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1955 Lincoln Indianapolis Concept by Carrozzeria Boano Torino

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The question of where to take Lincoln ’s styling was top-of-mind for Ford during the mid 1950s, and the net it cast was to both the internal styling teams and one special dream car creator of Italy.

Turbulent times for all the Blue Oval brands followed the market flop of their Edsel series, and Chevrolet was lighting up newsprint and auto shows with their swanky Motorama events and the original Corvette concept of 1953.

The desire for miraculous styling direction and stunning concept cars led to all the non-GM American car brands to pair off with Italian styling houses. During this flurry of deals, Ghia signed up with Chrysler , Bertone for Packard and Carrozerria Touring with Hudson.

Lincoln went with a less-renowned name of Felice Paolo to dress a rolling chassis with bespoke coupe bodywork ahead of the Turin motor show. The orange lacquer paint was barely dry on the 1955 Lincoln Indianapolis Exclusive Study by Carrozzeria Boano Torino when it was rolled onto the rotating platform of the Turin auto show.

This stunning concept car is headed for the glitz and flash bulbs again this November with RM Auctions, where the car’s previous million-dollar pricing is expected to climb in value yet again.

Click past the jump for all the unusual and one-off style of the 1955 Lincoln Indianapolis Concept.

1955 Lincoln Indianapolis Concept - Exterior Front

Lincoln Indianapolis Concept by Carrozzeria Boano Torino

This sporty coupe wears styling so unusual that its failure to inspire many Lincoln production cars is not unexpected. Henry Ford II was in charge of the style template for the unloved Edsel nose, and also later became the owner of this concept.

There’s no delicate way to say it; Henry Ford II had weird taste in cars, and his idea of beauty did not resonate with the buying public. This car was not a surprise; the drawings and look were undoubtedly approved by someone before being painstakingly created in steel.

A wide and featureless hood crown looks a bit like a UFO versus the wide and tall grilles that were typically worn by all cars of the era. Most of the air ducts for the Lincoln Indy concept are down below, which is a futuristic idea that would become quite popular in the 1990s.

Combined with the broadly curved nose and hood were dual stacks of headlights inside tall fender corners. Unusual is the nicest way to describe it, but gob-smacking or unfinished might also be more accurate.

Lining the top of the bumper area is a chrome mustache, and truly there does not seem to be enough bodywork to be a real automobile. The orange areas of the shape do not extend deep enough to even cover the lower engine block or sump parts, which remain visible to the eye, the wind, and any road bumps.

1955 Lincoln Indianapolis Concept - Exterior Profile

Lincoln Indianapolis Concept by Carrozzeria Boano Torino

Things improve significantly in profile for the Indy Concept. Large pontoon fender shapes are present front and back, with some great details nesting in the flared portions a real highlight. Three sawed-off (faux) exhaust outlets appeared in front of each door, and the shutlines and panel of the fender flare nicely flows into the windshield graphic.

Wide glass also defines the Indy concept’s front and rear windshields. Deep arcs like this look great but have a few downsides, including the fact that they are hard to mass produce, they distort the view from inside and they act like magnifying glasses for the sun’s heat.

A halfhearted racing flag and minor chrome embellishment decorates the front and rear fenders, but the really nice chrome detailing is in the coach-builder’s badges.

1955 Lincoln Indianapolis Concept - Faux Exhausts Detail

Lincoln Indianapolis Concept by Carrozzeria Boano Torino

1955 Lincoln Indianapolis Concept - Exterior Rear

Lincoln Indianapolis Concept by Carrozzeria Boano Torino

The Lincoln ’s style is oddly familiar out back. This car definitely has a style and a look all its own. But if that is a good thing remains subjective.

A central gas filler cap in chrome decorates the trunk panel, but there’s no indication that the trunk opens or can fit luggage (besides lots of gasoline).

The rounded oval fenders and light housings from the nose are present in the rear, where a 3D red brake ball appears on top. Down below is an embellished exhaust output on either side, which is pretty interesting considering the exhaust pipes seem to be in the front. The front pipes are just a styling feature, and the real fumes all come out the back.

A very rear odd bumper is the final touch.

1955 Lincoln Indianapolis Concept - Interior

Lincoln Indianapolis Concept by Carrozzeria Boano Torino

The interior is nicely evocative of the shapes outside, with the color-matched metal dash shape flowing right from outside to inside, and visa versa.
The central armrest looks a bit unusual, but overall the concept car is done to a relatively good standard versus today’s non-running show cars.

