As the Gumball 3000 commences the European leg of its 2014 tour, one car that generated a considerable amount of hype and press for the event is conspicuously absent: the Tumbler Batmobile replica. The car's inability to run in the rally has created a very public rift between its builders and the team running it.
The Tumbler replica was first announced last year. It was built by Parker Brothers Concepts in Florida and ran on a 6.2-liter V8 with some 400 horsepower. Created using photos and clips from the Dark Knight movies, it was a rolling symbol of the opulence and ridiculousness that surrounds the Gumball and its associated events.
But Team Galag, the Saudi Arabian Gumballers running the car, said on their Facebook page last week that the Tumbler has far too many quality issues to run in this year's race, and they aren't happy about it. They're alleging all sorts of improprieties on Parker Brothers' part as well:
Due to the substandard work put into it, the Tumbler can't take part in the Gumball. Parker Brothers Concepts have been given a year to fix the issues that were faced last year but chose not to do any work until it was too late to make any difference. We have been misled many times and were told that progress was being made and chose to put our trust in their word. Unfortunately, even after many conversations regarding the preparation of the Tumbler, they had chosen not to work on it and instead used that crucial time in order to promote themselves using our property. They are also refusing to hand over the license plates in order to be able to drive the Tumbler legally on the road. We have never dealt with such lack of professionalism and integrity as we have with these people. We apologise if this disappoints any of you but trust us, we really tried to get it done for the rally but they had worked hard and succeeded in preventing us from doing so...
Emphasis mine. The whole situation is a shame, I think. Regardless of how you might feel about the Gumball itself, I thought the Tumbler replica was a great idea and probably a lot of fun to drive. It's a letdown for any spectators that wanted to see it, too.
We've asked Parker Brothers Concepts to comment on this situation via a Facebook message and will update this story if they respond.