The Lincoln Futura

Several times over
the years, folks have
asked me about the
original “Batmobile” —

was it based
on a real car,
or was it built
from the ground up ?

But, just one look at the 1955
Lincoln Futura would answer
those questions right away.

The thing is —
– there was only 1 ever built –

but, unlike many prototypes
produced at the time for the
car show circuit, it was fully
operable.

Ford designers Bill Schmidt
and John Najjar came up
with the concept from an
idea Schmidt had in 1945-

and the Italian auto coachmaker
Ghia was finally chosen to
build it in 1954, (for $250,000)
on a modified Lincoln chassis.

Equipped with a large 368
Y-Block OHV V-8, making
about 330 horsepower with
a 4 barrel carb, and a
three speed ‘Turbo-Drive’
automatic transmission,
it was first unveiled at the
Chicago Auto Show in
January, 1955.

High points of the body
included a double,
clear-plastic canopy top,
a dramatic grill and hood
with deep inset headlights,
and large tail fins.

Futura’s high tech looking
design was quite popular
on the mid-1950’s car show
rounds – and it’s advanced
styling influenced designs
for future models like the
Ford Galaxie and Lincoln Capri.

It even appeared in a
Hollywood movie in 1959
with Glenn Ford and
Debbie Reynolds
“It Started With A Kiss”.
(it was repainted red)

Soon enough, though, the
car wasn’t being used much
anymore, and Ford sold the
prototype to auto customizer
George Barris –
(also known for his
“Munster’s” car)
who had it sitting unused
and unloved behind one of
his storage barns for
several years.

Then, in 1965, (20 years after
it was first conceived as the
“Futura”) the producers of
“Batman” approached Barris
for a car for the TV series –
Barris had minor alterations
to the body made, and the legend
of the original “Batmobile” was born.

That car still exists today –
as do copies made at the time
of the TV series and after –
in a collection on the
West Coast.

You won’t see it being
driven on the highways,
however —
it never was titled,
had no VIN number,
and is un-insurable
as a motor vehicle.

But as a generational
culture momento,|
boy howdy is it.

!!! HOY !!!