Batmobile #5 The 'Outlaw' Batmobile?

Scott Chinery's #5 Batmobile at home on June 24, 1997
The story of my recent visit to Scott's home.
Straight to the pictures!

The official story of this car's creation is fairly straight-forward. George Barris says that he built four (or even five) replicas of the #1 Batmobile. Assuming 4 replicas were made (2,3,4 and 5), numbers 2 thru 4 are known to be fiberglass-bodied and the #2 car was used in a 'stand-by' role in case #1 could not fulfill her on-camera duties. Number 3 was to be used for promotional car show tours, and Number 4 was the exhibition dragster. #5 was built as a 'stunt car' for the 1966 Film and season 2 and 3 episodes for shots of the car in motion.
Barris kept the car in a side yard at his shop for years until Santee, CA car collector Bob Butts purchased it for a handsome price in 1986. Bob set his crew to work for almost 6 months, turning the crumbling pile of bondo and rust into a thing of beauty. He also restored a Batcycle and built an impressive trailer in which to transport and display the pair. This car, and the Batcycle, were sold to Scott Chinery (at the wheel, above) for 185,000 dollars in 1988. They have spent a lot of time making appearances for charities and other causes all over the USA and the United Kingdom.
Chinery's car is unique in many ways. Unlike the #2, 3 and 4 cars, which are fiberglass, this one was fashioned of metal- which is an attribute it shares with only the original Futura/#1 car. It also has the distinction of having a complete, finished interior- with mild differences from the Futura, but still beautiful. Again numbers 2 through 4 have 'rough' interiors with most of their details poorly installed or just plain missing.
The story of my 1997 visit to Scott's home.
Straight to the pictures!