1955 Lincoln Indianapolis Concept - Dashboard Detail

Lincoln Indianapolis Concept by Carrozzeria Boano Torino

1955 Lincoln Indianapolis Concept - Drivetrain

Lincoln Indianapolis Concept by Carrozzeria Boano Torino

The Lincoln Indy concept was never developed farther than the styling exercise, but it is thought that it got a power upgrade when arriving to the states in the 1950s.

Powered by a 5.6-liter V-8 engine with a four-speed automatic transmission, the claimed output is 255 horsepower.

An output of more like 150 horsepower is more likely, as the engine looks like the old Flathead V-8 with a bit of a custom paint job. The four-speed auto is confusing, because this tech was not around yet in 1955.

1955 Lincoln Indianapolis Concept - Pricing

Lincoln Indianapolis Concept by Carrozzeria Boano Torino

This car has crossed the block many times before. Most recently, it was sold by Gooding and Co in 2006 for $1,375,000 in Pebble Beach. The current sale is handled by RM Auctions.

1955 Lincoln Indianapolis Concept - Conclusion

Lincoln Indianapolis Concept by Carrozzeria Boano Torino

Do you love orange UFO-ish concept cars? Do you have 1.5 million laying around?

Then get ready to put in a bid for this truly unique concept car at this November’s RM Auctions "Art of the Automobile," where the shockingly original 1955 Lincoln Indianapolis Concept will go home with the highest bidder.

LOVE IT
  • Slick interior
  • Fortunately, it remained just a concept...
  • The orange hue was revolutionary for the era
LEAVE IT
  • Looks like something found in Area 51
  • Overstated power output
  • Huge price tag for one of the ugliest cars in the world

Lincoln Indianapolis Concept by Carrozzeria Boano Torino

Coachwork: Boano
Vin Num: 58WA10902

The coachbuilding craft was in desperation after World War II. Many of the marques had brought the styling, designing and building of the vehicles in-house. The availability of suitable chassis also dwindled. At this time, many prominent coachbuilders worked hard to form alliances with marques, especially the American Companies who had deep pockets. Ghia created a relationship with Chrysler; Bertone with Packard; and Touring with Hudson.

Lincoln Indianapolis Concept by Carrozzeria Boano Torino

This companies looked to the coachbuilders for new designs that were bold and inspiring. Felice Mario Boano had acquaintances in the Ford Motor Company who were instrumental in aiding Boano in securing projects. Henry Ford II had just recently taken control of the company from his father, Edsel Ford. He was anxious to bring the Ford Company into a modern era and so, supplied Boano with a Lincoln chassis. Felice Mario gave the job to his son, Gian Paolo.

Gian Paolo had gained knowledge of the family craft from Liceo Artistico and then apprenticed in his father’s company. The wealth of knowledge and experience of the skilled artisans and the family business were nurtured from one generation to the next. One of his first series production vehicle designs was the Lancia Aurelia 2000 while working at Ghia. His designs had Italian style with influences of the contemporary American automobile.

Lincoln Indianapolis Concept by Carrozzeria Boano Torino

The project was intended for the 1955 Turin Motor Show. It was given the name ’Indianapolis’, after the legendary race. The design was very futuristic, and probably inspired by airplanes and aviation. The result was a flamboyant and bold, but elegant concept. The design was graceful and full of detail. Little time had passed from when Ford commissioned the car to be built, to when it was on display at the Motor Show. The result was stunning, and led to Ford extending a contract to Boano. Felice Mario informed Fiat of the contract, which led Fiat to form the Centro Stile department. Boano was select at its leaders. Boano sold their coachworks to Ezio Ellena who was the husband of Gian Paolo’s sister.

After the Lincoln Indianapolis Concept was shown at Turin, it was sent to the United States where it was consigned to Henry Ford II. It is believed that it was later given to his friend, Errol Flynn. During the early 1960s the car was involved in a fire and it suffered much damage. The interior was completely ruined. The car passed through ownership throughout the years and remained in un-restored condition for many of those years. It was partially restored in the 1970s before being put into storage for approximately 20 years. A very thorough restoration was performed during the early 2000s. Much care was taken to preserve the cars original appearance and to follow Gian Paolo Boano’s original designs. The restoration took two years to complete. It is finished in its original bright orange with a black-and-white checkered interior

Lincoln Indianapolis Concept by Carrozzeria Boano Torino

The vehicle has three chromed faux exhaust pipes on the sides of the vehicle. Sitting directly behind them are tall air intakes with five chromed air splitters. There is no visible cooling air intakes in the long, front nose of the vehicle. The headlights are stacked with two on each side. The wheels are nearly covered under the fenders. The windshield wraps around and gracefully flows into the side windows and continues to the rear where it is met by another, wrap around piece of glass.

