It's not until the Nolan/Christian Bale films that the Batmobile takes a more interesting turn. In keeping with the times, it looks more utilitarian, more military, more badass. The design brief was that director Christopher Nolan wanted it to look like a cross between a tank and a Lamborghini.

Nathan Crowley was one of the creators of what has become known as The Tumbler, making four versions-all with 5.7-liter Chevrolet V8 engines, plenty of carbon fiber panels, racing front tires (Hoosier) and mud 4x4 rear tires (Interco), and the same kind of suspension used by Baja racing trucks. Each car cost $250,000 to make, but the design and development costs run into the millions. Stunt drivers practiced for six months prior to filming on Chicago's streets.

In The Dark Knight, half of The Tumbler is an escape pod that becomes a motorcycle. Another super-cool facet. Somehow the Batmobile has managed to remain several steps ahead of real-life technology. Having a phone and voice-activated functions in a car from the '60s is impressively forward-looking. Perhaps one day, we'll all be driving around in Tumblers. Just spare us the tights.

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