10/27/2000: My first update to this site in over a year is for the saddest of reasons possible. On Tuesday, October 24, 2000, Scott Chinery (founder of the Cybergenics line of fitness products and the very proud owner and gracious loaner of the #5 Batmobile) passed away at his home in Toms River, NJ of an apparent heart attack at the far too young age of 40. My deepest condolences go out to his family and friends. I wish I'd made more of an effort to stay in close contact with him, and I'm saddened that chance is lost.
6/24/1997: My visit to Mr. Chinery's home in Dover Township, New Jersey sprang from an Email I received from one of his acquaintances who instructed me, without much small talk, to contact Scott at his home in reference to the Batmobile. A phone number was supplied. I called it within minutes of reading the note and spoke with Mike, an aide to Scott. I explained about the Email and Mike asked what my connection to the Batmobile was. I detailed my involvement with this site, gave him the address for it, and he eventually said that he and Scott would look over the website and that Scott would get back to me and perhaps a visit to see the car could be arranged.
The next day, I got a phone call from Scott himself. He explained that he enjoyed the website and that he was impressed by the volume of people that were accessing it. He suggested we might get together to discuss his Batmobile and the others, and he wanted me to see the documentation for his car, received when it was purchased. As I had been claiming his car was not built by Barris, he thought I should at least see the paperwork before reaching such a conclusion.
We agreed on a date, which was later moved up two days and on Tuesday, June 24th, 1997, at 4pm, I arrived at the front gates of what can only be called an 'Estate'. I pressed the 'call' button on the security post keypad and heard Mike ask who I was. I answered and immediately, the electric-powered gates swung open. I immediately chuckled and mumbled 'Welcome to Wayne Manor'.
The best analogy to the impression I got as I drove past the gates and along the brick driveway was the home of 'Victor Maitlin' in the first 'Beverly Hills Cop' film. Same gate, guardhouse and foliage-lined, winding, brick driveway.
I crossed a very small bridge and the drive inclined and meandered left until a clearing formed, opening to a view of a courtyard of brick with an enormous fountain in the center. The house (mansion) was ahead on the right where two vehicles sat- apparently the 'daily-driver' cars for Scott and his wife. An archway dead ahead on the far side of the fountain seemed to lead to another brick-paved yard with a center island of various greenery. On either side of the archway were window-less structures matching the main house which I later learned were the backs of the twin 2-car garages. To the left of the fountain, the brick drive pushed into the foliage to create a space to park 4 or 5 guest vehicles. I parked and gathered my cameras, papers and wits, then got out of my car to hear the less-than-amiable sound of a very throaty 'warning bark'. I glanced toward the archway to see a very large, gray Bull Mastif walking slowly toward me. The smart thing here is to just hop back in your car and wait for the Cavalry. But I was an invited guest, and figured someone MUST have told the dog, so I just stood my ground and made stupid 'proud dog owner baby talk' at it! 'Hi Puppy! Whatsa matta big boy?' He was unimpressed.
One of the two huge front doors of the house opened to reveal a well-tanned, well-muscled Scott Chinery. Without a command to the dog, he simply said 'It's OK, he won't bother you'. Ha! They did already tell the dog I was coming! Ok, not quite. The dog is just so damn smart, he knows that if Scott is speaking to me in a friendly tone, there is no need to shear my head off and play soccer with it. This theory proved true as I was leaving but I'll explain later.
Scott and I shook hands and exchanged pleasantries, then headed thru the foyer directly into his office. It was a dark room of rich, heavy woods and low light. Aside from a large computer monitor and multi-line phone, the rest of the room looked like it was 100 years young. Other items that caught my eye were an assortment of Batmobile toys- some quite rare- that Scott explained he'd only recently began acquiring. Several were still in their original packaging from the 60s!
We sat and began talking about my website- the whys and how longs, and what my future plans for it were. We'd talked for perhaps 10 minutes when Mike arrived to join us. Talk continued on Scott's car and why and how he acquired it and eventually we got on the touchy subject of it's origin- specifically- who built it. As I had brought all the text of my website with me, I offered my ideas and opinions based on the evidence and reports I had. Scott offered the version he'd been given by both Barris and Bob Butts. We batted these stories around, and then Scott asked Mike to dig out the paperwork for the car's purchase. As these were not at the Estate, Mike drove off to retrieve them from another office nearby.
In the interim, Scott suggested we 'go look at the car'. I took a deep breath, gathered my gear and followed this human wall from the office, down a hallway to where we came to a door to the 'attached' garages that, when opened, gave way to reveal the near bay was empty- affording a wide open view of a Lamborghini Diablo! I made some dopey 'Wow' noises and we exited this garage into the archway that connected to the next two bays. Scott opened the side door and stepped in. Even before he turned on a light, I could see from outside, a gloss-black side panel with Cherise red trim....and a Cragar SS mag with Bat emblem. I followed Scott in as he made his way around the back of the car. I was standing at the rear right wheel of the car, mouth open and eyes racing wildly all over the long black beauty. The garage door opened in front of the car and I moved behind the car to the driver side. Scott cautioned me not to trip over 'the bike', which was under a cover between the Batmobile and the Hummer. I lifted the corner to peek and sure enough, here was the BatCycle!!
When I got to the front of the car, I asked if the car could be brought outside for pictures. Scott had no objection, and took a large free-weight from in front of the car's tire and we gently pushed the car forward. Careful not to let it run away and into the concrete-lined center island, Scott pushed and steered while I just pushed (as if he needs my help, I thought). When the rear of the car cleared the doorway and was in the sunlight, we stopped the car and I grabbed my camera.
Part two of the visit.
Straight to the pictures!

The pictures in this section were all taken between 4:45 and 5:30PM, Tuesday, June 24, 1997, at Scott Chinery's home (His Desert Tan HUMMER is visible in the background of some of them....his Purple Lamborghini Diablo is not seen, tho I did see it...and drooled on the wax).

First off, one thing I must say is this car looks amazingly good for a 10-year-old restoration. It gleams.
The black caps in the car's front grille actually protrude forward about an inch and a half. Looking under the car, it seems they are the original bumper mounts of the T-Bird donor car, disguised. This is a quick observation and may not be correct. I neglected to inspect the rear ones, but will do so on another visit.

The interior is still quite sharp, showing little wear and tear. The few obvious imperfections I noted are the cut Batphone cord, a missing interior door handle, and the parachute handle needed a repaint. Otherwise, you might think the car was only a year or two old.

The rear view of this car shows some wildly exaggerated angles! The third shot is a close up of the turbine exhaust port, showing an orange coil deep inside that lights to give an orange glow.

A striking side view, eh?

