Comedian Jeff Dunham has gained a significant fan following thanks to his work as a ventriloquist, entertaining audiences with a variety of characters that sit on his arm. What you may not know, however, is that he's also a rather avid car collector, and arguably the jewel of his collection is the actual Batmobile from Tim Burton's 1992 hit Batman Returns that he wound up building on to and making even more awesome than it was originally.
The Wall Street Journal has published a piece about Duhham's special vehicle titled "How a Joker Revived a Batmobile," and it reveals some amazing custom work that the comedian did on the Batman Returns Batmobile since purchasing it back in 2011 (you can see a image on the article page). While he didn't mention how much the amazing movie prop actually cost him, he notes that he has done about half-a-million dollars worth of upgrades on it, making it into both a unique piece and a vehicle that is actually drivable on the road. As Dunham describes it,
I put a Corvette engine in it and re-engineered things so it’s drivable and safe. It has blinkers, taillights, and five cameras in it so you can see everything around you.
Obviously, some of the Burton-era Batmobile's more famous wonderful toys probably aren't really street legal, so one has to assume that there is a limitation to exactly how authentic Jeff Dunham's car can ultimately be. That being said, I wonder if there are any gadgets that he could get away with implementing just by hiding them within the body of the vehicle and only using in private. The machine guns is probably way too much, but what about at least a grappling hook? It's key for those tight turns.
Further discussing his time with the car, Dunham noted that he has taken his comic book-based treasure to car shows before, and immediately gets stares from the folks who have driven up in more standard vehicles. Said Dunham,
When I go to a car show, I see all these guys with their Lamborghinis. I drive up in this plywood and fiberglass movie prop and people go nuts. It’s nothing but happy.
I think pretty much every geek in the world has imagined personally owning the Batmobile at one point or another, so one does have to give Jeff Dunham at least some kudos for making that dream a reality. Not too shabby for a guy who makes a living throwing all of his punchlines to puppets.
If you could own any of the Batmobiles, which would you choose? Would you go for the Burton version like Jeff Dunham? Or would you pick one of the other many variations we've seen over the years?