MacGuyver Batmobile Mk II Progressive Build (updated 1/28/2019)

About: I build things with kids ages 10~16 in an afterschool program. I hope that I can continue to create instructables to inspire others. I have been very reclusive lately. It is mainly due to being busy build...

Updated Sunday, March 3, 2019

Next Planned Update: Sunday, March 31, 2019


So I finally got caught up with everything and I decided to post this progressive instructable build. I am currently disassembling the original Kid Hero car to build a new one or make improvements upon the current design. I don't mind starting from scratch and have the budget to get it done. The completion time frame will be summer of 2019.

The reason for the rebuild is due to the previous vehicle starting to show some wear, and also to have something to drive to Elementary or Jr. High Schools to provide activities for after school programming. I will make updates to this instructable marking the date and "what's new" in this step.

What's new: March 3, 2019

Purchased some new odds and ends. After trying to heat the garage with the kerosene heater I had to fold. The constant 6 degree weather is unbearable. Waiting for spring to come. I can feel my fingers even when the garage is heated to about 20F. Will continue to focus on the design portion using google sketch up and pick up fabrication hopefully in about 2~3 weeks.

January 28, 2019

Added video to cutting donor car in half. Re-positioned everything in garage, getting ready to build the frame.

January 15, 2019

Got the new front end moved into the garage facing the correct direction. Will need to do some more cutting off of the original donor vehicle to get better access to the engine, and then I will be able to start building the new frame. I added a picture of what the garage looks like with everything in it. After doing some cutting I should be able to gain about 5 feet extra towards the back of the garage. Modifying frame dimensions to account for required dimensions using the Crown Vic front end. Six mounting points must be precise for the bolt-on sections of front sub-frame. Rear end has more leniency for customization.

January 10, 2019

Returned from vacation. Spent some time in Taipei, Japan, & Hawaii, now I just need to get used to the cold weather here again. :S I also need to rearrange everything in the garage in order to set up the frame for the build. Added picture of the proposed new garage set up. Bought a complete front end of a Crown Victoria for $300. Need to get this into the garage with the engine hoist tonight, but the hoist is currently buried. Once everything is in place, we can continue the build. Its also suppose to snow this weekend so I can do it today or do it when its snowing this weekend.

December 19th, 2018

Made a small update and corrected some things. Getting ready to go on Vacation. Will go to Taipei, Japan, and Hawaii. I will be gone for about 2.5 weeks. Will return roughly the 6th of January. Everyone have a save holiday and I will pick this up when I get back.

Friday, December 15, 2018

Made two basic frame designs for the top view and side view of the builds. Will continue to revise and improve them. Posted 1st picture of the top view to STEP 7: Digital Design of the Frame. Will post the side view of the 1st version of the frame design tomorrow.

Monday, December 10, 2018

The rear end that was cut off has been completely disassembled. I took it to the recycling center and was given $26 for the scrap. I salvaged the parked brake, rear wheels, and tires as planned. Added the $26 to the Step 4: Purchasing for reference to money spent. Currently working on the Frame design. I downloaded Google sketch up. Will start uploaded design pictures to Step 7: Digital Design of the Frame hopefully by the end of the week. There are several models I will end up making. Not sure of what I want the final size to be at the moment. Currently 5' feet 6" inches wide on the donor vehicle. Considering extending the rear end to 6' feet 5" inches wide to account for larger tires.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

The vehicle has been cut in half. Currently salvaging all the parts I want to keep and then recycle the rest. Took a picture of the car cut in half. Added the picture to Step 6: Donor Mod Part 2 Cut in Half. Started to add a Step 7: Digital Design of Frame. This step may take a little bit of time. I will be working in the garage salvaging parts and getting more measurements. Will update pictures of the frame design using google sketchup in Step 7.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Finished reinforcing the Strut Bar. Preparing to cut the vehicle in half. Renamed step 5 to Car mods part 1. Started to prepare for part 2 which is cutting the donor car in half. Debating between creating a bridge leg positioned beneath the driver seat going the width of the car and attaching caster wheels initially. This will allow me to move this around the garage, keep it off of the pavement when I need to access underneath, and prevent it from rolling forward or backward on the two remaining tires. See step 6 for details.

