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Building the ride of his dreams

Newhall mechanic putting together Batmobile replica

Posted: June 19, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: June 19, 2014 2:00 a.m.

Car restorer Ernie Lepore sands the fiberglass fender as he works on his batmobile replica at German Autohaus auto repair in Newhall on Wednesday. Signal photo by Dan Watson.

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From the time he held a 3-inch toy version of the Batmobile in his tiny hands as a kid, Ernie Lepore knew he had to own and drive a Batmobile replica.

On Sunday, his wish comes true when Lepore rolls up at the fifth annual Old Town Newhall Classic Car Show in a Batmobile replica he built in Newhall.

“I always loved the car, always been a big Batmobile fan,” Lepore told The Signal Wednesday inside the German Autohaus body shop garage on Ninth Street, just around the corner from Main Street where the car show takes place every summer.

“The ‘66 Batman series was on TV. I remember being a little kid, just old enough to walk around town, and I went into a toy store and I saw that sitting there,” he said, referring to the Corgi car model of the Batmobile.

“It cost four dollars and 95 cents and I wanted it,” he said. “I ended up with it, but I don’t know what happened to it.”

Jump to Ernie Lepore as a grown man and an accomplished mechanic who, four months ago, cut a check for $13,000 and mailed it away for “a Batmobile kit.”

The car’s fiberglass shell arrived “upside down on a FedEx truck” and Lepore proceeded to fit the shell onto a vehicle he says he found sitting in his landlord’s yard — a 1975 Lincoln Mark series car with a big-block 460 engine.

“The original Batmobile was a Lincoln,” Lepore said smiling, referring to the car into which Batman actor Adam West hopped at least once during every TV episode.

When Lepore shows up at the Newhall car show Sunday, he won’t be wearing a cowl and cape — but his ride will be unmistakable.

The Batmobile replica is expected to arrive painted with dull black primer, still a work in progress. Right now, the Batmobile replica is 70 percent complete.

“There’s a paint code but I want to use the original red,” he said, referring to the original 1966 long, sleek, big-finned shiny black car with red stripes.

“I want to get it as close to the original as possible,” Lepore said.

“My favorite part of the whole thing is the looks it gets from kids,” he said, “when I pull up to the lights and kids are all into it.”

The fifth annual Old Town Newhall Association car show runs 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday on Main Street.
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