The Futura

Ford Press Release


The most revolutionary car to appear on the American road in the past decade was revealed at the Chicago Auto Show, January 8 to 16, 1955.

Designed and engineered by the Lincoln division and the engineering staff of Ford Motor Company, this latest development in automotive design–is an experimental car from which the Lincoln division will be able to garner valuable engineering data and test public reaction to the styling innovations.

The Futura can and will be driven.  It will be utilized as a laboratory on wheels and will be subjected to all the hazards and conditions of road testing.

A special experimental Lincoln chassis and full size plaster body casts were built and sent to the Ghia Body Works at Turin, Italy, along with complete blueprints and detailed specifications.  Ghia fabricated the body and mounted it to the chassis and shipped the Futura direct to Chicago in time for its world premiere at the Auto Show.

Almost 19 feet long and seven feet wide, the Futura is only 52.8 inches high.  Its blue-white pearlescent body is topped by twin, clear plexiglass domes or canopies over its two bucket-type seats, and it has broad rocket-like rear quarter panels.  The upper half of each scoop will direct air into an air conditioning system and the lower half into air-cooled rear brakes.

An oblong bumper grille assembly, the ultimate in this styling feature originated by Lincoln, characterizes the front end appearance, while the forward thrust imparted by the canted headlamps is further emphasized by the raked-back angle of the rear quarter panels.

Exterior door handles are concealed to preserve the line of the sculptured sheet metal.  As the door is opened by the flat hinged door handle the center section of the plexiglas canopy pivots so that the passenger may step into the car in an almost erect position.  When the door is closed the canopy locks back into place.

There are no windows to open or close.  A fresh air intake between the twin plexiglas canopies supplies the necessary ventilation, with outlets through gill-like openings on the rear deck lid.

A circular radio aerial combined with an “audio approach” microphone is mounted on the low, flat rear deck.  The microphone picks up and amplifies the sound or horn signal from any car approaching from the rear.

Because of its extremely low silhouette some of the basic engine components, such as carburetor and air-cleaner, have been modified.  Better cooling is provided by dual fans and a reserve cooling tank just over the top of the engine.

Interior styling compliments the exterior in its simplicity of line, combining black leather, blue-white leather and chrome trim.

Instruments are located in a steering column binnacle.  Concealed controls are set into compartments in the lower section of a two-tone instrument panel and covered by flexible roll-type doors when not in use.  Only necessary indicators such as clocks, compasses, turn signals and transmission indicator lights are in view.

Warning lights for fuel, battery and temperature are located in the upper part of the binnacle, and the speedometer in the lower half.  Tachometer and odometer are centered on the steering column.

Upper section of the instrument panel is covered in black leather and the lower section in blue-white pearlescent.  Under surface of the panel extends almost to the floor before flaring out into the heater openings on each side.

The steering wheel is black with chrome squares on the black surface, and dropping from the arms are two jet pods for turn indicator controls.

Side panels emerge from the instrument panel, making a unit tied together with built-in arm rest.  Seats are made of foam rubber with white leather bolsters and pleated black leather inserts.

A functional pedestal divides the two seats and contains an ash tray and push buttons for the Lincoln Turbo-Drive automatic transmission and for the power seat.  Provision is made for a telephone to be set into a chrome panel on the back of the pedestal.  The rear part of the pedestal is a foam rubber arm rest.

Transmission buttons are different sizes for each gear.  For safety, the parking gear control is linked with the roof controls so that if the roof section is raised the car cannot move.

The Futura has many features offered in today’s Lincoln–power steering, power brakes, four-way power seat, ball-joint front suspension, dual exhausts and automatic starter.

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