THE DARK KNIGHT RISES

KIWI PAUL GIBSON HAS FOLLOWED UP HIS AMAZING 20B-POWERED ‘JOKER’ FORD COURIER WITH SOME REAL BAT-ITUDE

STORY DAVE CAREY PHOTOS LEEF PHOTOGRAPHY

Paul’s husband Mark Lash handled Batmanning duties during the reveal, wearing a USA-made costume based on Michael Keaton’s outfit from the 1989 Tim Burton classic. “Mark wanted no airbrushing on it,” admits Paul, but what’s the Joker without Batman? “The compromise was to go for a more cartoon-look design just on the bonnet.” Jonathan Vinsen handled the gun, adding the graphics on the side and the popriveted panel motif on the front quarters

PAUL Gibson is no stranger to New Zealand’s custom car scene. His rotary-powered, Joker-themed Ford Courier was so popular, VIP Pet Foods and known car guy Tony Quinn bought it for his Queenstown museum, display and all.

Seven years in the build, Paul’s latest creation, a 105E Ford Anglia dubbed Bat-itude, copped a reveal worthy of the Detroit Autorama at NZ’s 2019 Four & Rotary North Island Jamboree. Smoke machines pumped thick, Gotham Cityspec smog around the car as Batman himself appeared, grim-faced and strong-jawed, to glare at wrongdoers.

When the black cover was pulled off, the crowd was floored; the Anglia was barely recognisable, with a severe roof chop, extended arches, huge Rota RB rims and large, Batmobile-like fins featuring Cadillac bullet lenses. The more you look, the more there is; not only is the Anglia running a built Barra with a massive BorgWarner S400, but the whole body has been sectioned and widened 75mm each side to fit it.

“I thought I’d put a rotor in it like last time,” Paul says. “But my boss said: ‘Like hell you will!’ and we went with the Barra.” Although the considerable drive bangs through a HiLux diff and axles, the majority of the undercarriage remains Ford, with a drag-spec C4 trans sitting behind a crossmember, struts and hubs all sourced from a V6 Capri.

Steering is via a Mondeo column and wheel, while BF Falcon instruments reside in a fully custom steel dash. “Rockford Fosgate came on board and supplied all the car audio,” Paul explains. “Two amps, two subs, eight speakers, six tweeters and a DVD system with reversing camera; they’re one of the biggest sponsors I’ve had.”

Show duties are now a priority, but Paul has plans to hang a plate on it: “It’s three-quarters of the way through the certification. Once it has a Warrant of Fitness, it will be road-legal.”

We look forward to delving into this car in greater detail soon, but for the time being, Batman’s. tell your friends, s tell all your friends: it’s Batman's