One of my earliest supercar memories is the original 1966 Batmobile. This car blasted onto my childhood tv screen and pow I was hooked and my mind fuelled on the american custom scene and outrageuos concept cars.
But this cars roots started a decade earlier as the Licoln Futura concept car.
William Schmidt Lincoln's Chief stylist and keen scuba diver was given three months by Ford to build a show stopping concept car.
After being modelled in clay and taking design cues from Manta Rays and Mako Sharks the distinctive lines grew. Ford announced that this car could and would be driven with this in mind and once the chassis was fabricated the project was then handed over to Ghia of Turin to turn the car into metal reality.
Ford's idea was to use this 19 foot development car as a laboratory on wheels and fitted it with a 330 hp V8 enabling Benson Ford to drive it around the car shows.
But the Futura was never camera shy and appeared in tv shows as well as starring in Hollywoods 'It started with a kiss' before peforming its biggest and most famous role.
George Barris the 'king of kustomizers' was commissioned by ABC to build a car for the upcoming new Batman tv series but he had a major problem, the show was going to start in three weeks time which gave him no time to build the car from scratch. He quickly realised that it would not take much effort to modify the Futura for the role. With a little remodelling to the nose and tail the iconic Batmobile was created. In 1966 Barris created a further 3 Batmobiles to do the rounds as show cars, with one ended up drag racing.
The show car prior to the 1955 Chicago Auto Show.
Clay full scale models in Fords design studio.