Saturday, January 26, 2013

Retro Cars of the Atomic-Space Age: The--What, Mobile!?

When the climes begin to succumb to the arrival of spring, as the new drive-in theater season ramps up across the nation, consider loading up your snacks and kids into the following vehicles for your evening jaunt to the big screen.

The Ford Futura

If this looks like the Batmobile from the 1960s TV're not mistaken. But it's not the Batmobile. This 1950s sci-fi looking beast is a futuristic concept car from Lincoln, a division of the Ford Motor Company and, as you can quite and plainly see, was not mass produced. What this car did was drum up a good deal of attention for Lincoln and Ford, and was featured prominently in 1959's It Started with a Kiss starring Glenn Ford and Debbie Reynolds. 

"After a whirlwind courtship, an Air Force staff sergeant who is a Korean War veteran, Joe Fitzpatrick (Ford), and his wife Maggie (Reynolds), a dancer, try to make their marriage work. Joe is posted to Spain; back in New York, his wife learns that he has won a raffle making them the owners of custom-built, 1955 Lincoln Futuraconcept. The car is delivered to Spain where it attracts attention from many people, including a famous matador. The car also comes to the attention of Joe's commanding officer, who insists he ship it back to the States to avoid promoting the image of Americans as snobbishly wealthy. This upsets Maggie. In the end, Joe sells the car to the matador and he and Maggie are reconciled." --Wikipedia.
Not until a few years later did a man named George Barris take the shape of the car and discover a starting point from which would emerge the Batmobile that Adam West and Burt Ward drove through the streets of Gotham.
For the complete story on this car and the Batmobile, go here for a fun tour. As for our next car...

The Ford Nucleon

Ever seen this monster driving around town? No? Then drop to your knees and thank the gods because this 1958 design concept by Ford is "powered" by a nuclear reactor. Where? There, in the back. But hey, it was the Atomic Age folks, and while we were scared out of our minds over the threat of nuclear annihilation, atomic energy--as explained to us by the U.S. Department of Education--was a boon to mankind and would cure our many ills and transform our lives to that of the gods. The Ford Nucleon was only a few more sketch pads, billions of dollars and who knows how many human lives away from doing just that.

Ah, the fertile imagination of man. See ya at the drive-in!

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