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July 15, 2013

Ga. man builds Batmobile, other custom cars

NEWNAN — It’s not every day you see the Mystery Machine from “Scooby-Doo” driving down the road. But it’s a scene Jerry Patrick’s neighbors in Newnan have gotten used to. In fact, some of the time, the Batmobile behind it in hot pursuit.

“We’ve been doing cars off and on for the last 25-30 years and it came a time that we had seen enough Camaros and Mustangs at car shows and it was time to bring out some iconic stuff that people could actually touch and feel,” Patrick said.

And if you’re talking iconic cars, the Batmobile tops the list. Patrick’s version took three years to build. Everything on it is custom-made and you can drive it, though it’s not easy. If you think a Ferrari or Lamborghini is a head-turner on the street, imagine driving the Batmobile.

“That Batmobile is a little bit harder to get out on the street for the simple reason there are so many people just taking videos and pictures and it’s hard to change lanes, it’s hard to speed up or slow down,” Patrick said. “We normally have to have a chase vehicle (in) front, back and sides of it just to keep everything safe. Of course if we drive it, we try and keep the machine guns down inside the car.”

There are machine guns on the Batmobile that do fire, though they don’t fire real bullets. The Batmobile pumps fire and smoke out the back, too.

Patrick”s collection doesn’t end there. He has built replicas of Eleanor from “Gone in 60 Seconds,” Herbie the Love Bug and KITT from “Knight Rider.”

While Patrick builds the replicas mostly for fun, people can catch some of his creations at community events. The Delta retiree does custom work for clients to help pay the bills, too.

Patrick finds the cars on Craigslist, eBay and by word of mouth. Typically, he has 25-30 cars on hand as some of his creations require two or three vehicles to create the finished product.

His upcoming projects include Mater from the movie “Cars,” an A-Team van, Bumblebee from “Transformers” and a 1969 Charger that fans of his AKA Junk Facebook page are voting on its future.

The vehicles are a labor of love for Patrick. He loves the reaction from kids and kids-at-heart when they see or even climb inside one of his creations, but it’s a labor, too.

“It’s hard to go to Walmart and buy parts for the Batmobile,” Patrick said. “So you end up making everything for it.”

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