Superhero enthusiast builds his own Batmobile
AFTER a life-long love of Batman, 29-year-old Sydney man Zac Mihajlovic spent two years building a Batmobile in his backyard.
The superhero enthusiast made a 6.2 metre Batmobile modelled in accurate detail on the one used by Batman in the 1989 movie - the only one in the world with full street registration.
With a passion for the winged comic character, in 2009 Mr Mihajlovic bought a few spare parts from the actual Batmobile used in the movie and put them away.
'I'm a car and bike guy so I love all that sort of stuff,' he said. 'It doesn't get much better, if you can build anything what would you build? For me it was a Batmobile,' he told MailOnline.
Mr Mihajlovic let the parts sit around while he built a Batbike and it was not until 2010 that he got in touch Warner Brothers Australia to see if there were any licensing issues for building a Batmobile.
Getting the all clear, Mr Mihajlovic started working on the Batmobile with his grandfather John Greene, a retired mechanical engineer and Scott Cox.
'I could see at that point why nobody else had done it before,' he said.
Mr Mihajlovic, who lives with his grandparents and has no formal mechanical training built the Batmobile at home and at Mr Cox's workshop.
'About 30 per cent is made from the parts used in the film and the rest was moulded and made,' he said.
'It started with my grandfather who said "any fantasy can become a reality", so we took that to the next level.'
The vehicle was finished at the end of 2011 and sat in Mr Mihajlovic's garage for one-year until he decided what he wanted to do with at the end of 2012.
At this point Mr Mihajlovic wanted to get Batmobile registered, but with movie cars not designed for safety, he said it took about a full year to get it passed as roadworthy.
The Batmobile was finally registered in December 2013 and Mr Mihajlovic said it was a moment of validation. 'Before it had plates people thought it was just a plastic prop,' he said.
The car does not feature machine guns, grappling hooks, or oil slick dispensers like Batman's, but it does have a working front turbine and afterburner.
'I've always been a movie fan. Batman has the coolest vehicle and he's the only one without super powers,' he said.
Mr Mihajlovic lives in Cobbitty in south west Sydney and has seen his life change since finishing and getting the vehicle registered in December last year.
'There are between 10 and 12 in the world and this is the only one in Australia, besides a prop at Movie World,' he said.
'As far as I know, it's the only one in the world with full street registration,' he said. 'Some have conditions to parades and that sort of thing.
'When the Roads and Traffic Authority came to the house to inspect it and they were impressed with the quality.'
'They were a bit concerned at first but then they were happy when they realised it was all legitimate,' he said.
But because of the crowds the car attracts, Mr Mihajlovic can't use it for personal use. 'I've taken it to do the groceries one or two times - the reaction was crazy,' he said.
'I have to go get fuel separately otherwise it gets mad with people looking at it and takes me three hours to fill it up.'
On a recent trip to The Rocks in Sydney's CBD, Mr Mihajlovic said he required a police escort. 'I couldn't get out of there it was that crazy,' he said.
Mr Mihajlovic said the vehicle's high value presented some unique obstacles. 'It's so high-risk and the insurance is high', he said. 'It's too risky to drive around on the roads in case it gets hit,' he said.
But he added the vehicle had also attracted some unexpected propositions. 'I've been offered close to a million dollars for it from a few people, a businessman in Sydney made and offer and someone on behalf of a sheik in Dubai made an offer as soon as it was registered.'
'I would say that they were fair offers but I had had zero enjoyment with it at that time so I was not considering selling it and it now provides me an income.
'An offer in the high hundreds of thousands is what I would say that it is worth with street registration on it.'
But in the six months since the vehicle has been registered, the Batman enthusiast has been busy using the car professionally and for charity work, which he now considers his full time work.
'I do a lot of charity work - I've done more than 40 Make-A-Wish wishes, I've also dropped men off at their weddings and sometimes partners organise surprise rides,' he said.
'It's the opportunity to be involved with charities like Make-A-Wish, that's the best thing, 100 per cent.
'Some of the younger kids don't quite get what it is, but kids above 10 get really into it, especially all the superhero stuff, they love.'
Completing the Batman theme, Mr Mihajlovic wears a specially designed Batsuit, designed by David Pea of Universal Designs and based in Canada.
But his love of all things Batman is so strong, Mr Mihajlovic has also built a Batbike from scratch. 'Everything apart from the gearbox and motor is handmade from aluminium,' he said.
Despite the popularity of the Batmobile, Mr Mihajlovic plans to permanently garage it in the future. 'I just did not expect how crazy the response would be - I'm putting it away in a year or two,' he said.
'I was heading to a Make-A-Wish Foundation event and was on the freeway from Brisbane to the Gold Coast and I heard a buzzing noise - it was a news helicopter.'
Mr Mihajlovic is planning on building and selling Formula 1 cars.
'I'm a decent way along in the designing. I'm going to start in a few weeks hand building F1-style cars people can register and drive,' he said.
Like-minded Batman enthusiasts can join Mr Mihajlovic for joyrides through a Groupon deal to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the 1989 Tim Burton Batman film.