Comedian Jeff Dunham is best known for his humorous work as a ventriloquist, with puppet characters like Walter, Peanut, and Achmed. But Dunham is also a collector of classic and custom cars, and he owns close to forty-five of them. For most people, that sort of hobby would be a complete financial drain (and then some!), but Dunham states that he found a way around the potential economic downside. All he had to do was promise his financial advisor that any automobile he bought would maintain its value or even increase in value. Sounds Fair to us. Here are some of Dunham's favorites, including the Batmobile, the Ferret Scout, and the Achmedmobile.
1989's Crime-fighting Coupe
Dunham owns the version of the Batmobile that was featured in the hit 1989 film version of Batman. Despite what you may think by looking at it, this vehicle is street legal, which means Dunham is free to drive it whenever he wants. And he does, just like he says that he does for all of his vehicles. After all, what is the point of having all those wonderful toys if you are not going to use them? As long as you do not use them to fight crime, anyway. Dunham says that his purchasing contract with Warner Bros. specifically forbid him from trying to fight crime if he bought the Batmobile.
And not only is the Batmobile street legal, it is also an impressive beast on the road, capable of going from zero to sixty miles per hour in 3.7 seconds. But this beautiful ride wasn't always like that. The Batmobile's back fins were hand-crafted, so they are not perfectly symmetrical. In addition to that, the vehicle is essentially a plywood-fiberglass prop, and since it was built for a movie, Dunham describes it as basically being built to drive about 300 feet...twice.
When Dunham purchased the Batmobile, it was necessary to give it some practical parts, including a Corvette LS7 engine, a new suspension, and four cameras so that the car would have no blind spots on the road. But this did not stop Dunham from once being pulled over in the vehicle, by a car who did not even recognize that he had stopped the Batmobile! Can you believe it?
A Tank for the Road
Dunham may own the Batmobile, but he does not (yet) have a Bat-tumbler. But he gets by, since he does own a street legal tank called a Ferret Scout. Originally built by the British company Daimler, the Ferret armoured car was constructed between the 1950s and 1970s as a means of reconnaissance for the military. You might even consider it a spiritual forerunner to a sport utility vehicle, since the Ferret Scout can navigate both typical urban environments and roads, as well as off-road terrain.
The version that Dunham has features everything that is needed for every-day driving, including mirrors, blinkers, headlights...and a gun turret. Well, maybe that last one is not a strict necessity for the road, but we are sure there are plenty of times during bumper-to-bumper rush hour traffic that you might dream about having one! They are affordable compared to many other collectible automobiles, too. In the United States, a collector can expect to pay around $25,000 for a Ferret Scout.
The Ferret Scout is described by Dunham as a legitimate tank, but it just happens to be missing the typical tread associated with that style of vehicle. Oh well, we will just settle for tires and wheels instead. And despite its destructive capability, Dunham did not have to sign any sort of contract prohibiting him from engaging in any war-like or crime-fighting activities when he purchased the Ferret Scout. So we guess he is just on the honor system for this one...
A Disturbing Hot-Rod Hood Scoop
Truly, one of the perks of fame, fortune, and free time is the ability to turn your intellectual property into a terrifying monument strapped to the hood of a hot rod. For Dunham, specifically, this means using his puppet character Achmed as the inspiration for a hood scoop placed on the hood of a steel-body 1934 Ford. Originally, this custom vehicle was completed for use as a promotional tool. Dunham used the Achmedmobile in the opening to his comedy special Controlled Chaos, where the puppet was driving the car! That is certainly something you will not see every day.
For that matter, you will not see just anyone driving this car, puppet or human. The Achmedmobile is the only car in Dunham's collection that is not street legal. He does not say exactly why, but you can bet the giant, disturbing hood ornament might have something to do with it.
Dunham's Continued Passion for Cars
And How You Can Afford Your Own Collection
At this point, Dunham states that he owns close to forty-five different vehicles, and there is no doubt that the famous stand-up comedian and ventriloquist will continue to collect and drive classic, custom, and super cars, storing them in his personal Los Angeles warehouse whenever he is not out driving them. Dunham's collection does not just include novelty custom cars, either. He has plenty of classic cars and super cars in his collection. Check out the video below to see some of the more famous classic cars Dunham owns, including a Ford GT, a Morgan Aero SS, McLaren MP4-12C, and 1970 Plymouth Barracuda.
And while it may be impossible to resist feeling just a tad jealous, another tactic to stem that feeling may be to consider what you can do to get to the point where you can start your own classic car collection. If you're going to go down the path that Dunham has, it might be time to brush up on your comedy routine, and try to develop a career as a stand-up comedian. Hey, it worked for Dunham. And Jerry Seinfeld. And Jay Leno. And Joe Rogan...Say, there might really be something to this comedy thing...