Thursday, December 6th, 2018
Reorganized Step 1: Most recent updates are shown towards the top of this step instead of the bottom to negate the need for scrolling. You will always see the date of the update so you won't have to click the step to know there was an update. It will make it much easier for the reader to track updates and me to post them as well.

Added Some Strut Bar pictures have been posted. Showing some examples of how I am reinforcing the front end before I go to hack away at the frame. Need to put in some cross supports to have a good slung mount with chain or tow cable using my engine hoist. After unneeded frame is removed it will give me more space in the garage and allow me to build the new frame. Front Suspension Modification updated with some examples. Trying to edit video footage to give a good explanation for this step. Added description of what I did. Finishing the design of modified frame and the front end. Need to verify mounting points are good on the engine before cutting vehicle in half to re-position engine in rear and then build a new frame.

Tuesday, November 27th, 2018
Built the strut bar. Need to get pictures off of my digital camera and put updates up on this instructable. The weather is very cold. Lately, it is about 11 degrees F. I bought plenty of kerosene for my heater. Updated Step 4 goals list. "Having realistic goals, is the first step towards not getting frustrated with a project." -Be_a_Kid_Hero I think having a initial budget for about $5,000 for the build will be good. Won't put pressure on my to do everything else I need to do. Allows me to be able to eventually buy some decent wheels and tires for the build and pay for everything else I will need to buy. Updated Goals step of things that will need to be done.

Tuesday, November 12, 2018
Reorganized some of the steps. Added some content to the material section, presenting some of the initial cost incurred by starting the build. If the materials aren't used, the cost will be removed from the total cost for accuracy Kid Hero Mk I has been completely dissembled. (RIP: 11/12/2018) -Moved some of the pictures from step two to step 3. I recycled a lot of unneeded material to make space in the garage. Purchased a lot of 2" x 2" x 8 foot 10 gauge steel off of Facebook marketplace. Got a really good deal. Regardless, of whether I use it for this project or not, it will be well worth the money. Assessed value of other current materials at my disposal. I made small purchases of other items of similar make and model of donor vehicle from junk yard that can be used. Created Step 4 a Goals List for the project. It will list overall project goals and sub-goals as they arise. Will help me keep on task, stay organized, and track what I am doing as I am doing it. Strut Bar fabrication is the first goal aside from upper budget limit for the project.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018
Updated step 2 with the primary files for determining scaling and where I found the pdf file for making the panels for the body. I've also identified two major challenges that I believe I will have with this build. Cleaned out the garage and have some space to work now. Added a Step 3 & 4, but nothing added to those yet. They are currently in progress. An update to Step 3 will be added next week.

Saturday, November 3, 2018
When I looked on instructables today I was surprised to see the obj./stl file I uploaded could be interacted in a 3D view on the actual page. I think that is awesome since it will allow people to interact and look at it without downloading it or having the necessary software. I am currently getting measurements and writing them down on paper for reference.

Monday, October 30, 2018
Uploaded major files. Created obj and stl file of model scanned for measurements and put in step 2. Feel free to use it for whatever. Attached some pictures of importance for reference material as well. Things to note are the differences in frame between the original for movie and one made in Ecuador. Also attached a video of a news coverage of the replica made in Ecuador. If you have a computer, you should be able to find various pictures fairly easy using google. Overall, things are looking good. Just need to get prepared before starting.

Saturday, October 27, 2018
So the vote ended. We are going to do the BvS Batmobile designed by Patrick Tatopoulos. So since we now know what the heck we're doing, it's time to move forward.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

I posted a vote poll on Twitter: whether to do another Tumbler or to do the Batman v Superman Batmobile. I opened the vote for 3 days. If your interested, you should vote!

Step 1: Make Goals & Sub-goals for Project (updated 12/11/18)

Currently In-progress (Last updated 12/6/18)

"A Goal without a plan is just a wish."


1) The original build was about $3200 total. I think that isn't a bad goal. I think maybe $5,000 would be better. I will end up spending about $1500 to $2K for good wheels and tires unless I really shop around or get lucky. Will try to do some more looking, at least I have something to plan for. -Updated 11/27/18 Initial budget around $5K

2) Create a reference library for the build. Collect as many pictures as possible. Go see the actual if possible.

