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Lincoln Futura

The Batmobile on Television 

The famous Caped Crusaders of comic books debut on ABC and get a load of their wheels, man!

January 12, 1966 - Okay, a lot has already been written about the premiere of Batman tonight on ABC, but what about their ultra cool car!? What is the story behind this futuristic, sleek, mod set of wheels? Well, here's the scoop!

The Batmobile was actually the brainchild of Lincoln Mercury's postwar chief stylist, Bill Schmidt. Inspired by a scuba-diving encounter with a shark, Schmidt sketched a low, long, wide, and flat vision of the future with a predatory full width grille, ominously hooded headlights, and killer tail fins. Built by Ghia in 1955, the $250,000 dream car was dubbed the Lincoln Futura.

It took just three months to ready the concept car for its debut at the Chicago Auto Show in January 1955. From there, the futuristic Lincoln was driven to a show in Detroit. On March 3rd, just before the NY Auto Show, with Benson Ford at the experimental steering wheel and Schmidt in the passenger seat, the Futura cruised from the United Nation's building through Central Park to the Tavern on the Green (restaurant) for a photo session.

The Futura went on The Ed Sullivan Show, which Lincoln sponsored, then to a guest shot on Dave Garroway's TV Show. Unfortunately, the excesses of the Futura seemed woefully at odds with the design ethics of the Sixties. And so it happened that the unwanted car ended up in the possession of George Barris.

In 1965, Barris was commissioned to build the Batmobile for ABC's upcoming Batman TV series. But because the show was about to go into production, he had only three weeks to build it. He quickly realized it didn't take much work to modify the Futura for the part. While retaining the chassis and the basic shape of the car, Barris overhauled the nose and tail with numerous bat like shapes and references.

Read more about the Batmobile here at this great site. Tons of pictures and information.

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