This side view makes the car look bent in the middle, but that is due to the fact that's it's actually two pictures that I attached after scanning. The seam is just forward of the rear canopy.

The Batmobile returns to it's climate-controlled garage to await it's next public appearance.

In the same garage, between the Batmobile and a Hummer sits the BatCycle and sidecar- also still in excellent shape.

After the pictures were taken, I took out my Camcorder and filmed the car all around and inside. At no time did we have the hood open as the hood is lifted electrically- and the battery was dead at the moment (no chance of a test drive this time- dang!). It should be noted now that I question the judgement of anyone that would construct a car with an electrically-operated engine hood that CONCEALS THE BATTERY! Moving on.....
As I was going over the car in detail, I realized the body had a 'crack' on the hood. Scott pointed out that when the car was restored by Bob Butts, a thin coat of fiberglass was applied over the steel body both as repair and protection. Scott plans a full restoration of the body for 1998 and plans to remove the 'glass to properly repair the steel body below. He hopes to leave the interior pretty much as is, tho, as he likes the idea that it appears to not be 'new'. I hope to convince him to make a few mechanical changes- things I'd do if I owned it. First thing would be to relocate the battery into the tiny trunk, so it can be easily accessed. The connections to it would be quick-connecting clips like those used in race cars, so the cables could be disconnected by hand whenever the car is to be stored for some time- preventing draining. Other things like front DISC brakes and a tuned exhaust system would be nice, as well as functional tail lights, turn signals and such- all incorporated into existing features of the car. But ANYWAY......
I asked Scott when was the last time he'd riven the car on the road. He replied it has been several years. However, he explained a close friend likes to borrow it and, in full Batman costume, cruises the area, whipping up a frenzy- going as far as to roll up next to police cars to say 'Hello, Fellow Crime-Fighters!'. Ya gotta wonder if his room at home is padded!
While filming, Mike returned with a VERY thick folder which he and Scott now sat and thumbed through. I finished filming and joined them, ooo-ing and ahh-ing at the various letterheads and photos of many Barris-built and/or Butts-owned cars. I was given a few Xerox copies of letters from George Barris explaining the car's primary use as a 'stunt' car, which Scott explains was Barris' term for any car used for 'in-motion' scenes, and also described the car as ' of the five Batmobiles designed by George Barris for the ABC TV, and Universal movie "Batman".' Now, I can see this being taken both ways. It seems Barris is saying it's one of five cars he built for the show's use. However, have a lawyer read this sentence, and he's likely to say there's nothing concrete in it. First, Barris doesn't say he BUILT five cars- merely that he DESIGNED five cars. Second, the sentence says the film was from Universal when, in fact, it was from Twentieth Century Fox. The latter can be chaulked up to failing memories, but the rest leaves me still in the middle. I will say, after seeing the car up close, that I have moved back closer to center between the Barris or Fan-built stories- the car has some odd technical similarities to the other 4 cars as well. #5 and #3 share the same 3-gallon gas tank, for instance.
As rain clouds were looming closer, Scott suggested we push the car back into the garage and head inside. Somehow, pushing the car was easy, but once inside, I reached for the free-weight Scott had casually tossed aside earlier, and tried to lift.......drag it in front of the car's tire. Once there, the car was safe and the door closed.
We moved back into the office, Mike went off to handle other business and Scott and I discussed his car's business 'potential'. He wants to have to car get out more to be seen by fans, but also feels some memorabilia would be a good idea- letting fans of the car take a 'piece of it home'. Things like a video, posters, photos and such were mentioned. We also talked of a dedicated website for his car alone that would be it's official home, listing appearance dates as well as making selected memorabilia available. And before you start rolling your eyes and say 'Here come the capitalists', understand that Scott is a fan as well, and as such, has the same reverence for this car that I (and I suspect you) do. I don't see Bat-Hats with propellers and the like being in the mix. I believe things will be kept 'classy'.
We also took a few minutes to vist a large room where a small portion of Scott's enormous guitar collection is held- a shrine to six strings and much more. I think there were more guitars in that room than white corpuscles in my bloodstream [Note to self: Make appointment with blood specialist]. So after about two hours with Scott, we felt we'd milked the discussions for as much as we were going to get out of a first visit. We've made plans to keep in contact and to play with ideas. He also extended an open invite to stop down again and visit the car, perhaps with a few friends (Oh, boy, am I gonna get Email now!), which I hope to take advantage of, as I'd love to shoot another roll or two of film on the car- of areas not yet covered here.
Scott walked me to the front door, we traded good-byes and take-cares while shaking hands. He opened the front door and as I started down the stairs, the dog was waiting at the bottom. I offered a 'hello' to him and he seemed in a good mood....until the door closed behind me. Suddenly, the dog was back on alert and my offer to pet him was met with a hearty growl. I withdrew my out-stretched hand and marched smoothly toward my car, the dog allowing me to get well ahead of him. Once in my car with the door closed, the dog headed for the rear courtyard again and I let out a relieved breath. I started my car, backed up, then headed out along the driveway and as I crossed the bridge, I noted the bricks at the far end of it seemed 'different' from the rest. As my front wheels rolled over them, the gates ahead began to swing open and I rolled out, onto public pavement and back to the real world.