-complete 11/1/18

3) First thing I need to build is a Strut Bar(Strut tower brace): a piece of metal that connects at the top of the strut tower within the engine bay to provide rigidity. Typically used for racing or high speed drifting. In my case, I want to use it to keep the frame and body square before cutting into it. The actual cost to build one of these should definitely be less than $50. I have flat stock in the garage, plenty of welding wire, cardboard, and tubular or square metal. While it would be nice to have something beautiful, this really just needs to do what its meant to do. Will most likely make it beefier than needed to be used when cutting away the body.

-Strut Bar primary support built (12/6/2018); Need to further reinforce and upload more pictures. (Complete)

4) Prior to actually making modifications (hacking the front end apart), I will need to determine the limit as far as: "how much can be cut away, how much it can be lowered, and how much can be tapered."

5) Cut vehicle in half behind the steering wheel. Recycle unneeded metal parts.

-Vehicle cut in half 12/8/18; remaining scrap taken to recycling. (complete)

-will cut last part of old donor car off by the end of this coming weekend.

6) Design new frame of the car using Google Sketchup. (in progress)

-currently pending; next update 12/14/18

7) Convert vehicle from front wheel drive to rear wheel drive.

8) Build new frame.

9) Build new front end of car (complete. donor front end from Crown Vic purchased 1/10/19)

10) Finish Steering geometry and system

11) Install Gas pedal and transmission linkage.

12) Install foot brake and brake system.

13) Consider new wheels and tires

14) Build exterior skeleton. (consider seating before starting exterior paneling framework)

15) Build exterior body panels

15) Build interior, seats, and reupholster.

Step 2: Build Up the Reference Library

Need to locate lots of reference material. The more pictures I have the better idea of what it will look like. I have access to a 3D scanner which will be useful. Its not the greatest one, but it will work. If you want to try using one, try looking to your local library if they have a 3D printer, school, or even maker space. They are becoming more common.

The first picture in this section is from a model rendered from the hot wheels toy. Since the toy can rendering was kind myeh however it can be cleaned up a bit using photoshop. I attached the stl and obj files. They are free to use for whatever. After having someone clean them up a bit I ended up with the picture you see. Overall much happier, however the obj and stl file are better than nothing.

A huge part of this step is more picture collecting and taking measurements off of the digital files.

While I will put critical pictures used in this section, I will be careful not to put too many pictures that I am uncertain are free use pictures. My best recommendation is to use google and search Batman V Superman Batmobile.

There are two pictures I wanted to point out. The first is the original BvS batmobile you can find this picture or video on google or youtube or in the DVD extras if you bought the movie. It is how they went about building the original one. Notice how the front control arms are mounted on a center point off of the front of the frame. Could do it this way but it would be expensive. The second is a replica built by a company in Ecuador called Adapta. They did an awesome job using a toyota pickup and a power plant from a ford bronco. The frame was modified to that of a sand-rail. The front end has a downward slope in the front end using extended A-arms. So it is possible. Will need to make some modifications with my current set up so it will look proportional and be street legal. If I can't drive it to the schools, then it wont suit my purposes.

I have to say, after uploading the obj/stl file to the Instructables, I didn't expect to be able to interact with it on the website itself. I think that is a really awesome feature instructables. Thank you.

Step 3: Define Your Model With Measurements

So I spent last week obtaining reference material, taking measurements off of the model, and taking anything that was in the way in the garage to the recycling center.

So I gathered about 90 different pictures and sorted them into folders separating them from where they came from, if they were original pictures, Ecuador replica, paper-craft, Lego, toys, etc. You can never have too much reference material. It will give me an idea of the scale dimensions for making it proportional, and see where I can cheat detail and what exactly is necessary for the look. While it would be great to be 100% accurate, sometimes certain details are not possible due to cost, availability, etc. Make realistic goals for your project.

The first two pictures are the measurements I took off of a model I found on the internet. I used a micrometer to get an idea of how this could be scaled up or scaled down and still keep proportions. After reviewing several of the legit plans the actual length should be 6734mm (22.09) feet long with the spoilers and 3663mm (12 feet) wide which is not passing the vehicle inspection with a restriction of 8' 6" . So we are definitely scaling down. We are going to shoot for about 119.6mm (about 10 feet) for the wheel base. Overall, minus the spoilers 153 inches long which is a little over 12 feet.

