Lincoln Futura by Ghia

I try to be somewhat topical with #bcotd, so with the unveiling of the new Lincoln Continental concept—whatever happened to alphanumeric names?—I thought it time to revisit the most famous Lincoln ever.

Before you say, "Michael, President Kennedy was shot in the back of a Lincoln. Doesn't that mean it's more famous?" I say no. In that horrible example, the Lincoln was part of world events but was not revered as a car. The 1955 Futura concept, however, was styled by Bill Schmidt and John Ferzely, enjoyed a show car career…and was then turned into the Batmobile in 1966 by George Barris.

This car has been covered quite extensively—sources below—so I'll stick to what makes it a bit different.

First, its roof. The double bubble canopy is exceptional, if impractical, but endowed the car with the sort of optimism in car design that's been largely absent since the '60s.

Second, its pearl white paint was enhanced with scales from real pulverized fish—thousands of them—a useful indication that an automaker is quite serious about how its concept looks on the show stand. (A quick Google also indicates it's the solution to making your skin look youthful.)

Third, Ford isn't the best at making deals. They sold the original show car that cost $250,000 to George Barris for $1.

Fourth, its speedometer and other important gauges were built into the steering column—later seen on the Maserati Boomerang.

Fifth, designer Schmidt and General Motors' Bill Mitchell vacationed together in the Bahamas; as legend has it, one fateful vacation inspired not only the Futura but styling refinements that would make their way onto future Chevrolets, including the Stingray.

Sixth, the Futura had a microphone on its rear deck to pipe sounds into the car—after all, once the Plexiglas canopy is closed it's not like occupants can just crack a window. Air conditioning was included—I wonder if it survived all the way to the Batman years.

"Gee, Robin, it sure is hot in here…"