Among the more than 500 vehicles on display at Sacramento's Autorama is, what some call, the "Original Batmobile."
The novelty car – originally built by a young man in New Hampshire - toured New England in the early 1960s to promote Batman-branded dairy products.
Later, it fell into obscurity and disrepair. Then, one year ago in Florida, the car showed up on eBay.
"It was the biggest challenge of my life and I think the most rewarding," Mario Borbon said.
Borbon, a Sacramento auto fabricator, and a New York investment partner paid nearly $19,000 for the car. When it arrived in Sacramento, it looked just as bad as the eBay pictures suggested it would.
"It had been neglected, it had been sitting for a long time," Borbon said. "But you could still see the potential of that car and what it could be."
Borbon poured a year of his life into the restoration. While rebuilding the fiberglass body, Borbon stayed true to the original 1956 Olsmobile 88 chassis; he insisted on keeping the 324 Olds Rocket engine that had seized up years ago.
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"I think it's pretty important, you know," Borbon said. "For the money we paid to have this rebuilt, we could have had an awesome crate motor or a custom-made motor built."
The car was ready to roll 1,500 hours later. Earlier this week, Borbon drove it for the very first time.
"It feels good," Borbon explained. "It feels good. It glides."
The car is not for sale, yet. Borbon wants to travel the car show circuit, beginning with Cal Expo's Autorama. He wants to show a new generation the exotic car that 50 years ago was, to New Englanders, the "Original Batmobile."
"So the West Coast is going to find out what this car is," Borbon said. "That'll be pretty cool."
The 64th annual Autorama runs through Sunday at CalExpo. It one of the longest-running car shows in the world.
John Buck showed off the Batmobile and Spiderman bike. (Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014) News10