• 1955 Lincoln Indianapolis Concept by Carrozzeria Boano Torino

A unique Lincoln that looks as if it was designed in Area 51

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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 hit the auction block quite often in recent years. It changed hands in 2006, it failed to sell in 2013, and it found a new owner in 2015. Come 2019, and the Lincoln Indianapolis is set to go under the hammer at RM Sotheby’s Monterey auction on August 15 to 17.

  • 1955 Lincoln Indianapolis Concept by Carrozzeria Boano Torino
  • Year:
  • Make:
  • Engine:
  • Transmission:
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
  • MPG(Cty):
    8 (Est.)
  • MPG(Hwy):
    12 (Est.)
  • Torque @ RPM:
    230 (Est.)
  • Displacement:
    5.6 L
  • 0-60 time:
    11.5 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    88 mph (Est.)
  • Layout:
    Front-engine, Rear-Drive
  • Price:
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:

1955 Lincoln Indianapolis Concept - Exterior Front

1955 Lincoln Indianapolis Concept by Carrozzeria Boano Torino High Resolution Exterior
- image 525438

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.

1955 Lincoln Indianapolis Concept by Carrozzeria Boano Torino
- image 854699

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

1955 Lincoln Indianapolis Concept by Carrozzeria Boano Torino
- image 854686

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 decorate the front and rear fenders, but the really nice chrome detailing is in the coachbuilder’s badges.

1955 Lincoln Indianapolis Concept - Faux Exhausts Detail

1955 Lincoln Indianapolis Concept by Carrozzeria Boano Torino Exterior
- image 525423

1955 Lincoln Indianapolis Concept - Exterior Rear

1955 Lincoln Indianapolis Concept by Carrozzeria Boano Torino
- image 854705

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

1955 Lincoln Indianapolis Concept by Carrozzeria Boano Torino Interior
- image 525419

The interior is clean and not necessarily conceptual. Sure, the dashboard was rather thin, and the instruments were hidden under rotating panels, but other than that and the weird center console, it was very similar to luxury cars of the era.

The interior is nicely evocative of the shapes outside, with the color-matched metal dash shape flowing right from outside to inside, a design feature that extends to the door panels.

A gloss-black insert runs the entire lengths of the dashboard and the upper door panels, flanked by chrome strips on each side. On the passenger side, there are large letters spelling "Indianapolis." This panel rotates to reveal a complete bank of instruments and the radio. Granted, the layout isn’t exactly practical for the driver, but it’s a concept, and it looks pretty cool.

1955 Lincoln Indianapolis Concept by Carrozzeria Boano Torino
- image 854690
The seats and the door panels are wrapped in cream and black leather.

The design of these features is pretty common for the era, but Lincoln claimed that the leather was finer than usual. The stepped center console is a weird touch and doesn’t make much sense comfort-wise, but its black upper panels provide a cool contrast to the cream seating surfaces of the seats. The steering wheel is far from regular though. Although it features the two-rim design that was somewhat familiar in the 1950s, it has two horizontal and thick spokes, and the fit and finish are clearly better than on most production cars from the era. Soft carpet and mats cover the floor of the two-seat cabin.

1955 Lincoln Indianapolis Concept - Dashboard Detail

1955 Lincoln Indianapolis Concept by Carrozzeria Boano Torino Interior
- image 525426

1955 Lincoln Indianapolis Concept - Drivetrain

1955 Lincoln Indianapolis Concept by Carrozzeria Boano Torino Drivetrain
- image 525418

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. On the other hand, Lincoln also had a 5.6-liter Y-block V-8 on offer in 1955. The engine developed 225 horsepower in the Capri and was discontinued after just one year on the market. The concept features a four-speed automatic transmission, most likely the Hydra-Matic gearbox from the Capri.

1955 Lincoln Indianapolis Concept - Pricing

1955 Lincoln Indianapolis Concept by Carrozzeria Boano Torino High Resolution Exterior
- image 525435

The Lincoln Indianapolis has crossed the auction block many times in recent years. In 2006, it was sold for $1.37 at Gooding’s Pebble Beach sale. Seven years later, in 2013, it failed to find a new owner after the minimum bid of $2 million wasn’t met. The highest bidder offered $1.55 million. The concept car finally found a new owner in 2015, when it was auctioned for $1.21 million RM’s Andews Collection sale in For Worth. The car will go on sale again in August 2019 at RM Sotheby’s Monterey auction. The $800,000 - $1 million estimate suggests that the Indianapolis’ value decreased.

1955 Lincoln Indianapolis Concept - Conclusion

1955 Lincoln Indianapolis Concept by Carrozzeria Boano Torino High Resolution Exterior
- image 525428

Do you love orange UFO-ish concept cars? Do you have around $1 million laying around? Then get ready to put in a bid for this truly unique concept car at this August’s RM Sotheby sale in Monterey. The Indianapolis is a work of art design-wise and, more importantly, it’s unique. It’s the kind of car that usually spends its life sitting on museum floors, so think about how cool you would look in one of these on public roads.

  • Leave it
    • Looks like something found in Area 51
    • Overstated power output
    • Expensive

Source: RM Sotheby’s

Ciprian Florea
Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read full bio
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