Bat-mania: Commisioner Gordon’s 1951 Studebaker from Batman Forever

Can anyone name a Studebaker model other than the Avanti? I could not until my crash course in the gorgeous works of one of American’s storied but rarely seen automobile makes.

Luckily, after around 40 years, the international Studebaker club decided to have their meet once again in Lancaster, PA this week and I got a history lesson on the brand that was originally founded by German immigrant coal miners who started building ass-kicking wagons for the Union Army way back during the Civil War.

With the digital camera in hand, I found some new automobile favorites and this car, a 1951 Studebaker Champion Starlight Coupe, which was Commisoner Gordon’s (Pat Hingle’s) ride in the rave-inspired Batman Forever. I saw the Gotham City decals on the doors and had to snap some pics. My friend noticed the modern light bar on the roof and I just wrote it off as a one-off custom by a Batman fan. It turns out it was a real movie car. Who knew Batman Forever, the one that introduced Bat-Nipples into the modern lexicon, had even this offbeat sweet ride going for it?

For the gearheads, it is likely powered by a 246 cube L-6 that churns out around 100bhp with rear drive and a column shift stick. No one was around the car to ask questions, so I am just going by specs I found for the 1950 Starlight Coupe.

Also of note, Batman’s first Batmobiles were Studey based!