These pictures show Chinery's car at the 'Video Retailers Association' convention at the Las Vegas Hilton's Convention Center in August of either 1989 or 1990. Thanks to Andy Garringer for these two pics!

These pictures show it on it's trailer doing the 'car show' thing around 1989. Thanks to Frank Cerney for these pics!

Mr.Chinery takes the car for a spin in 1989....which is a task considering the cooling problems and drum brakes! To say the least, she's rather 'unforgiving'!

This is the neatest feature on the car...the interior. Other than the #1 car, this is the only Batmobile with a finished interior....and what a dashboard! The silver 'rolltop' areas are so cool, as is the steering wheel with built-in speedometer (non-functional...poop!). Check out the nifty Bat-phone! Notable also is the classy orange piping on the seats...added during it's 1986-87 restoration.
The wheel-mounted speedometer was later removed and replaced with a Bat-logo cover. Why, I don't know (yet!)
If you lay on the ground about 6 inches from the tire of this car, this is what it looks like. :)
The business-class section: A Ford FE352 Big Block V8 with automatic transmission (all five cars are automatics today). A 66' 352 had a four barrel carb, and was rated at 250 hp and 352 ft-lbs of torque. Not quite as exotic as, say, a jet turbine powerplant....but what can you do?
This rear shot (fouled up by a wayward magazine staple!) shows some items not seen on 'Barris-built' Batcars. The two black circles in the grille areas seem to be indicators of the tail pipe locations. The taillights don't appear to be functional, but rather look like painted filler panels. The turbine exhaust port, however, looks to be fully functional (tho it isn't)! Where the two fins end near the center of the rear deck, there are 'V' shaped ribs that join the fins together. Some Batmobiles, real and replicas, have these trimmed in red- as this #5 does, while others leave them black.

Important Note:
Scott Chinery's understanding of this car's history is dramatically different from the one I have presented below, and to his credit, he didn't demand I change the conclusions I offered. Instead, he and I are going over his documentation and we're trying to come up with the 'truth' of this car's existence! Until then, I've re-written the information presented on this page so that the various stories I've heard are given equal time.
Outside of direct quotes from published articles and books, this page is based on my own, personal opinions. I can not and will not guarantee the accuracy of those opinions as I was never privvy to first-hand information- I did not help to build these cars, and have no personal relationship with anyone who did. My phone and Email contacts with a few of the current owners, a few 'Bat-Historians', and many, many fans is the extent of my direct involvement with these cars. Basically, everything here is either my own personal observations or heresay.

The alternate story I've heard is that this Batmobile was built as the TV show died off and Barris had all four of his cars out doing the show car circuit. Someone else decided to get in on the popularity of the Batmobile... by building one of their own from a '58 Ford Thunderbird. This would not have been a major problem if they hadn't attempted to follow Barris' lead and have it appear at shows for a fee!!

Of course, Barris and DC Comics sued and won. Part of the settlement was that the builders of the replica turn it over to Mr. Barris....and since he was now it's rightful owner, it could now be called a 'Barris Batmobile'...and so Number 5 was born! The only officially-recognized, 'real' Batmobile NOT built by Barris Kustoms!

Whichever version turns out to be true, the fact is, this is probably the best Futura Batmobile George Barris ever owned.

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