The interior is very clean with many of the instrumentation hidden away. A touch of a button reveals the drop down instrumentation.

Lincoln Indianapolis Concept by Carrozzeria Boano Torino

The car has made an appearance at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, along with other prominent events and shows.

The 1955 Lincoln Indianapolis Exclusive Study with coachwork by Boano was offered for sale at the 2006 Gooding & Company Auction held in Pebble Beach, Ca. The car is powered by a V8 engine that produces over 200 horsepower. There is a four-speed automatic gearbox, independent front suspension, and a live rear axle.

Lincoln Indianapolis Concept by Carrozzeria Boano Torino

At auction, the car was one of the highlights of the event; a duty it has been performing rather well since it was created many years ago. It was flanked by many other impressive automobiles and was one of the top sellers of the day. At the conclusion of the auction, the car had been sold for $1,375,000.

::

:: MARIO FELICE BOANO ::

Felice Mario Boano is one of history’s unappreciated and unknown coachbuilders. His work is mostly remembered for the Ferrari’s that bore his name, but many of his other contributions are forgotten. During the 1930s, Boano created many of the great designs of Viotti, Bertone, Ghia, Farina and Castagna. Those marques affixed their names to his work and Boano continued to be hidden in the shadows.

When Giacinto Ghia was on his deathbed, he instructed his wife to contact Felice Mario Boano to save the company. Boano stepped in, along with Giorgio Alberti, and purchased the company. The work done while under the Ghia name is often remembered for their low-roofline designs such as the Alfa Romeo 2500CC, Lancia Aurelia, Karmann-Ghia, Chrysler K200, Alfa-Romeo 1900Ss and a few Ferrari 166 Berlinetta models.

Boano left the Ghia Company and surrendered his interests in the company after his relationship with Luigi Segre deteriorated. Boano’s work was still in high demand and soon was tasked by Pininfarini to create the first designs for Ferrari’s series production automobiles. when Batista ’Pinin’ Farina left Stablimenti Farina to work under his own name, he brought Boano with him. This relationship would prosper for many years.

In 1954 Felice Mario founded Carrozzeria Boano in Grugliasco which remained in production until 1957. He and his son, Gian Paolo Boano, were responsible for some of the gorgeous bodies that were given to the Ferrari 250 GT Series. Other memorable work of the Carrozzeria Boano Company was for Carlo Abarth and the Fiat-Abarth 207 series.

Gian Paolo had gained knowledge of the family craft from Liceo Artistico and then apprenticed in his father’s company. The wealth of knowledge and experience of the skilled artisans and the family business were nurtured from one generation to the next. One of his first series production vehicle designs was the Lancia Aurelia 2000 while working at Ghia. His designs had Italian style with influences of the contemporary American automobile.

The coach-building craft was in desperation after World War II. Many of the marquee’s had brought the styling, designing and building of the vehicles in-house. The availability of suitable chassis also dwindled. At this time, many prominent coachbuilders worked hard to form alliances with marquee’s, especially the American Companies who had deep pockets. Ghia created a relationship with Chrysler; Bertone with Packard; and Touring with Hudson.

This companies looked to the coachbuilders for new designs that were bold and inspiring. Felice Mario Boano had acquaintances in the Ford Motor Company who were instrumental in aiding Boano in securing projects. Henry Ford II had just recently taken control of the company from his father, Edsel Ford. He was anxious to bring the Ford Company into a modern era and so, supplied Boano with a Lincoln chassis. Felice Mario gave the job to his son, Gian Paolo.

The project was intended for the 1955 Turin Motor Show. It was given the name ’Indianapolis’, after the legendary race. The design was very futuristic, and was probably inspired by airplanes and aviation. The result was a flamboyant and bold, but elegant concept. The design was graceful and full of detail. Little time had passed from when Ford commissioned the car to be built, to when it was on display at the Motor Show. The result was stunning, and led to Ford extending a contract to Boano. Felice Mario informed Fiat of the contract, which led Fiat to form the Centro Stile department. Boano was select at its leaders. Boano sold their coachworks to Ezio Ellena who was the husband of Gian Paolo’s sister.

While working with Fiat in their design and styling department, they created such prominent vehicles as the Fiat 600 and the Simca 1000.


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