5 Highest-Priced Movie and TV Cars of All Time

BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- Holy Moly, Batman! The Batmobile isn't really the most expensive movie or TV car of all time!

Journalists got it only half right last month when they reported that a $4.6 million winning bid for the original Batmobile from 1960s TV show Batman set a record for vehicles made famous through television or film.
The Batmobile at auction last month.

A check with major auction houses and market tracker Historic Automobile Group International finds that the Batmobile did fetch the most ever for a TV car, but not for one that appeared in a television show or a movie.

That honor goes to 1965 Shelby Daytona Cobra featured in the 1965 film Redline 7000 -- and auctioned in 2009 for millions more than the Batmobile fetched.

Sam Murtaugh of Mecum Auctions, which sold the Daytona Cobra, isn't surprised the sale of Batman's car got more publicity.

"The '65 Shelby is an icon to auto-racing collectors, but the Batmobile is way more recognizable to the general public," he admits. "My 11-year-old sons recognize the Batmobile, but they wouldn't know what a Shelby is."

Still, Murtaugh and other experts say top movie and TV cars seldom garner big bucks solely because to their Hollywood connections.

Craig Jackson of Barrett-Jackson, which oversaw the Batmobile auction, estimates the car could have garnered up to $2.5 million just because famed custom-vehicle maker George Barris built it out of a one-of-a-kind 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car.

"It was a very wild concept car," Jackson says, although he adds that the vehicle's conversion into the Batmobile upped its value sharply. "The Batmobile is truly an iconic American brand," he says.

Experts say cars from James Bond movies or films starring late actor/racing enthusiast Steve McQueen also enjoy big boosts on the auction block.

"Steve McQueen is still seen as the King of Cool and an iconic figure in automotive history," says Ian Kelleher of Canadian-based RM Auctions. "Cars that you can prove he owned or drove tend to sell for way above their market value."

Here's a look at the five TV and movie cars that industry experts say have attracted the highest auction bids in history.

The list excludes vehicles sold in private sales, as pricing for such deals isn't typically made public. The rundown also omits an $11 million Ford GT40 that served as a camera car for McQueen's 1971 racing movie Le Mans but didn't actually appear in the film (although it did garner 2012's top auto-auction price).

Fifth-costliest: 1929 Duesenberg from the Elvis Presley film Spinout
Price: $1.2 million

The King of Rock 'n' Roll drove this posh convertible during the 1966 musical comedy Spinout, in which Presley played a combination musician/race-car driver. (His character raced sports cars, but used the Duesenberg for everyday transportation.)

One of just two 1929 Duesenberg Model J Phaetons ever produced with a dual cowl and a short wheelbase, the car sold at auction in 2011 for $1.2 million.

Duesenbergs were the Rolls-Royces of their day, starting at what would be the equivalent of around $270,000 today. The brand was so exclusive that some experts believe the expression "a real doozy" originally referred to Duesenbergs.

The Duesenberg used in Spinout features a 265-horsepower engine and an exterior custom built by one of the 1920s' best "coachwork" firms.

RM spent months before the auction restoring the vehicle -- a good move, since Presley apparently dented the car's underside during filming.

Actually, the musician is said to have apologized to the owner at the time, gotten the car fixed and offered to trade a new Cadillac and some cash for the Duesenberg.

Fourth-costliest: 1970 Porsche 911S from the Steve McQueen film Le Mans
Price: $1.4 million

RM's Kelleher says bids for this sports car shot way past expectations at auction primarily because of McQueen's association with the vehicle.

The actor not only drove the 200-horsepower car during Le Mans' opening scene, but owned it as part of his extensive auto collection.

Kelleher says the Porsche also has "all of the right elements in its history -- it's a very desirable collectible car for its period and it's in beautiful condition."

The seller also threw in all of the car's original paperwork, signed by McQueen himself before the actor's 1980 death.

Third-costliest: 1964 Aston Martin DB5 from James Bond films Goldfinger and Thunderball
Price: $4.6 million

How many car owners can say their ride has an ejector seat, a smoke-screen maker and a half-dozen other secret-agent features?

Probably just one -- the person who bought this 1964 Aston Martin DB5 at auction in 2010 for 2.9 million British pounds (a shade over $4.6 million at then-current exchange rates).

The car is the only surviving one of two DB5s to appear in James Bond movies Goldfinger (1964) and Thunderball (1965). It's so unusual that the vehicle went on display at the 1964 New York World's Fair, while British model-maker Corgi's version of the car is said to have been 1965's top-selling toy.

"The following for that car is just beyond anything I think we've ever seen," says RM's Kelleher, whose firm auctioned off the vehicle.

The expert estimates a standard 1964 DB5 would have only sold for around $300,000 to $500,000 at the time. "The overwhelming majority of the price achieved for that car was because of the James Bond franchise," he says.

Second-costliest: Batmobile from the TV show Batman
Price: $4.6 million

Some 12,000 people packed a 3-acre tent in Scottsdale, Ariz., last month to watch Barrett-Jackson auction off this car from iconic television show Batman.

Barrett-Jackson CEO Craig Jackson says the vehicle would have attracted an even higher price than the $4.6 million it sold for had the last two bidders not decided to flip a coin to decide who got the car.

"One of the men said he'd brought $10 million, but who knows at what point one of them would have said: 'This is crazy!'" Jackson says.

The auctioneer believes the vehicle attracted such a lofty price because the Batmobile "was one of the stars of the show. It did things -- it was an integral part of Batman and Robin catching criminals."

After all, the vehicle has all sorts of superhero gadgets, from a built-in "batphone" to two rear-mounted parachutes.

Costliest TV and movie car: 1965 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe from the movie Redline 7000
Price: $7.25 million

This car had a big year in 1965, first winning the FIA World Sportscar Championship and later appearing in cult-classic racing film Redline 7000.

"I don't think the car sold for what it did because of the movie, but I do think they picked it for the film because it was seen as rare and valuable even then," says Mecum's Murtaugh, whose company auctioned off the Cobra Daytona Coupe in 2009.

Legendary auto designer Carroll Shelby and his associates built just six of the cars in 1964-65, aiming to become the first American team to win a FIA crown.

The model that Mecum sold in 2009 is the car that actually crossed the finish line at Reims, France, to lock up the championship -- on July 4, 1965, of all dates.

The Cobra then appeared in Redline 7000, directed by Hollywood legend Howard Hawks and starring a very young James Caan. (The car is the blue vehicle in the ditch at the beginning of this clip.)

Murtaugh says the Cobra attracted such a high price because "it has the whole package -- it's a Shelby, it's a championship car and it's one of only six ever produced. The Redline 7000 appearance was just a bonus."

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