However, the intricate details of how these cars came to be have been twisted, hacked and butchered as much as the cars themselves! To summarize what I feel is the truth, I've read the articles available here, other articles found elsewhere, and I've sifted the many 'facts' offered to me by hundreds of Bat-fans that have visited this website...including a few of the owners of the real Batmobiles. Again, this is my own OPINION.
I believe that the #1 Batmobile is indeed the modified Lincoln Futura show car. Acquired by Barris thru his affiliations with Ford's 'Custom Cars Caravan' tour and his connections with 20th Century Fox.
Converted to Bat-use in about 3 weeks with the help of his own crew, and Bill Cushenbery, the car was 'marginal' in performance when at it's best. Repairs and rework were constant, but at NO time was another car built to stand in for #1 on film for the TV series or the Motion Picture. The additional THREE Batmobiles built by Barris Kustoms were built solely for national tours (i.e., money making). #2 and #3 did the regular 'show' circuit while #4 toured drag strips in exhibition competition with similar replicas of other famous cars, including the Green Hornet's 'Black Beauty'.
As the tours went on, the fiberglass bodies began to show stress cracks. At least two (#2 and #4, definately) were covered in black velvet 'BatFuzz' to conceal this damage, allowing them to continue touring.
And now the part that is most confusing. George Barris claims to have built the #5 car for use as a 'stunt car' in the 1966 film and then for the series before becoming a show car like it's sisters. However, another version I've heard says that while Barris was showing his 4 cars, another Batmobile was created by private owners and began being shown at events for a fee. The owners of the car had no permission to do so, and were sued by DC Comics and Barris. The resulting settlement meant the car would become the property of Barris, and was thereafter referred to as #5.
Eventually, Barris began selling the cars off thru auctions or privately arranged sales.
Here's a map of the USA showing the locations of the cars.
Barris TV and Movie Cars
Adam West Remembers Batman
Scott Chinery is young, rich and drives the Batmobile