Chris Defalco Interview
Chris Defalco is the owner of the “Batmobile”.
Not the original one-----that’s in a Los Angeles museum.
Chris owns a replica of the Batmobile which he exhibits at car shows.
Recently, Chris exhibited his Batmobile at the Syracuse Nationals car show, where it just so happened that both Adam West (T.V’s original “Batman”) and Julie Newmar (T.V’s original “Catwoman”) were in attendance.
Q – How many “Batmobile” replicas’ are there in the U.S?
A – There’s a handful. There’s people that do make ‘em, but, they’re not poppin’ out that fast. There’s a guy in Canada that makes a few bodies once in awhile, that he molded off the original one, which is the Number One car, which sits in a museum, in L.A. and it does not tour. So, the ones that we have will go around with Adam West and whoever is ‘Bat’ related. We tour with them or go to different shows with them.
Q – I thought I saw the actual “Batmobile” on exhibit in a mall some 20 years ago. From what you’re saying, I probably saw a replica didn’t I?
A – They actually made 4 of them for the show, although 3 did not appear on the show. The Number 1 did, because it was available all the time. They kept it running. The other three were just used for the back-up cars. So, those 4 actually became the cars used on the show. The one you probably saw was one of the 3 that were touring around back in the 80’s. Back then, there weren’t any replicas around. These are the few that came from Canada because one of the original ones went to Canada, and the guy pulled a mold off it. He coated the car with gel coat and actually popped a mold off it and made a few more bodies from that. And that’s where these came from. It’s great for Adam (West), Burt (Ward – “Robin”) and the rest of them, and Julie Newmar (“Catwoman”). These cars being spread out across the country are good for them. They don’t have to travel with a car. They can just fly to certain places. The car doesn’t have to go very far to meet them. And, it helps them out just as well.
Q – Do you travel around the country exhibiting this “Batmobile”?
A – I really don’t. I’ve been to a few places on the East Coast. It’s basically just narrowed down to Adam West and Julie Newmar and Lee Merriwether, which was another ‘Catwoman’. Frank Gorshin, he was the originally ‘Riddler’, before he died. Car shows are just too small.
Q – So, wherever Adam West or Julie Newmar or Lee Merriwether are appearing, that’s where you want the ‘Batmobile’ to be?
A – Yes.
Q – So, where does the money come from to make it profitable for you to exhibit the “Batmobile”? How do you make money?
A – Well, I don’t. (Laughs). I do it just for the fun of it. That’s why it’s narrowed down. They do let me in for free. They do give me a lot of other things like food, lemonade, some wax. Some of them will pay the hotel room. The car did make it into the newspaper. It did appear with Adam West and that just thrills me. That’s all I go for.
Q – How did you get interested in the “Batmobile”?
A – Well, it’s been since I was a kid, 10 years old, in 1966. It’s just, I’ve always been in love with the car. Just recently with the Internet coming about I was able to get one of these guys that had made one of the bodies in Canada and they had it shipped to New Jersey and that’s where I would up getting it. Then I restored it, put it back together and all that.
Q – Are you a mechanic? Did you go any engine work on the “Batmobile”?
A – Oh, yes, I can do just about anything on the car. That’s about the only car I work on. I don’t work on anybody else’s; sometimes not even my own regular car. I just spend so much time toying with this one that I don’t have an interest in working on anybody else’s.
Q – How many times have you driven the “Batmobile”?
A – Just on and off the trailer. Sometimes in a parade. I did one parade and that’s about it even though it’s registered and insured, I don’t drive it anywhere.
Q – Are you exhibiting the “Batmobile” on weekends only or do you go out on the road for weekday shows?
A – No. Just weekends only. It’s only maybe two or three times a year that it actually comes down and goes to a show.
Q – And the rest of the time it sits in a garage?
A – Yup. It just sits in a garage.
Q – Was it expensive to acquire this “Batmobile”?
A – Well, it’s expensive in the time. Fixing the car. Putting it together. The time I had is where the expense is, not the money because most of the stuff was hand-made. I do my own painting, my own body work, my own welding and basically built the car from scratch of stuff I had laying around, so, there’s not that much money in the car.
Q – You could probably build other famous cars from t.v. shows of the past couldn’t you?
A – Yes, that’s probably what I’ll be doing in the future, building Stars Cars. I don’t know if I will get into it, but it may happen when this ‘Batmobile’ thing slows down a little. I may do it. I certainly can do it.
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