We can’t do Lincoln Week without acknowledging the brand’s contribution to popular culture, in the form of the original Batmobile.
The Lincoln Futura was designed in 1955 by Ford Chief Designer Bill Schmidt, inspired by mako sharks and manta rays seen while scuba diving (with Bill Mitchell?). It was built by Ghia in Turin, and sat on an experimental Continental Mark II chassis gathering dust for a few years.
Its Pearlescent Frost White paint was pioneering, and made by adding ground genuine pearls to the paint. The Futura was a huge hit on the auto show circuit for several years.
It even had a career in show biz before turning into the Batmobile, in the 1959 “It Started With A Kiss”, although painted red to show up better on the big screen.
After its first career was well over, the Futura was sold off to George Barris for $1 in the early sixties. It sat forlorn on Barris’ lot until 1965, when the call came for a suitable Batmobile for the new tv show. Batmobile producer gave Barris $15k and 15 days to make it happen, which of course he did.
The Batmobile became a tireless show-circuit fixture seemingly forever. It undoubtedly made the Futura the most successful show car in history.