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Saturday, November 16, 2013


The disclaimer so my posterior stays in place- This blog is meant as nothing more than an extension of my lifelong auto passion as a hobby. No income is gained nor any assistance financially solicited and all expenses are my own. My intent is to share this passion with other enthusiasts. This updates theme is to document the 1966 Batmobile with all the truth I can muster from research and after reading this I leave it up to the reader to form their own opinions and conclusions of this cars heritage and history. Many of the images and quotes I use have been taken from the internet during my research and I understand content on my blog might be copied and I do not mind sharing.
The secret is out, I am the BATMAN! Actually this is a photo of myself driving a replica owned by a friend Dan Rodriguez, hey one off the bucket list!! It was crazy I am driving along and the BATPHONE rang, it was Commissioner Gordon so minutes later we headed to Gotham City, well NyC in reality!
How and where did the journey begin? The Making of a Dream. The Futura began as an idea of Bill Schmidt, chief stylist for Lincoln-Mercury from 1945-55. It sprang, partly, from a 1952 encounter with a real, live shark while diving! Here's one of the first concept drawings of the car, from 1952. Many more drawings and revisions were made before a 'finalized' look was ready.
The artwork paved the way for the clay model makers to begin the task of making 'fancy' take flight. Note the front view's strong resemblance to a shark on the attack!
Here, a plaster version is ready for shipment to Italy where the metal body will be made
I am trying to first establish the birth of the Lincoln Futura concept car which as you will soon find out was how the 66 Batmobile was born!! It was originally designed by Ford Motor Company lead stylists Bill Schmidt and John Najjar Ferzely and built by Ghia entirely by hand in Turin, Italy, at a cost of $250,000 and displayed on the auto show circuit in 1955.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. 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 tail fin motifs would appear on production Lincolns for 1956 and 1957, such as the Lincoln Premiere and Lincoln Capri.So the Futura is born and it had a busy career as a show car.
Usually a concept car rides off into the sunset, but the Futura became one of the stars of a 1959 movie!! The pearl white paint gone and a new red coat applied!
Our good looking couple wins the car at an auto show contest and it is shipped off to Spain where hubby is stationed in the US Air Force. Rent the movie or hit youtube for some great in color film of the car driving around Spain! Like many Hollywood starlets our gal gets cast off like yesterdays muffin stumps and spends many years sitting around the back lot and starting to show her age!
R.I.P. FUTURA! Most concept cars had short lived careers and their fate usually ended with only a few choices. The car could be destroyed, (sometimes that was to happen, but they turned up in junk yards, more on that at another time!) saved in some corner of the deepest depths of giant warehouses or maybe the company found the urge to restore or preserve it! Things get a little cloudy and mis-represented at this point because George Barris did not officially own the car until December 21 1965, it was already the Batmobile completed under his contract, I have a full copy if anyone would like to read it. After researching it appears Mr. Barris was bound to many stipulations in that contract and did not have freedom to control the car, even needed permission to acquire and or build additional replicas? Did Ford actually own it to the day Barris bought it for $1 or did the studio own it, unclear? Nah it's clear Ford owned the car until it was officially sold to Barris for $1.

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