Who would have thought that an underwater adventure in the Caribbean would lead to a concept car that became the iconic Batmobile? Originally conceived as the Lincoln Futura concept in 1952 by head of Lincoln’s styling department, Bill Schmidt, the design was inspired by the shape of a Whale Shark that Schmidt had encountered while scuba diving. After two years of a joint venture between Italian and American engineers, the plans on paper were finally brought to life at the Ghia Body Works in Turin, Italy. The Lincoln Futura did not have an easy start, but that all changed. . .
“Holy Impossibility, Batman!” That’s a lot of power
Unlike any other concept car of that time, Schmidt was attempting to forecast what future vehicles would look like. What he and his team came up with was a V8 with a 4-barrel carburetor that created 330 horsepower, which was all managed by a Turbo Drive Automatic Transmission. Now, if you know anything about concept cars back them this was highly unusually as many vehicles would not have been built with an engine at all let alone a full blown functioning V8.
“Atomic batteries to power, turbines to speed.” “Roger. Move out.”
After driving off the assembly line, the Futura made its first appearance in January of 1959 at the Chicago Auto Show followed soon after by another appearance at the Detroit Auto Show later that year. By 1959, the futuristic Lincoln had made its mark on Hollywood too, and was featured in a cameo on the Ed Sullivan Show, had a guest shot on Dave Garroway’s TV Show, and starred in the Glenn Ford/Debbie Reynolds film, “It Started with a Kiss.” Sadly, the design of the 60s did not line up with the vision of the future that Schmidt had forecasted. It seemed like the Futura’s career was over and the sad, unwanted car ended up being bought from Ford for $1 by custom car builder, George Barris of Barris Kustom City. Barris is known for his unique vehicle creations for classic television shows such as “The Munsters” and “The Beverly Hillbillies”.
“Holy Hollywood, Batman!” “The Futura has been transformed!”
Fast forward a few years to August 1965, when ABC’s producers commissioned Barris to build the Batmobile for the upcoming “Batman” TV series. With only three weeks to build and to deliver a finished product, Barris quickly converted the Futura into the iconic Batmobile that we know today. By October of 1965, the Batmobile was completed and made its television debut on January 12, 1966. While there have been updated versions of the Batmobile over the last 40 years, none of them can compare to the original. For more fun facts on the Batmobiles over the years, click here.
“Holy Smokes, Batman!” I want a new Lincoln!
If all of this exciting Batmobile history has got you thinking it is time to join in the action and get yourself a new Lincoln, come down to Permian Ford Lincoln. We have a huge selection of high-price fighting new Lincolns, as well as a great selection of certified pre-owned and used cars, trucks and SUVs. We invite you to follow the bat signal to Permian Ford Lincoln at 1000 North Dal Paso Street in Hobbs, New Mexico, and let us help you find your own Batmobile.