1955 Lincoln Futura: The '66 Batmobile's Secret Identity

By | July 30, 2019

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Left: Adam West as Batman in the Batmobile, 1966. Right: The 1955 Lincoln Futura on display in a publicity photo. Sources: Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images; Ford Motor Company

The 1955 Lincoln Futura was a one-off, a concept car that demonstrated Ford Motor Company's space-age imagination. And in a way, it did come from the future. A decade later, the Futura became the most famous car on TV as the Batmobile, driven by Adam West's not-so-Dark Knight on the campy Batman series. Indeed, the Lincoln Futura is better known as the Batmobile than it ever was as the Futura.

A Time Of Optimism And Technical Innovation

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Source: topworldauto,com

In the mid-1950s, a decade removed from World War II, Americans saw a limitless future ahead of them. It was the so-called Atomic Age, and though the moniker refers to the deadly detonation of atomic bombs that ended the war, there was a sense that science was changing our lives faster than ever, and for the better, and Ford’s concept car, the Lincoln Futura, embodied that optimistic spirit.

The Atomic Age or mid-century aesthetic often found inspiration in science fiction. Kitchen appliances looked more and more like robots, chandeliers looked like molecules, and cars aspired to be spaceships.

The Futura was designed by Bill Schmidt and John Najjar. It was hand-built by Ghia in Turin, Italy at a cost of $250,000 or more than $2.3 million in 2019 dollars.