Adam West’s Batmobile was a one-of-a-kind, even before it was customized for the 1966 television series Batman. Since then, many replicas of the customized classic Lincoln Futura have been created due to an incredible demand.
Adam West’s passing in June has spurred new interest in the classic 1955 Lincoln Futura and its second life as his Batman’s Batmobile. While there have been many Batmobiles over the years, it is Adam West’s Batmobile that remains the most iconic.
The Batmobile driven by Adam West began as a 1955 Lincoln concept car named the Lincoln Futura. Designed by Lincoln Mercury’s chief stylist, William M. Schmidt, and hand-built in Turin, Italy, the shark-inspired Futura was designed to look “predatory,” according to The 1966 Batmobile, a site dedicated to the famous Adam West Batmobile.
The future Batmobile’s original engine was a 33o horsepower Lincoln engine. This Lincoln Futura, which was destined to be driven by Adam West, was originally 18-feet, 11-inches long, seven-feet wide, and 52-inches high with a ground clearance of only six inches. The Lincoln Futura featured a Plexiglas canopy, 18 control switches, and a total of 2,000 feet of wiring.
Before Adam West’s Batman made the 1955 Lincoln Futura iconic as the Batmobile, this Futura had already been featured in a movie, It Started with a Kiss, in 1959. The MGM film starred Debbie Reynolds and Glenn Ford. The Futura was painted red for its movie debut.
What was soon to be the Adam West Batmobile was sold to George Barris, who worked to design custom cars for film and television. The Lincoln Futura was purchased by Barris for only $1.00 after languishing on the back lot for a while, despite the car’s original cost of $250,000. It seems the Futura Lincoln had not been titled, and Barris did nothing with the vehicle until 1966.
When the 1966 Batman series starring Adam West was being planned, ABC hired George Barris to design a Batmobile. Barris had three weeks to come up with a car for Adam West as Batman, so he modified the one-of-a-kind Lincoln Futura he’d bought previously for the project, according to Deadline.
George Barris spent $30,000 to restore and modify the 1955 Lincoln Futura into the 1966 Batmobile that Adam West would soon make famous. Barris replaced the 1955 Lincoln engine with a new 390-cubic-inch, V-8 engine. Barris also replaced the transmission with a B&M Hydro 3 speed automatic.
The Batmobile’s paint color is called “Velvet Bat-Fuzz Black,” from Metalflake, Inc. The trim color on the original customized Lincoln, which tends to vary on replicas, was actually three-fourths Fluorescent Cerise.
New Adam West-style Batmobile replicas are still being created and sold by Fiberglass Freaks, who are officially licensed by Warner Bros. to recreate the iconic Lincoln Batmobile once driven by Adam West. The price is classified as “mid-range.”
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The Batmobile was once a one-of-a-kind, but today, many people drive replicas of Adam West’s customized 1955 Lincoln Futura, otherwise known as the Batmobile.
[Featured Image by 1000 Words/Shutterstock]