Super, just super

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November 6th, 2012 Pablo Chaterji

After coming out of a viewing of The Dark Knight Rises a while ago, I was struck by a thought - various superheros have very distinctive vehicles associated with them, and many of those would make for excellent driving companions in today’s insane driving conditions.

Take the Batman series of films, for example. The average person is likely to think that a Lamborghini (any Lamborghini) is a very cool car indeed. Right from the first ever car, the 350GT, to the current Aventador, and encompassing greats like the Miura, Countach and even the LM002 SUV, Lambos have always looked six ways to arresting, if not outright stunning.

Well, somebody out there thought that it would be even cooler to cross-breed a battle tank and a Lamborghini, and the result of that tryst was The Tumbler, Batman’s ride in Christopher Nolan’s three Batman movies (it was never called the ‘Batmobile’). A ‘car’ as fast as a Lamborghini, as tough as a tank, as agile as a gecko, with enough firepower to blow away cities AND with a motorbike incorporated into it? Are you kidding me?! Where do I queue up?

There is probably no other superhero who is as umbilically associated with a car as Batman is to the Batmobile, a vehicle that has been through various design iterations in its illustrious life. There are plenty of other superheroes out there with some pretty serious machinery as well, however, and all of them would make for the ultimate dream garage.

Take the Green Hornet, for example. The recent movie (with funnyman Seth Rogan hopelessly miscast as the titular character) may have been a steaming pile of tripe, but boy, how’s about the mid-‘60s Chrysler Imperial Crown, nicknamed Black Beauty, that the fellow drove? With a GM Performance 500 hp engine, three miniguns, two AR-15 machine guns, a flamethrower, twelve missiles, spiked wheels and a bulletproof body, it’s just the sort of car needed for daily commuting in Mumbai. Ooh, just thinking about what could be done to errant taxis, rickshaws, pedestrians and the like gives me goosebumps.

I wouldn’t throw Captain Nemo’s ‘Otto Mobile’ out of bed either. Again, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was a cinematic dud, but this quite extraordinary car, made of silver and ivory and with six wheels and a tracking device, is glacially cool. By rights, it should have the handling capabilities of an aircraft carrier on grease, but who cares? Roll up to the friendly neighbourhood nightclub in it and be prepared to make an impression like no other.

Need something more utilitarian, along the lines of a Toyota Innova? There’s always the Battle Van, The Punisher’s wheels of choice. It’s meant to look like a humble TV repairer’s UV, but it hides enough weapons of mass destruction and advanced communication systems to start WWIII. If you know how hardcore a character The Punisher is, you will pull over well in advance if you see the Battle Van coming. Just the thing for a daily runabout in Delhi, then.

These are all undoubtedly excellent vehicles, each with its own merits, but the one that would occupy pride of place in my superhero garage is the Batmobile from Tim Burton’s Batman films. It’s an Art Deco masterpiece on wheels, and with its gas turbine, Browning machine guns, oil-slick nozzles, grappling hook and smoke shields, among others, it gets my vote as the most amazing superhero car ever made. Indeed, for those ultra-narrow, heavily crowded mofussil streets, it even sheds its sides and transforms into a sort of Bat-missile, making it a breeze to simply blast through everything and everybody. As Val Kilmer’s caped crusader says in Batman Forever (not my choice of Batmobile in this one) ‘It’s the car, right? Chicks dig the car.’


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