Caped Crusading

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LOGANSPORT, IND. (WPTA21)-Kids loved the cheesy Batman TV show in the 1960’s, the bad scripts, cheap sets, lousy acting…and the occasional quality attraction. But the superstar of this low point in American television viewing was, without a doubt, Batman’s trusty sidekick, and we don’t mean robin.

“I fell in love with everything about it, says Mark Racop. “I fell in love with the music the action, the color…but especially the Batmobile and I said ‘I want that car I want that car!’”

On a side street of Logansport, Indiana, a bat-fantasy is taking shape for aging, well-heeled fans.

“These cars are the most accurate replicas on the planet,” says Racop, “and we have produced twenty-seven of them that are completed now.”

For decades Fiberglass Freaks of Logansport has been the only company licensed by DC Comics to build replicas of the Batmobile used in the TV show. Mark Racop started the business, built his first batmobile from scratch at age seventeen…he still has it. Racop builds the fiberglass batmobile body in a mould then mounts it on a Lincoln Towncar chassis, paints it bat black and adds all the goodies, including a batphone. The result is a drivable piece of pop American culture that can cost 135-thousand to 260-thousand dollars depending on the model.

“These cars go up in value the minute they’re completed,” says Racop. “They go up about fifty thousand dollars so it’s more than just a fun toy it’s an investment.”

The original batmobile was the creation of designer George Barris who modified the body of a 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car to build it.. Mark Racop has a model of it in his office, a space that could be mistaken for a disorganized toy store. But Racop’s business is no child’s play, he’s sold cars to customers in England, Italy, three in Australia and has enough orders to keep him busy the next two years. Not bad for a 53 year old kid who found his life’s calling at age 17. And with all episodes of the original Batman show newly released on DVD and Blu-ray, chances are a whole new generation of batfans will soon be knocking on his door.



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