“Lights”… Camera… Action!

From looking at the above three cars you’re probably wondering what they all have in common and what they have to do with the BatBerry.  The answer is simple; they all provide lighting for the BatBerry!

With lots of help from the guys on CLTC, I have been able to track down some good deals on ebay for the Batmobile’s tail lights and headlights.

Tail Lights
The Batmobile’s tail lights come from a combination of two different cars.  The top set of lights are from a Ferrari 308.  The bottom set are from a Ferrari Dino 365.  Tracking down some decent deals on these lights was a challenge, but I was able to strike a deal with a couple of vendors on ebay will bring these lights to my door step at a fraction of their typical cost.

Continue reading “Lights”… Camera… Action!

Gearing Up For Fabrication

My wife will be the first to tell you that I have more than enough tools for any job that I may ever want to tackle.  However, I don’t have any tools for metal working 😦

So far my tools will cover pretty much anything from home construction, to car mechanics, to woodworking, to automotive body work and as well fiberglass fabrication.  But any time I need to cut and forge metal I run short.

I was lucky enough that my lovely wife hooked me up with some Christmas presents that will help in this department.  As an example of her understanding of my Batmobile excitement, I mentioned that there was a welder that went on sale and she visited 5 different stores across the city to try and locate one for me, but alas they were all sold out.  She also set me up with a nice metal cut-off saw, a new grinder (my old one bit the dust), and some welding gloves.  Thanks a million 🙂

But have no fear, Boxing Day sales are here!!!

Princess Auto had some great deals on welders so I managed to pick up a 120volt Mig/Flux welder, welding helmet, pick hammer, white paint pens and some more wire brushes.

Now I’ll have to start practicing my welding!!

Donor Car Found!


Well it looks like I may have found my donor car for the BatBerry.  Over the holidays I was able to check out a 1991 Chevrolet Caprice Classic up in my home town while visiting my parents.

The car has been in storage in a driving shed for the last 3 years and hasn’t been moved since.  The storage conditions haven’t been the best considering it’s a dirt floor shed instead of sitting on concrete.  So the tires are out of air, it’s covered in 3 years worth of dust, and she needs some TLC.  I did a thorough check of the underside and frame of the car, and while there’s rust everywhere as would be expected, there doesn’t seem to be soft spots or rot.  The car had been rust treated earlier in its life and it looked like the rust treatment was flaking off.  Nothing a good sand blasting can’t cure 🙂

The car has 135,000 km (84,000 miles) on it which isn’t bad considering it’s a 91.  The tricky part is that we didn’t have a way to get it started (although we did try).  It was sitting in a shed about 300 feet from the road with no electricity and the sliding driving bay door was frozen shut from the ice and snow.  We tried to bring in a spare battery but we think it had some dead cells in it.

When we hooked up the battery the windshield wipers would barely make it across the windshield and there was no hope of even spinning the starter.  Either way, the engine looked like it was in pretty good condition and it ran fine before it was put in storage. You can’t beat the asking price either.  I’m sure we could get her fired up once we brought it to a place where our fingers wouldn’t fall off from the cold!

Now I need to find a warm place to tear it down to the frame so that I can get it over to the sand blasters to do their work.  I want to keep all the necessary parts from the donor such as wiring, brake booster, pedal assemblies, fuel filler neck, latches, switches, HVAC, radiator, engine etc..  I just need someplace to do the work and have the shell taken away.  As soon as I can find a spot, I’ll haul it down from my hometown and get to work.

The hunt for warm garage space begins 🙂

The Flip-Flop Hood

One of the big challenges for the BatBerry is trying to get it to fit in my garage!  The car measures about 21 feet from tip of the rear wing to the tip of the nose.  The problem is that the standard house garage measures on average 20 feet long.  See the problem 🙂

So when I was down to visit Doug Hines at Gotham Cruisers, I wanted to make sure that I took some accurate measurements to see if I could make the car fit in my house garage in any shape or form.  After all, what good is a Batmobile if you can’t drive it to pick up some groceries or drop your kids off at school.

The measurements that I took while I was at Doug’s shop were 18′ 3″ from the tip of the rear wings to the front of the Caprice frame that the car was built on.  Which is luckily the same frame that I will be using for my BatBerry.  The good news is that it will clear a standard garage length by almost two feet.  The challenge is, how to park it in the garage when it’s finished without having to remove the entire front section of the car?

