Batmobile-like Vehicle Wows Walden Students

The Walden School at Putnam Northern Westchester BOCES had a special vehicle pull up to its front door on Wednesday. It looked like a Batmobile but “Holy Hoodwink” … it was a Polaris Slingshot auto-cycle.

The three-wheeled auto-cycle angled around the circular driveway at the PNWBOCES campus to the absolute delight of students and staff.

Within seconds students began peppering the vehicle’s owner Chris Antelo with questions and pleas to sit behind the wheel.

“Can I drive it,” shouted out Ryan Bynes, 6. “I really want to drive the car.”

He did get to sit in the driver’s seat as did nearly 30 other Walden students and dream of what it might be like to drive a car that is a dead ringer to Batman’s main transportation.

“All little boys – oh and some girls, too – love cars. And this one is quite special,” Teacher Linda Batto said.

Teacher Thomas Oakes, Jr., said he expects this will inspire some students to do some research on cars, motorcycles, movies and super heroes – and generate some interesting classroom discussions.

“It is unique and it gets you thinking, wondering,” he said.

Student Chris Colmey, 18, was thrilled to take his place behind the wheel.

“I like the seat and every part of the car,” he announced. “It looks the real, actual Batmobile.”

The owner Antelo, a 2003 graduate from Somers High School, received training in auto mechanics from BOCES during high school so bringing his beloved new toy to BOCES is like coming home. He has been into motorcycles, quads, dirt bikes for years and his hobby remains auto mechanics. In fact, he says he is helping his 18-year-old brother build his own car. This is not his vocation. He works for Home & Hearth in Cortlandt, but has passed the corrections officer exam and hopes to begin training shortly.

Antelo purchased the vehicle 2 ½ months ago and has already put on 1,000 miles. “Everywhere I go people ask me about it. It is a lot of fun, especially when the people are driving much more expensive cars,” he said.

The car cost $24,500, fills up with 9.6 gallons of premium gasoline. It lacks a roof, but has plenty of charm. The large bucket style are very low to the ground just like a European sports car. Strings of red lights in the rear flash when brakes are applied. Triangular panels jut out in the front and back giving the vehicle a sporty, but super hero, vibe.

Lightweight at about 1,600 pounds, the vehicle has 175 horsepower and a Chevrolet engine. It is registered as a motorcycle and helmets are required. The vehicle can traverse roadways just as a car or motorcycle.

Antelo has been delighting children for weeks by bringing his car on special visits for no charge.

“I am happy to help people dream,” he said as the children anxiously waited for a chance to take a closer look. “They are having a blast. It expands what is possible and real.”

And Kimari Foster, 6 of North Salem agreed: “It is a dream come true. I never saw a Batmobile before.”