William M. Schmidt Papers

Biographical / Historical Note

William M. Schmidt began working as an automotive stylist in the Lincoln-Mercury Division of Ford Motor Company in 1940. By the time Schmidt left Ford in 1955 he had risen to Chief Designer and worked on various Mercury and Lincoln vehicles. He was instrumental...

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William M. Schmidt began working as an automotive stylist in the Lincoln-Mercury Division of Ford Motor Company in 1940. By the time Schmidt left Ford in 1955 he had risen to Chief Designer and worked on various Mercury and Lincoln vehicles. He was instrumental in developing the Lincoln Futura concept design that was used as one of the original Batmobiles in the 1960s television show Batman. After leaving Ford, Schmidt moved on to design automobiles and trucks at Packard Motor Car Company and was Executive Stylist at Chrysler when he left the automobile industry in 1959 to form his own custom design studio, William M. Schmidt Associates.

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Scope and Content Note

The William M. Schmidt papers consist of photographs and clippings of various Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Packard and Studebaker automobiles and trucks. The papers include photographs and drawings of the Lincoln Futura concept car used in the Batman television...

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The William M. Schmidt papers consist of photographs and clippings of various Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Packard and Studebaker automobiles and trucks. The papers include photographs and drawings of the Lincoln Futura concept car used in the Batman television series in the 1960s. There are also examples of custom and specialty designs created in the William M. Schmidt Associates studios for private customers. Researchers should note that a portion of this collection containing design drawings and sketches has been removed and placed in the Automotive design drawings collection, 1935-1987 (bulk 1940-1979).

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Collection Details

Object ID: 84.1.1672.0
Creator: Schmidt, William M. 
Inclusive Dates: circa 1945-1972
Size: 0.4 cubic ft.
Language: English

Collection Access & Use

Item Location: Benson Ford Research Center

Access Restrictions: The collection is open for research.

Credit: From the Collections of The Henry Ford.

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Lincoln Futura Scale Model, 1952

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Packard Predictor Scale Model, 1956

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Digitized Artifacts From This Collection

In many cases, not all artifacts have been digitized.
Contact us for more information about this collection.

Lincoln Futura Concept Car and Designer William M. Schmidt at the Chicago Auto Show, 1955

  Details

Lincoln Futura Concept Car and Designer William M. Schmidt at the Chicago Auto Show, 1955

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Photographic print

Summary

The Lincoln Futura, designed by William M. Schmidt, was a sensation at 1955 auto shows. The concept car boasted push-button transmission controls, a 300-horsepower V-8 engine, and a double-dome canopy roof. Hollywood customizer George Barris bought the Futura from Ford in 1959 and, a few years later, turned it into the Batmobile for the 1966-1968 Batman television series.

Creators

Unknown 

Object ID

P.833.106214.7

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of Ford Motor Company.

Location

By Request in the Benson Ford Research Center

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

Lincoln Futura Concept Car and Designer William M. Schmidt at the Chicago Auto Show, 1955

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

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  Details

Lincoln Futura Concept Car on Display, 1955

  Details

Lincoln Futura Concept Car on Display, 1955

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Photographic print

Summary

The Lincoln Futura, designed by William M. Schmidt, was a sensation at 1955 auto shows. The concept car boasted push-button transmission controls, a 300-horsepower V-8 engine, and a double-dome canopy roof. Hollywood customizer George Barris bought the Futura from Ford in 1959 and, a few years later, turned it into the Batmobile for the 1966-1968 Batman television series.

Creators

Unknown 

Object ID

84.1.1672.73

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford.

Location

By Request in the Benson Ford Research Center

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

Lincoln Futura Concept Car on Display, 1955

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details