Continue reading The Flip-Flop Hood

Constructing the Cage

After I get the donor car stripped down and ready to receive the BatBerry body, I will need to create a structural cage.  This cage will serve a couple of purposes:

  1. Structural support for mounting the body
  2. Chassis stiffness for any future power modifications I may want to make (Dreaming of an LS engine 🙂 )
  3. Safety purposes for the occupants of the car

I’ve been looking around the web and also been doing some drawings on what I am trying to accomplish.  The cage will be constructed out of steel box tubing and look much like the frame shown at the top of this post

The pictures shown in this post are courtesy of Factory Five Racing and their 33 Hot Rod.

Looking at Factory Five’s construction I can see lots of similarities of the type of cage I will need.  One solid hoop to help with any kind of roll over scenario.  Plus lots of side caging and tying that cage into the front mounts of the car.

Here’s another angle of what the cage will likely come to look like:

Center Line Wheels Sponsor the BatBerry Project

Today I received some great news from Luis Sanchez at Center Line Wheels!  Center Line is the first sponsor to come on-board to help make the BatBerry a reality.  I’m very lucky to have such a generous sponsor participate in the project which will definitely allow me to accelerate the progress on the car.

The Center Line Auto Drag wheels are the perfect match for the BatBerry.  They are very screen accurate and will find a great home on the BatBerry.

Wheel Details:
Center Line Auto Drag
Finish: Satin
Bolt Pattern: 5 on 5
Rear Rims: 15 x 14w  (3″ 5/16 backspacing)
Front Rims: 15 x 10w (3″ 5/16 backspacing)

And yes, I will have the wheel cones and bats on my wheels as well.  They all come with the Gotham Cruiser kit 🙂

When the wheels arrive I will definitely have some un-boxing photos!!

Registering a Kit Car in Ontario

As I have been researching over the past few years I have come across some great information from the Canadian Rodder website.

Check out their site for full details, but below you can find some of the main details for registering a kit car on the roads in Ontario.

Kit Cars
Definition: a complete body of a motor vehicle, not including an engine, chassis or drive train. Kit body is a replica of an existing or vintage motor vehicle.

Kit cars are registered in Ontario as:
V.I.N.: Assigned as “ASD” if no 17 -digit V.I.N. on dashboard of kit body
Make: Manufacturer of kit
Model: KIT
Model Year: Year that the kit car was completed and registered with the ministry.

If there is not an existing 17-digit V.I.N. on the dashboard, you may request the licence office to provide you with a ministry assigned V.I.N., which you should affix to the dashboard. A V.I.N. is needed before you can obtain a Safety Standards Certificate.

Continue reading Registering a Kit Car in Ontario

Automating the BatBerry

As I had mentioned in a previous post and in the About section, I’m going to be creating software built with BlackBerry WebWorks that I will be loading on my smartphone and my BlackBerry PlayBook.

The goal will be to power some of the systems via Bluetooth commands from my application.  The systems that I’m hoping to power are:

  • Open/Close canopy
  • Open/Close gun doors
  • Engine Start
  • Pop Trunk
  • Arm/Disarm Alarm
  • Hide/Show Licence Plates
  • Up/Down Air suspension

I’ll also have the devices Bluetooth pair with the stereo system for audio playback and use them for my GPS navigation.

All the software for the integration will be written in web technologies such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript.  I’ll also be leveraging technologies such as SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) so that my images and user interface will scale nicely between a larger tablet display and a smaller smartphone display.

So far the SVG preview above (built in Composer from BlackBerry Theme Studio) is all I have completed.  Now I need to plumb it into some HTML and JavaScript with some touch events to make it pop 🙂

Switches and Dials and Lights.. oh my!

After a couple purchases on ebay and a couple trips to the local electric parts store I have a good start on all the LEDs, switches and dials to try and make the cockpit of the car as screen accurate as possible.

Of course my TV screen will be an embedded BlackBerry PlayBook instead of an old fashioned black and white screen.

For reference, here is one of many pictures found on http://www.chickslovethecar.com of the dash from the actual Batmobile:

Fuel Caps and Switches

I managed to pick up some nice Shelby Cobra LeMans style fuel caps on ebay.  The original Batmobile actually had fuel caps from a bus in London England, but Cobra caps will have to do for my build 🙂

I also picked up some nice switches that look like the ones that are near the steering wheel in the car’s interior.