After writing about the Green Machine, I was reminded of a tweet by longtime Retroist contributor and podcaster, Rob O’Hara. When Rob was a kid, he had a Batman themed Green Machine. Needless to say, it looked amazing.
This set me looking for details about this remarkable toy and I was happy I did. Not only did I find a company that made a variant of the Green Machine called the Blue Machine Max, I was also able to find images from the Sears Catalog of the Bat Machine.
Released in 1977, the Bat Machine was exclusive to Sears and buying one would set your parents back a cool $19.63.
As you can see, the design and color were very different from the Green Machine.
Instead, this more closely resembles Empire’s Blue Machine Max. The coloring and the mag wheels look nearly identical and both have that super cool flag. An accessory we all know Batman loved to attach to all of his vehicles.
Jokes aside, the flag might not have been a bad idea. These 3-wheelers were very low to the ground. So anything that could help boost visibility might have prevented a car from accidentally running over one of these.
Empire is not very well-known nowadays, but back in the day they were known for making co-branded big-wheel type vehicles and some popular coin banks in the shape of animals. With that expertise and their licensing agreements, it makes sense that they would be the ones to provide this Bat Machine exclusive to Sears.
The Bat Machine was not the only licensed “machine” that Empire would sell. In 1979, they were also selling the red and blue Superman Machine. Which came with a little Superman Flag.
Did you have a Bat Machine? Did you remember how well it held up? Were you the envy of every kid on your block?