Featured in the 1989 Batman flick, this car was something we never expected. It’s lines and contours were something that we could only dream of. There is a kit available for those who have the means and the will to build a car underneath an attainable fibreglass body. The kit does come with a pair of door/covers, the problem is that there is no reinforcement within the fibreglass and they constantly warp due to the heat of the engine bay.
We were contacted to troubleshoot and ultimately hired to reproduce a set of steel copies to replace the flimsy fibreglass ones.
Lets take a look at why these doors are so important. Below is a clip from Batman (1989) where the Batmobile enters the Axis chemical plant. At the 8 second mark you will see the doors eject from the car and a set of browning machine guns emerge to cut a hole in a doorway.
and here is a freeze frame showing the doors mid air after ejection.
First, lets take a look at a shot provided of the actual screen used car he shot. Ultimately, this is what we are working towards.
First thing was first, take the warped kit doors and grab all of the measurements. Yes those are 15lb dumbbells! 😉
Next was to bring the observed measurements in to a 3D environment as observed with the provided fibreglass door.
You would think thats it right? mmmmmm, no.
We decided to take this to the next level. As we know, the Batmobile is bullet proof and somewhat indestructible from the most part as seen on film. Since these doors will be mounted to linear actuators and rise up and down, over and over, …. and over… and take a beating as this replica car will be a working driving vehicle, our in-house motto is build it right the first time.
So we decided to actually engineer an underbody. Most people will never see this but we will leave the project when completed knowing that the doors will last or outlast the car itself.
After creating the full model, it was now time to create a set of drawings for manufacturing. All of the fit and finish details to hand of to the guys in metal fab lab!
Below illustrates what each of the cut parts will look like as well as an exploded version showing the final assembly.
After the full setup has been completed, the 3D files have been broken down in to the line drawing files and prepped for laser cutting.
One of the critical phases of the project was to get the louvers punched out as close to the required measurements as possible. This required the tooling of a custom die for the punching process. Testing was key to see how far we could push the steel before it started to tear.
After all of the laser cutting and louver punching we have our steel ready for assembly and test fit.
Some retooling of the perforated steel inserts need to be done to get them to fit in nice and tight in to the slightly larger underbody insert. They were cut at the exact same size so that they could be manually refined due to the irregularities caused by the perforations.
Here are several closeups of the inserts seated in between the steel layers.
After each part was cleaned up and test fitted, the doors were temporarily bolted together to be test fitted on the Batmobile body. (below, the engineered underbody created to keep the door rigid)
Below, the door seated in the recessed opening of the body. The end result of the test fit resulted in 2 layers of the underbody being removed. The would allow for a rubber weather seal to be installed during final fit and finish of the car.
As an added final finish to the doors, we decided to flush rivet the doors together with tack welds in key areas under the door. The end result would be a stiff rigid door able to take the abuse of the road as well as repeated handling should the owner decide to do so.
The final completed gun door (bare metal/unfinished)
For more information regarding this project or information regarding fabrication please drop us a line here