Not a Batmobile, But a Do-All Vehicle

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Updated: Jan 30, 2002

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This is a Design I came up with years ago. The basic idea goes back to my College days. I had designed a canard radio control glider and began thinking of the possibilities of a flying car. The idea sat dormant in my mind until one day...

I had been working for George Barris as his Artist. He is the creator of the first "TV Batmobile". One day, in casual conversation, he told me that a New "Batman Movie" was going to be made. As it turned out it was the first of the new Feature Length, Batman Blockbusters. The Batman movie starred Michael Keaton as Batman and Jack Nicholson as the Joker.

This one, short, sentence jolted me in to action. George Barris had made the first Batmobile for Television out of the 1956 Lincoln Futura "Show Car" back in the early 1960's and in my eyes, he was the natural guy to make this new "Batmobile". I went home and worked on some ideas. That is when I remembered my flying car idea from college. Well, why not make it do everything? After all, it is just a movie. He did not ask me to do any of this. I took it upon myself to follow this lead.

These drawings are the basic car, but they are obviously not a Batmobile. In it's earliest design phase it was, of course, going to be the new Batmobile. But things transpired to change that. The last vestige from it's first "Bat Shape" is the "Delta Wing" tail.

My idea was to design a car that would do everything. A kind of Do-All Vehicle if you will. Well, I did not tell George I was working on this project. However, I kept pumping him for information. Finally, I came out and asked him straight, "George, are you in line to build the new Batmobile"? He said "no".

My heart sank. That is when I told him that I had been working on a Do-All Vehicle that I had wanted to be the next "Batmobile". He was not happy that he would not be involved with the "new" Batmobile project, and he had said that the car was already built, made in England or something and that he was never asked to be in the competition.

But then he asked me about the "Batmobile" I was designing. I told him that it was designed to be a car, 4X4 Off-Road Truck, amphibious Boat, amphibious Submarine, and an Airplane. The only things that it could not do was burrow in to the Earth and shoot in to outer space. I told him I had ideas for that too! In fact, if I can find the drawings, I designed a van that does the same things. A van has a lot more room to hide moving bits.

Well, that was enough to pique his interest. He asked to see what I had. I went home that night and using my Batmobile Master Drawing, I came up with some Do-All Vehicles. To make a Batmobile design now was not in the cards. So, I put simple color stripes on them, just to give them some life. I made all of these drawings in one night, so the quality is not something I am proud of. However, the ideas are what are important here.

The Do all 4X4 is nothing more that the basic car with the suspension raised and the bubble canopy open. I got the idea for the raised suspension from my 1968 Ford Fairlane. I have two suspension settings for her. I put huge truck springs in front and pump up the rear air shocks all the way when I want ground clearance. I went off road with her a lot, and it worked. So this car benefits from "Old Number 11".

This was a Spec Job and one that I initiated. This baby is all mine.

I was showing the drawings to George in the hopes that he had a television show it might fit in to or inspire. Finally, I had a project that I owned. Everything up until then had been Art work that George had asked me to come up with. In that way, he was the owner of any ideas I might incorporate in his design. Much the way apprentice artists help Master artists on large projects. I put a great deal of my own ideas in to each project I did for him, but in the end he had paid me for each one and he owned his designs. I have very few original drawings from this period for this very reason. They are either hanging up in Georges shop or at a Studio somewhere.

This one is a natural. There have been many amphibious cars in the past. In fact some guy built a speed boat/Car a couple of years ago. My Do-All Boat has inflatable tube sections that come out of the rocker panels. The huge air inlets close in this configuration.

I handed the drawings over to him and stated that these were my property and that anything done with them, was to be owned and controlled by me.

The, large, ugly orange stickers were placed on them while in Georges custody as information for the prospective clients, I guess. Well, this car never got built. No reason was given. The project seemed to be dropped and forgotten. I retrieved the drawings and nothing further has been said to me about it.

Hey, the Do-All Submarine might not be real, but Hollywood can do anything with blue screens and Mattes. Wheeeee!

Here are the "Canard" wings unfolded from the body. The 4X4 suspension raises the car up in the air to be able to better cushion the landings. The wings are like a switchblade knife. They are stored in the body behind long thin doors. The wings swing out and extend. This would be the configuration for Taking off and Landing.

Here we can see the Do-All Flying along. I know I can build a large radio controlled "realistic looking" scale model of this car. You would not need much in the way of Computer Models. You could fly a 1/2 scale model around the location where the shoot is taking place. No one could tell the difference. Well, no one but me! ;-)

This car is a real doable thing. I am convinced that it could be operated safely. Many people have come up with designs that leave the wings at the airport. This one stores them in the body behind protective covers that also act as lift devices. The Canard design is something I have come to know and understand.

This is my "Ahiru" Canard Radio Control Glider Design in action. The flying car would use a similar type of wing layout. Check out my fanciful "Wings" page for more aircraft idea "samples" of mine.

I designed this Canard Flying Jet car for a Barris TV project. The project died for some reason, but the idea remains!

The do-all design has evolved over time and, in general, I have stuck with the flying car theme. It seems to be the most viable. Here is a small group of ideas.

I have moved the wing lower so that the car will have a lower center of gravity. You want to keep most of the weight between the triangle of the three wheels for better handling and reduce the chance of overturning. The Tri-Hawk automobile was a car based on a motorcycle without a front wheel, bolted to the back of a 2 seat cabin and a mustang II front end. Its center of gravity was very low. However, Tri-Hawks have been known to flip in a radical corner. It is still best to have the 2 wheels in front of the vehicle as opposed to the rear. In the rear, 2 wheel, configuration it is even more unstable. This vehicle is the culmination of years of research and thinking. I hope to get serious with it soon. Any financial backers out there? How about you, Lockheed Martin or Boeing? You keep visiting this page. I am all ears.

You can contact me via E-Mail: robert@robertwebb.com

The aircrafts Center of Gravity and the cars center of gravity are in the right place now. I do not like the body shape yet, but the engineering is coming along. Andy Lennon wrote a book on how to design a Canard model aircraft many years ago. Most of my flying canards have used his formulas to obtain center of gravity, airfoil selection, wing position to obtain lift from the front wings vortices and general theory on the subject. I owe a great deal to him. Thanks Andy. I think I have the aptitude to be an engineer, I just do not have all of the math skills. With a great aircraft design engineer helping out, like Burt Rutan of Scaled Composites, I am certain this bird could fly. Burt Rutan, if you are out there.... What do you think? Please be honest. :)

I still like and admire George Barris a great deal. He hired me first, and if it were not for him I would never have my design ideas on television. The 1986 "Knight Rider" television show K.I.T.T. car turns in to a Rocket Car with cartoon like wings in "Super Pursuit Mode", and a very nice convertible to boot. Both of these projects had my design influence, even though I was Georges "Artist". George always paid on time, and he rarely had me change anything. He usually liked my ideas and allowed me liberal latitude. Thanks George, for the memories. I hope we can do something else in the future.

I now Design and Maintain Computer Networks for a living. All of that Hollywood "Hoopla" is behind me. I sleep well at night and I only answer to myself. I still get to draw cars when I want to, and my Garage is full of fun "Wheeled" and "Winged" projects. This is enough for me. At least for now! After all, I have gotten ideas on television already and I am not in any big hurry to get back. One day, perhaps, I will build one of these cars. If I do, it probably should be this "Do-All" vehicle. Maybe I could do a radical modification to this one and present it to the new "Batman" movie people? Ha Ha. Oh well, life goes on.