I put my own measurements on the first two pictures, showing how I plan to scale this up. The measurements will vary compared to what others have. I measured in mm on the paper so I could take more refined measurements.

The third picture is the last picture I took of the original Kid Hero going on that long drive.

The fourth picture is of the potential donor vehicle.

The fifth picture is the measurements used for the Ecuador batmobile.

The sixth picture is of the "Dave Winfield batmobile." It's a simple pdf file of the papercraft model which can be found on google. This is what I will be using to make the majority of body panels for the car.

The major challenges for this build will be: (1) making sure that the car is scaled proportionately, and (2) making sure the front end suspension is corrected on the donor so it looks correct. If the later is not fixed, I will need to either modify the vehicle or find a new donor vehicle.

Step 4: Purchasing (updated 1/10/2019)

Updated: 2/10/2019

Money Spent: $662.82; I've made $124 from recycling old metal parts as of 12/10/18. Total Expense: $538.82

Purchases & Salvage:

1) I bought 25x - 2" inch x 2" inch x 8 foot, 10 gauge steel bars. This should be able to take care of any frame work needed on the build. (spent $160) I don't regret this purchase because of the good price. Event if I don't use it now, it will be used in the future. Would like to get round dom tubing if possible.

2) I have extra lower control arms, cv joints, and spindles purchased from the junk yard to do modifications to. Its good to have extras. If I have any catastrophic mistakes, I will still have usable parts to reinstall. (spent $100)

3) digital micrometer to take precise measurements ($7) on vehicle parts and on drawings.

4) I made space by removing all unusable scrap and then took it to recycling center. (Made about $98)

5) Salvaged all reusable grade 8 hardware. I have an assorted amount. Will need to document what I have to prevent purchasing more of what i don't need. 8" x 8" tub of bolts and nuts.

6) I bought a faceshield for $13.97, 4x grinder metal cutoff blades $11.88, a cordless lightbar $19.97. updated (12/8/2018)

7) Recycled parts from rear end of donor vehicle. Made $26. (12/9/18)

8) Bought a complete front end of a newer crown vic for $350.00 includes: wheels, tires, suspension arms, brakes, steering, and hardware. (1/10/18

Step 5: Strut Bar (complete 12/7/18)

Subjects Covered in this Step:

Strut Bar fabrication

Last updated 12/7/2018 - Strut Bar pictures added.

Added pictures of stage one & stage two strut bar. Pictures show a rising incline in the steel of the body centered on the strut tower mount, this may vary from your vehicle. This shape and height is typically different from vehicle to vehicle.

The strut bar is complete. I will start modifying the the front end and frame.

Tools needed for fabricating a Strut Bar:

cardboard scrap

flat stock steel, tubular steel, & possibly hardware


measuring tape


drill press

angle grinder with cut off wheel


Guidelines and suggestions:

1) Take note of any wires, fuse boxes, or anything in the engine bay that may cause clearance issues with creating your strut bar, installing it, or during the fabrication process. Uninstall everything possible that is questionable in order to prevent damage.

2) Take a piece of cardboard and trace the mounting holes off of your front strut on the driver and passenger side. Press down on the cardboard in order to get bolt indentation, mark, and drill hole out.

3) Use the cardboard to make a template out of flat stock steel which you will cut with your grinder.

4) make sure your template and mount will lay flat on the body. On the donor vehicle I used, there was an incline bump (a section of raised steel) centered on the mount so I needed to cut a space on my mount so it would lay flat. (see picture for reference).

5) You can either use several pieces of flat stock or use one large one and cut a hole using a hole saw. I didn't have a hole saw big enough to cut the hole that I needed so I made it out of three pieces of flat stock. Weld both sides of the steel plate.

6) After both the driver and passenger side mounts are made, cut your tubular steel to size. It needs to be long enough to have connect to both sides and thick enough for strength. Additional supports will need to be added from the plate mount to the tubes to provide additional strength to not break under torsion stress. In my case, the strut mount will be used to keep the body and frame square when I cut the vehicle in half. Its not pretty, but it will work.

