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I've grown up with the Batmobile having the long front and a jet engine in order to be fast. They always slightly changed in design but had the general look I knew from the cartoons:

Batmobile from the Cartoons

Then, in Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy, a completely new design was introduced: the Tumbler. Is this a new design by Nolan (or his team) or has something similar already existed earlier in any Batman featured story (comics, films, cartoons etc.)?

  • There was a tank-like batmobile in The Dark Knight Returns, which kicked off the real "dark" Batman. I don't know how to post a photo. – Martin Sep 16 at 13:59
  • You can post a link in the comments or an image in an answer. – Shade Sep 16 at 15:25
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    batmobilehistory.com/miller-batmobile.php From The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller – Martin Sep 16 at 17:56
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From an interview with the production designer Nathan Crowley (here), it's mentioned that the Tumbler was partially inspired by random toys from Toys R Us (bizarre, I know).

Crowley told Collider that:

“one of the biggest things [Nolan] wanted to try and do was redesign the Batmobile.” And so off Crowley went to his local toy store.

“It was a Friday, I went away and I went down to Toys R Us and bought a bunch of vehicles,” Crowley explained. “I went over to my workshop and cut everything up and smashed them up. We talked about mashing up a Lamborghini with a Humvee, and so I thought, ‘Well let’s just start somewhere.’ So I smashed this thing together and I left it on his doorstep on a Monday morning.”

So it looks like the Tumbler had no background/inspiration from the Bat-verse at all. It was just a mashup of different toys to make a Frankenstein version of a car.

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    There is also the added element that in the Nolanverse, Bruce picked up many of his toys already pre-existing (developed by his company) and just adapted them, so the Tumbler was an already existing vehicle. In most of the other adaptations and comics, Batman rolls out the gear after he's developed the Bat-motif and so it's designed from the ground up with that aesthetic in mind. – Keith Morrison Sep 16 at 16:37
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    Crowley was probably doing some kitbashing. The wikipedia article on kitbashing even mentions that the batmobile from Batman Begins was created through kitbashing. It says this can be seen in the "special features disc of the film's DVD". No reference though unfortunately. – Kodos Johnson Sep 17 at 4:42

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