A 1955 Mercedes- Benz 300 SL Gullwing (previously owned by Clark Gable) sold for just over $2 million and a world record was set for a 1947 Talbot-Lago T-26 Grand Sport which also sold for over $2 million. Another world’s record was set with by a 1956 Chrysler Diablo Concept Convertible which was hammered down at $1.375 million. One of the ?Salon? cars, an iconic muscle car which was perhaps the best indicator of where the muscle car market is in 2013, was the sale of a 1971 Plymouth Hemi ?Cuda Convertible for $1.320 million. Some of these cars which had sold for a million dollars or more during the peak of 2006 fell thirty to fifty percent in 2008 and 2009. Muscle car collectors were elated to see the market return to 2006 levels. Two of the ?Salon collection? cars were Corvettes. One of those special cars was the ?winningest? Corvette in history, the number ?12? L88 Owens-Corning Corvette racecar and the other was the number one VIN of the seventh generation Corvette each car selling for $1.1 million.
All enthusiasts love to be able to inspect cars of this quality, especially cars rarely seen. But I had to question one of the cars as a part of the ?Salon collection? by the very definition of the category, ?important/historically significant?. And according to some other members of the media, I was not alone. The car I am referring to is the ?Batmobile?. Understand that I am not bashing the ?Batmobile?, I just don’t like it. In fact aside from James Bond’s Aston Martin I don’t like any movie ? prop car. I hardly considered them to be historically significant and in my opinion they are nothing more than entertaining, whimsical TV props. They offered no innovative engineering, performance or enduring design improvements to earn them a spot in automobile history. Sure if you watched the movie or TV series there was nothing these cars couldn’t accomplish through special effects, but in the realm of automotive engineering they are nothing more than ?posers? of truly great automobiles.
For over two months Barrett-Jackson heavily marketed and promoted this car in their catalogs and commercials. Prior to Saturday, Mike Joy from SpeedTV, and some other hard-core collectors, had made comments that Barrett-Jackson may have been placing too much emphasis on the ?Batmobile?. I don’t think anyone denies that there is a place in the collector car world for ?movie? cars but let’s not confuse exactly what these cars contributed to the hobby. To refer to them as ?historically significant?, well that’s a stretch in my opinion. Aside from their amusing entertainment value where exactly do they belong and what have they contributed to automotive engineering/art?
Let’s look at ?movie/TV? cars and the ?Batmobile? specifically to see where these cars belong. First let’s look at the qualifications to be categorized as ?historically significant?, the 1968 Owens-Corning L88 Corvette. The car is considered to be the ?winningest? Corvette in history, virtually unbeatable and incorporated innovative performance upgrades in the design of the car. The awesome Corvette won 22 of 22 SCCA/FIA National Events during 1969 through 1971 and has the complete documentation supporting both its racing history and its provenance. I don’t believe anyone would dispute the historical significance and importance of this car and stands as a strong representative of a truly collectible, ?historically significant?, automotive work of art.