The series of Batman movies keeps raising the stakes for one-of-a-kind vehicles. In the latest Hollywood release, Batman Begins, the Batmobile that the Caped Crusader uses to help him fight crime in Gotham City is actually eight vehicles.
Movie production designer Nathan Crowley started by cutting up and blending hobby-shop plastic models of a Lamborghini Countach, a Hummer and World War II-vintage P-38 Lightning airplane to create the look. A few months later - after settling on the design with a Baja-racer-style front suspension - Crowley asked car builders at England's Shepperton Studios to build the Batmobiles. The idea was to use real cars to give the film a more gritty realism than if computer-generated vehicles were used.
The four movable Batmobiles are powered by 5.7-liter, 340hp, Chevrolet V-8 engines that can propel the heavy cars more than 160kph. The four other versions are special-use cars - two for close-ups of characters getting in and out of the vehicles and two "leaping" cars for jumps.
How does that work? According to the website howstuffworks.com, the full-sized cars were simply loaded into an air cannon and blasted 10 meters high before falling onto concrete-reinforced movie sets.
Don't try this at home.