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Mario's Tribute to 1955 Lincoln Futura "Batmobile"

1966 TV Batmobile

1955 Lincoln Futura Concept Car by Ford influenced by the design of modern jet fighters.

The 1955 Lincoln Futura was designed by Bill Schmidt and John Najjar from Ford Motor Company.

The car's official public debut was on January 8, 1955 at the Chicago Auto Show.

Its original color was pearlescent white, one of the first pearlescent color treatments, using ground pearl to achieve the effect.

The Futura had a double, clear-plastic canopy top, and very large, outward-canted tailfins.

The Lincoln Futura also had exaggerated hooded headlight pods.

Lincoln Futura and Benson Ford. The Futura was a success as a show car, garnering favorable publicity for Ford.

Its headlight and tailfin motifs would appear on production Lincolns for 1956 and 1957.

The Futura was powered by a 368ci Lincoln engine and powertrain. The V8 was rated at 300hp.

The Futura's chassis was derived from a Continental Mark II. It's transmission was a 3-speed Turbo Drive automatic.

The concave front grille inspired the grille on the 1960 Mercury Monterey and the 1960 Ford Galaxie.

It was influenced by the design of modern jet fighters, and that influence is evident in the twin canopy passenger compartment.

Italian coachbuilder Ghia hand built the Lincoln Futura in 1954 for Ford to display at the 1955 Chicago auto show.

The chassis was derived from a Continental Mark II and it's Length was 227.0 in.

The interior was unique. Its aerial antenna had a microphone, allowing the driver to hear outside sounds.

The car featured instruments housed in the steering wheel, as well as a push button transmission.

It was described as a “rolling laboratory” from which Ford would learn about new technology to apply to their production automobiles.

The rear bucket seats were separated by a console that housed a phone.

The 1955 Futura was painted Red and appeared in the movie "It Started With A Kiss" in 1959.

Debbie Reynolds starred in 1959 in the movie with the Red Futura.

In 1959, the Futura played an important role in the film "It Started with a Kiss" starring Debbie Reynolds and Glenn Ford.

Lincoln Futura as it appeared in the 1959 MGM film "It Started with a Kiss".

The car played a major role in the film.

Lincoln Futura as it appeared in the 1959 MGM film "It Started with a Kiss".

Debbie Reynolds in Red 1955 Lincoln Futura.

Debbie Reynolds in Red 1955 Lincoln Futura.

Debbie Reynolds in Red 1955 Lincoln Futura.

Front and Rear views of the 1955 Lincoln Futura Concept Car.

Debbie Reynolds sits on the hood of the red-painted Futura as Glenn Ford charms her in a publicity photo for "It Started With A Kiss".

Transporting the Red 1955 Lincoln Furura for a promo to advertise the movie.

The car became a cultural icon in 1966 when it was given a batlike face, fluted fins, and black and orange paint, becoming the Batmobile.

In 1965 Car customizer George Barris bought the Lincoln Futura for $1 from Ford when 20th Century Fox contracted Barris to create a car for the TV show Batman.

Picture taken in 1966 with George Barris in front of the original Batmobile he created.

The original 1966 Batmobile.

The modifications were simple. The fin was extended to the windshield, bat-details were added, and it was painted black with fluorescent trim.

Barris added the chain cutter that popped out of the car’s nose.

The customizing crew also added gadgets, such as the “jet drive,” which was simply a butane tank,

There’s even more in the form of a Batphone and an Emergency Bat Turn Lever. Direction changes of 180 degrees are possible thanks to two 10 ft diameter parachutes.

After the TV show Batman ended, Barris retained ownership of the Batmobile.

The Batmobile later appeared in the TV movie "Legends of the Superheroes" in 1979, along with Adam West.

Barris added a Ford 390 ci V8 engine.

George Barris sold the Batmobile in 2013 for $4.62 million dollars to a private collector. Barris passed away in 2015 at the age of 89.


Video and audio clips

Lincoln Futura debut in 1955


The Lincoln Futura concept car


Benson Ford and the Lincoln Futura


Ford Co. Testing the Futura


White Futura Replica


Red Futura Replica


Debbie Reynolds in movie: It Started with a Kiss


Trailer "It Started with a Kiss"


The 1966 Batmobile Story


THE BATMOBILE REVEALED with George Barris



Related

More Cars of the 1950s
More Lincoln Coverage

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Comments

Mario on Jul 16, 2021 said:

The 1955 Lincoln Futura Concept Car was a wild looking Fighter Jet on wheels with its double canopy top and very large outward canted tailfins.

It also had exaggerated hooded headlight pods with a powerful 368ci with 300hp V8 engine. What a pleasant surprise I had researching the Lincoln Futura in finding out the original white car was painted red for a movie. The producers felt a red car would be more photographic in their movie rather than white. The movie starred Debbie Reynolds and Glenn Ford.

Then the real surprise came in finding out this car became the original 1966 Batmobile designed by George Barris himself!.

I remember watching all of the Batman and Robin TV shows back in the 60’s. POW-ZOOM! The Batmobile lives on today in a private collection having been sold by Barris in 2013 for a whopping $4.62 million.

[Reply to this comment]

azmusclecar on Jul 24, 2021 said:

Nice post Mario.........

Looks like George Barris got a lot of credit for someone else's design........

He just modified it.

Since we now know as Paul Harvey used to say:

NOW YOU KNOW THE REST OF THE STORY......

I give the credit to the Lincoln Design Team.

Give credit where credit is due.

Great post Mario. Keep up the excellent work.

We have come to expect nothing less from you.

[Reply to this comment]

Mario on Jul 25, 2021 said:

I agree Rob the Lincoln Design Team should have received some recognition when the Batmobile first came out.

I don't ever remember hearing this was a modified car by George Barris from the 1955 Lincoln Futura.

But at least we now know the truth which is why I really enjoyed making this page. And the white car was painted red to be in a movie!

All in all it's a great story and the Batmobile survives today and we all know underneath it is the 1955 Lincoln Futura! Cheers, Mario

[Reply to this comment]

57timemachine on Aug 11, 2021 said:

As a younger person, I always thought it was based on the 1956 Lincoln model. Because of the look of the headlight brows. I read once that Adam West was a terrible driver and was damaging one of the cars. They got someone else to drive into the Bat Cave after that. Cheers.

[Reply to this comment]

Mario on Aug 12, 2021 said:

Hi George, great to hear from you again. You were very astute to have picked up on the 56 Lincoln headlight brows and compared them to the Batmobile. You had a keen eye even back then! Cheers.

[Reply to this comment]

57timemachine on Aug 12, 2021 said:

I know that the Batmobile was not based on the factory 1956 Lincoln Premier or Capri but I have always thought that the 1956 Lincoln was the best looking Lincoln car ever. Never a better looking Lincoln before or after 1956. I would own one in a heart beat and I am not even a Ford guy. Cheers.

[Reply to this comment]


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