Lot 34
1916 La Bestioni Batmobile

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CHASSIS NO: 73924

• From the world-famous collection of Gary Wales
• The 100-year-old Batmobile
• Authorized by George Barris, creator of the original Batmobile
• A spectacular work of art
• Massive 16-liter engine, dual-chain drive


16-liter, 1,007 cid 24 plug six-cylinder Seagrave engine, dual-chain drive, power steering, power-assisted front disc brakes


Created by the internationally known car collector and custom car builder Gary Wales of Woodland Hills, California, this magnificent machine originally started out life as an American LaFrance truck. Seagrave and American LaFrance were revered as the manufacturers of high-quality, reliable and extremely heavy-duty vehicles. The ideal choice of many Fire Departments in the United States with a large enough budget to afford the very best. Many of these vehicles remained in service for decades, a testament to their quality. After their many years of faithful service, they were retired, then used for parts and eventually junked. Seeing a partially striped and decaying century-old Seagrave sparked an idea that could only come from the creative mind of Gary Wales. With all the original fire apparatus missing, but with the drivetrain still intact, this was the perfect canvas on which to paint for Wales. He would save this rare machine and several others like it to construct cars the likes of which the world had never seen before, calling his transformed and finished creations “La Bestioni”.

This huge machine features a 1916 American LaFrance chassis with a massive, 1,007 cubic-inch (16-liter) Seagrave engine that has separate blocks for each piston, giving it massive torque and uses 24 spark plugs (four per cylinder) to run. Power is shifted through a three-speed manual transmission to the rear axle driven by a remarkable dual chain drive system. All this power and torque, plus reduced weight, make it capable of topping speeds of one hundred miles per hour. This La Bestioni also incorporates power disc brakes and power-assisted steering. The original classic design elements remain, but with modern safety features that blend and enhance the overall performance, allowing the driver and co-pilot to safely navigate in modern driving conditions.

Each Gary Wales creation has a theme, and this one is “The One Hundred-Year-Old Batmobile”. This enormous piece of automotive history is not only a salute to the great racing cars of the heroic age, it also pays tribute to one of the most iconic automobiles ever created, The Batmobile. Mr. George Barris, the “King of Customizers”, creator of dozens of famous cars used in television and movies, built the original Batmobile in the 1960s. Barris was a close friend and mentor to Gary Wales and Barris and the original Batmobile were the inspiration for this build. Wales vision was that if a Batmobile had been built one hundred years ago, this is what it might have looked like. Before Mr. Barris’s untimely passing, he presented Mr. Wales with the very coveted George Barris builder badge. Barris stated that this creation was the only other authorized Batmobile other than his original. This very special badge is displayed on the dashboard. This exquisitely crafted, hand-built, artistically brilliant car exemplifies the extreme attention paid to detail present on all of Mr. Wales’s wonderful creations.

A multiple Best of Show and People’s Choice Award winner, this spectacular, bespoke Batmobile is truly unique, an automotive masterpiece that will be the center point of any exhibition.