From Batman to Bond: The Annual Running Costs of Our Favourite TV and Movie Vehicles

A fascinating new study has revealed UK drivers’ top ten fantasy cars, along with their likely running costs. Unsurprisingly, the more fantastical the vehicle, the more expensive its upkeep, meaning anyone hoping to play Batman better boast Bruce Wayne’s bank balance…

A top ten list was compiled by Car Subscription service SIXT+ who were assisted in their research by Stuart Masson, founder and editor of The Car Expert.

The opinions of 1,000 motorists were canvassed courtesy of OnePoll and three in ten people confessed to daydreaming about owning their favourite on-screen vehicle.

In reality, that dream would quickly result in restless nights when faced with some pretty expensive admin. And according to this same study, 32% of road users struggle to keep on top of such commitments. Let’s take a closer look at some of the findings…

KTT (Knight Rider)

More than 40 years after it first roared onto screens, Knight Rider’s KITT remains one of the most sought-after cars among movie and TV fans. Dubbed a supercomputer on wheels, the Knight Rider Pontiac Trans Am (to give it it’s full name) came complete with artificial intelligence, allowing it to speak.

KITT’s tough armour protected it from explosions and bullets alike, while pyroclastic lamination prevented it from melting in high temperatures. It boasted an electronic jamming system, turbo boost and ejector seat, to name just a few mod cons.

As big a star as lead actor David Hasselhoff, it has gone down in folklore.

But anyone hoping to run KITT in 2024 would be looking at annual costs in excess of £605,000. That’s more nightmare than Knight Rider.

Insurance alone would hit £100,000 given the many scrapes incurred by previous owner Michael Knight. Maintenance would be in the region of half a million pounds while Masson and co. believe admin time would be extremely high, likely 60 days a year.

You’d be forgiven for thinking KITT has suddenly lost its shine…

The DeLorean (Back To The Future)

DeLorean - MAT Foundry

Hot on the heels of The Hoff is Doc Brown and his legendary DeLorean from Back To The Future. Part car, part time machine, it famously utilised a flux capacitor to propel itself and its passengers into different eras but only once speeds of 88mp were reached. 1.21 gigawatts of electricity were also required.

The much-loved Doc would have trouble financing this pet project in the modern day, with annual running costs over £5million. That’s unavoidable given separate policies would be required for every year you visit.

While he’d no doubt put in the man hours – roughly 45 days a year according to the experts -  that is surely too big an outlay for a scientist!

The Lotus Esprit (The Spy Who Loved Me)

From Brown to Bond, James Bond.

007 can lay claim to several of the world’s best loved cars but his Lotus Espirit from 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me takes some beating. Why? Because it drove underwater of course.

Used to escape henchmen acting on the orders of marine biologist turned madman Karl Stromberg – including the metal crunching Jaws – the car hurtles into the sea and duly converts into a submarine, complete with missiles.

In classic Roger Moore style, Bond emerges from the water and drops a fish out of his window, to the astonishment of onlookers.

The secret agent would however be reliant on the generosity of MI6 to keep this particular model running in the modern day. Insurance would be as high as £250,000 and maintenance would reach £100,000.

Miss Moneypenny would also be kept busy with admin aplenty – 30 days’ worth a year according to this study. In total, the Bond look would cost £360,000 per annum.

The Tumbler (The Dark Knight Trilogy)

Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy breathed new life into the Batman franchise, helped in no small part by his signature tumbler.

A prototype armoured tank-like vehicle, spray painted black – naturally - it was fitted with a host of arsenal and helped in the rescue of love interest Rachel Reevers from Arkham Asylum in Batman Begins.

This particular chase ended with Christian Bale’s caped crusader blasting a hole in a roof and leaping from it in the new and improved Batmobile, which would return for both the Dark Knight sequel and The Dark Knight Rises.

Descried by the production team as a cross between a Lamborghini and a tank, The Tumbler is capable of smashing through concrete and launching rockets from a rear nozzle. Such performance levels cost.

While an annual running cost of £200,000 would appear small change to billionaire Bruce Wayne, it’s a tad steep for us mere mortals. Even those who look good in a cowl.

General Lee (Dukes of Hazard)

General Lee - MAT Foundry

Dukes of Hazard ran between 1979 and 1985 and put a new spin on the classic Robin Hood tale. One of the undoubted stars of the show was General Lee, a 1969 Dodge Charger ridden by cousins Bo and Luke.

Its signature horn, which played the first 12 notes of deep south anthem Dixie, is the stuff of legend. So too are countless police chases and the sight of the confederate flag upon its roof.

General Lee’s doors were also famously welded, not shut.

A 6.3 litre V8 engine would guzzle premium unleaded petrol only, which doesn’t bode well for the looming electric switchover.

More positively, admin would surely be low as little attention would be afforded to compliance by those invested in an illegal moonshine operation!

This most famous of Dodge’s would likely cost around £160,000 a year to finance.

The Transformers Bumblebee, Dom’s Charger from Fast & Furious, Thunderbird’s FAB1, the Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters and Rain Man’s much loved 1949 Buick Roadster make up the rest of this fantastical top ten…

Bumblebee: Transformers (2008 Chevrolet Camaro/VW Beetle)

Running: £100,000

Insurance: £1m

Maintenance: £250,000

Admin Time: 45 Days

TOTAL: £1,350,000

 

Dom’s Charger: Fast & Furious (1970 Dodge Charger)

Running: £50,000

Insurance: £150,000

Maintenance: £100,000

Admin Time: 3 Days

TOTAL: £300,000

 

FAB1: Thunderbirds (Rolls-Royce)

Running: £100,000

Insurance: £50,000

Maintenance: £50,000

Admin: 30 Days

TOTAL: £200,000

 

Ecto-1: Ghostbusters (1959 Cadillac)

Running: £10,000

Insurance: £100,000

Maintenance: £5,000

Admin: 3 Days

TOTAL: £115,000

 

1949 Buick Roadster: Rain Man

Running: £2,000

Insurance: £1,000

Maintenance: £1,000

Admin: 5 Days

TOTAL: £4,000

 

A SIXT+ spokesman summarised their findings, stating “It may be fun to daydream about owning one of these amazing vehicles, but the real-world strain would probably see the novelty wear off quite quickly. Who’s got the time to hire nuclear scientists or MI6 mechanics to make sure you don’t blow up?”

The magic of the silver screen however is its invitation to suspend disbelief and escape reality. That includes financial commitments. Men leave the cinema wanting to be James Bond, not calculating his expenses. On the evidence of this research, that’s probably a good thing!

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