7) Its suggested that you add an additional cross bar from mount to mount on the firewall side to provide more rigidity and strength to the brace. The pictures that I posted are examples of strut bars with a single bar. Dual bars provide more strength, however take up more space in your engine bay. Since I am going to sling the car on a engine hoist via the engine mounts and strut bar, I will inspect to see if an additional cross brace or a mounting point will need to be added.

8) After welding the mounts to the cross bar. I welding additional triangular metal tabs on each end to provide additional strength. I added two pictures that are identical except for the yellow lines of the lap weld attaching the vertical supports.

Pending update hopefully 12/10/2018: Set vehicle up as a mobile tripod to re-position in garage prior to final cut.

Step 6: Cut Donor in Half (Complete: 12/10/2018)

Last Updated: 1/30/18

Added Video of cutting and salvaging.

Cutting the Donor Car in Half:

Tools Needed:


-bimetal blades for sawzall

-extension cord

Salvage Plan

1) Salvage the parking brake, fuel lines, brake lines, and electrical wiring if in reasonable condition, and secondary fuel filter prior to the cut. Get them out of the way prior to the cut to prevent damage.

2) One thing I would like to note and provide a Warning regarding, some vehicles are front heavy. Such as the vehicle shown in the picture that i cut. Before cutting, I discussed the project with my boss. He warned me about this, which made me rethink what I was doing. I cut the vehicle well behind the driver/passenger seat, and as you can see it's still front heavy. It's currently sitting on the casters of my engine hoist so it is balanced off of the ground. I can lightly push back on the remaining floor; due to leverage and push it to the ground. Be very carefulif you do this, so it doesn't roll forward onto something or fall backward on you.

3) Plug in your extension cord. Make sure the cord will not be pinched by any parts you plan to cut off. Do not get it tangled on your feet. Be sure not to cut through your cord. Mark the area you plan to cut with a marker. Give yourself a guideline to follow.

3) After cutting the donor vehicle, cut up unusable parts into smaller sections for easy recycling.

4) Salvage the remaining: wheels, brake lines, suspension parts, and parking brake cable.The remaining body needs to be bagged.

5) Took to the recycling center. Made $26 off of unneeded scrap metal. (12/10/18)

Major stripping complete. Will continue removing unneeded sheet metal from front half of donor vehicle this weekend.

Step 7: New Frame Design & Garage Prep: Updated 1/15/2019

Design Frame from Reference Material:

Updated: 1/15/19

Frame Design Plan

Will use Google sketch up for designing the new frame prior to building it. I am familiar with google sketchup and adobe inventor, but do not have access to inventor at the moment. This part may be a little more time consuming, however I will post pictures of the design as I make progress.

I will heavily reference the pictures I found. While the actual movie car's round tubular frame would be ideal, a more realistic approach should be considered to stay on budget and consider the time constraint. Will heavily take inspiration from the Ecuador car for the design. It's much more simplified, parts are readily available, and will reduce cost and fabrication time.

I may end up doing two designs. One using the donor vehicle's dimensional width and one slightly extended. In order to keep it roadworthy, I am making a scaled down version. I am currently considering about 6'5" wide by about 13 feet long. Will update this as I progress.

Update 1/10/2019

Purchased new from end from donor car Crown Vic. Have complete front end (tires, brakes, suspension, subframe, control arms, and hardware. Purchased all for $350. I also rearranged my garage to get ready for building the new frame for the vehicle. Will continue stripping the original donor car of sheet metal that is in the way and then begin frame fabrication.

Update 12/13/2018

Made the first frame design sketch from the top down version. Will work on this tonight and hopefully get started with the side view frame sketch.

Update 12/14/18
I updated the first design. Ran into some issues with lines being off 1/16" inch on google sketchup and had to go back and manually fix them. Started on the side view frame design. Had some minor issues drawing the dome for the cockpit and getting a potential roll bar lined up that wouldn't affect visibility through the windshield. Will go back through and make some more modifications.

Update 12/15/18

Did some refinement to the top down sketch version shown in this STEP. The side version I made some more progress on. I will post it in the next update. Debating on doing a standard frame versus a Z-frame for lowering the frame itself. The frame will be divided between a main and a subframe.

Step 8: Frame Fabrication (in Progress)



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