Zac Mihajlovic is Batman. He has the suit, he drives the car, and to many terminally ill children in Australia, he represents a real-life superhero.
Having spent two years building his street-legal Batmobile with the help of his grandfather, Mihajlovic, the 29 year-old from Camden, Australia, has denied multiple six-figure requests to purchase the car -- including one from a sheikh in Dubai. Instead, he focuses on his partnership with the Make-A-Wish foundation, fulfilling countless children's dreams by turning up at their door in full Batman attire, taking them for the ride of their life.
His Batmobile, based on the 1989 edition starring Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson, even includes parts from the actual car used in the film — like the working afterburner. Beyond the lack of guns and grappling hooks, Mihajlovic claims his replica is incredibly close to the original, even adopting air suspension. He also thinks that it's the only 1989 replica in existence that can legally be driven on the street.
One of his recent missions was to visit a young boy named Domenic who suffers from cystic fibrosis. According to his mother Nicole, Domenic must take 20 capsules a day, two lots of nebulized medication and a daily routine of physio. Like most young boys, dressing up as a superhero is something Domenic does regularly, telling people his name is "Bruce," as in Bruce Wayne. So when his mother surprised him with a visit from Mihajlovic back in June, Domenic couldn't contain his excitement, jumping in the air shouting "this is the best day of my life."
For Mihajlovic, reactions like this are one of the primary reasons he built the car, and the main reason he refuses to sell up today: "It gives kids, sadly, their dying wish," he says. While Domenic's parents hope there will soon be a cure for cystic fibrosis, eliminating the risk of their boy developing irreversible lung damage due to repeated infections and blockages, seeing the smile on his face when confronted by his hero is something they'll never forget.
"I can't believe I'm going to go in the Batmobile," screamed Domenic. "Let's go and save the world." While Mihajlovic knows that dream remains impossible, it's the ability to offer hope that keeps his wheels turning.