An Ohio man decided he wanted his own Batmobiles so he built it. “No one has ever made a fully functional, actual turbine powered Batmobile before and I thought it would be fun” said Casey Putsch of Putsch Racing. Putsch took a surplus helicopter turbine engine and rebuilt it as the power source for his home made Batcar. It took Casey Putsch about 5 months to build his Batmobile from scratch. He completed a chassis, stripped down and repaired a jet engine and made all the cosmetic features that make this 1989 Michael Keaton era Batmobile a sight to behold. The Putsch Batmobiles features included an iPad dashboard, onboard turbine ignition system, aviation grade instrument panel and sliding canopy windshield (ejector seats are optional).
Casey Putsch is a 27 year old renaissance man who leads a very active and interesting life. In a short time Casey has built up a business restoring and building fine race cars and novelty vehicles. At the same time he balances an active interest in driving race cars (tagged as a driver for Formula Three Euro Series cars in Germany with aspirations for Formula One), and playing polo. Putsch has a diverse set of skills which gave him the confidence to take on a project as complex as the Batmobile.
“You have to challenge yourself. I learn something new from every projects I complete. I had never touched a Jet engine before this project but I knew how they worked in Theory and all the basics about them. They intrigued me intellectually. I knew I could do it if I did my homework”, said Putsch. “I found documentation on the Turbine and began tearing it apart. I had to replace all the engine fluids because they had turned into plastic inside the engine.” I had a stroke of luck and found a complete set of gaskets and seals for the turbine which allowed me to restore the engine to like new condition.” Putsch explained that the turbine engine was taken from a Navy drone helicopter which was used to drop torpedoes on enemy ships. The Dash QH-50 DASH (Gyrodyne Drone Anti Submarine Helicopter) was a dual rotor, counter rotating blade helicopter drone capable of carrying 2 torpedoes 70 miles from it’s launch point on the deck of a ship.
Unlike the Batmobile in the movie, the Turbine engine does not power the Batmobile by use of a super heated exhaust, instead it uses the turbine to power a drive shaft connected to the transmission of the vehicle . Turboshaft engines are in common use for many vehicles including helicopters and planes.
One of the things I like most about the Putsch Batmobile is that it look like it was hand fabricated. Casey said he intentionally left rivets and other fasteners visible on the body of the car. He wanted his car to be a vehicle which could be driven and not just another stage prop. “I have had people come up to me and say that this looks like something that a Billionaire Industrialist would build in the real world.” That is a great compliment to me because they know that it is real. A made item and not just a prop.” Said Putsch. Casey Putsch further explained that there are some things you must consider when you take a screen prop and try to make it a functional item. For example turbine engines generate a lot of heat. How do you get rid of that heat without spoiling the lines of then vehicle. In his case he created two ducts that channel the heat around the cockpit and out the side of the car. The radiators of the vehicle are actually located in the rear wheel wells.
I ask Casey what he wanted to accomplish in life. Obviously a man who can build a Batmobile can do pretty much anything. He answered without hesitation, “Race Indy Cars”. Casey comes from a racing background and has been racing in pretty much any thing with wheels from Ducatti motor cycles, Vintage race cars like his fabulously restore T-50 Lola MCClaren and many others. “I really would love to drive Indy car for someone. Indy Car is a the pinnacle of American racing and I just love the class.” Casey said with determination.
I briefly spoke with Casey Putsch about his life and his projects. I posted a short video about our chats at Youtube. For more information about this interview or any of my other Meeting the Makers interviews, subscribe to our our free newsletter for the latest news.