1955 Lincoln Futura

Updated: Nov 28, 2020

The Lincoln Futura is a concept car promoted by Ford's Lincoln brand, designed by Ford's lead stylists Bill Schmidt and John Najjar, and hand-built by Ghia in Turin, Italy — at a cost of $250,000 (equivalent to $2,400,000 in 2020). Displayed on the auto show circuit in 1955, the Futura was modified by George Barris into the Batmobile, for the 1966 TV series Batman.

The car's official public debut was on January 8, 1955, at the Chicago Auto Show; it had been shown to the press at the city's Congress Hotel on January 5. While being displayed elsewhere in the U.S. that spring, the Futura was seen by the country's television audience on Today ("The Today Show") on March 3, 1955. The Futura's styling was original by 1950s standards — with a double, clear-plastic canopy top, exaggerated hooded headlight pods, and very large, outward-canted tailfins. Nevertheless, the Futura had a complete powertrain and was fully operable, in contrast to many show cars. Its original color was white, and was one of the first pearlescent color treatments, using ground pearl to achieve the paint effect. The Futura was powered by a 368 cubic inch Lincoln engine and powertrain; the chassis derived from a Continental Mark II.

The Futura was a success as a show car, garnering favorable publicity for Ford. It was released as a model kit and a toy, and, in a much more subdued form, its headlight and tailfin motifs would appear on production Lincolns for 1956 and 1957, such as the Lincoln Premiere and Lincoln Capri. The concave front grille inspired the grille on the 1960 Mercury Monterey and the 1960 Ford Galaxie.

The Futura played a prominent part in the 1959 movie It Started with a Kiss, starring Debbie Reynolds and Glenn Ford. For the movie, it was painted red, as the white pearlescent finish did not photograph well.

The red-painted car is also seen in Ford's 1961 promotional film "The Secret Door." The film's looking inside Ford's Styling Center includes footage of the Futura on the test track and in the wind tunnel.

The concept car was subsequently sold to auto customizer George Barris. Having originally cost $250,000, the Futura was sold to Barris for $1.00 and "other valuable consideration" by Ford Motor Company. As the car was never titled and was therefore uninsurable, it was parked behind Barris' shop, sitting idle and deteriorating for several years.

The Lincoln Futura was also included in DLC: Vegas Pack of Mafia II as "Jefferson Futura".

The 1994 NBC TV series VIPER featured a red 1955 Lincoln Futura called "The Baxley". Season 1 Episode 8. The car creator stole it after it was recovered by construction workers. There was quite a bit of film featuring the vehicle. Even a chase between the VIPER Defender and the Futura. There is a youtube video available of the chase.


Sources: Wikipedia, OldConceptCars.com