from generation to generation of Batmobiles to follow,” Barrett-Jackson CEO Craig Jackson said.
“This vehicle not only marks the significant Bat logo that sits on the middle of its door, but a time in television history where they defied the odds of making a car the real star of the show. It revolutionized an entire industry that followed in its footsteps and we couldn’t be prouder to have it cross our block in Scottsdale as it goes up for sale for the very first time.”