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Lincoln Futura

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Title: Lincoln Futura  
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Subject: One-off, Mercury XM-800, Chrysler Norseman, Ford Futura, Futura
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Lincoln Futura

1955 Lincoln Futura Concept

The Lincoln Futura was a Batmobile, for the 1966 TV series Batman.


  • History 1
  • Media appearances 2
    • Batmobile 2.1
  • Replica 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


The Futura's styling was original by the standards of the 1950s, with a double, clear-plastic canopy top, exaggerated hooded headlight pods, and very large, outward-canted tailfins at both ends of the vehicle.[3] Nevertheless, the Futura had a complete powertrain and was fully operable in contrast to many show cars then and now. 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 was that of a Lincoln Mark II.

The Futura was a success as a show car, garnering a great deal of 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.

Media appearances

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 pearlescent finish did not photograph well.[4]

After that, though, the car would have been forgotten and perhaps destroyed, as most show cars of that time were. However, it was sold into the hands of


In 1966 Barris was requested to design a theme car for the Batman television series.[5] Originally the auto stylist Dean Jeffries was contracted to build the car for the show in late 1965, but when the studio wanted the car faster than he could deliver, the project was handed to Barris.[6] With the short notice, Barris thought the Futura might work well, and using Jeffries initial car, decided that its unusual winged shape would be an ideal starting point for the Batmobile. Barris hired Bill Cushenberry to do the metal modifications to the car. Barris went on to build three fiberglass replicas using the frames and running gear from 1966 Ford Galaxie cars for the show circuit, three of which were covered with a felt-like flocking finish in the 1970s. Barris later acquired a fourth replica, a metal car built on a 1958 Thunderbird.

After its conversion to the Batmobile, Barris continued to retain ownership of the car, leasing it to the TV studio for filming. After production of the TV series ended, Barris continued to own the car, which was displayed in Barris' own museum in California. It has been displayed in the Cayman Motor Museum on Grand Cayman Island.

Barris sold the Batmobile to Rick Champagne at the Barrett-Jackson collector car auction on Saturday, January 19, 2013 in Scottsdale, Arizona for US4.62 million dollars.[7][8][9]


Bob Butts Replica as seen in Ohio November 7, 2009.

In the 1990s, Bob Butts (with George Barris' consent) made replicas of the Batmobiles. He took one of the Barris-built replica Batmobiles and made a mold of it. Based on pictures from when the Futura was shown in the 1950s, he reskinned an existing Batmobile replica back into a Lincoln Futura replica. He only created one copy.

Current toy versions of the Futura Batmobile are being made by Mattel (Hot Wheels) and Polar Lights models, among others. Mr. Barris only recently allowed these toys to be made again.

See also


  1. ^ Bakken, Douglas A. (1981 and 1984). "Automotive Design Oral History Project: Remembering John Najjar".   .
  2. ^ Prototypes, Detroit (n.d.). "Detroit's Prototype and Concept Vehicles: 1955 Futura".  .
  3. ^ "Lincoln Shows Its Idea Automobile." Popular Mechanics, March 1953, p. 95.
  4. ^ 1955 Lincoln Futura in It Started with a Kiss, Movie, 1959 at the Internet Movie Car Database
  5. ^ George Barris, David Fetherston, Barris TV and Movie Cars, pages 20-27 (MBI Publishing Company, 1996) ISBN 0-7603-0198-0
  6. ^ St. Antoine, Arthur. - "Interview: Dean Jeffries, Hollywood legend". - Motor Trend Magazine
  7. ^
  8. ^ Couch, Aaron. "JAN 19 21 MINS First Batmobile Fetches $4.6 Million at Auction". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 20 January 2013. 
  9. ^ "Original Batmobile from TV series sells for $4.2M". USA Today. 20 January 2013. 

External links

  • Designing the Futura
  • A very comprehensive Futura page
  • at Yahoo moviesIt Started with a Kiss
  • Batmobile page showing model kit
  • Futura/Batmobile toys
  • George Barris interview
  • Original Batmobile at Barris' own website
  • Volo Auto Museum Hollywood collection page
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