THE CAR AND ITS OWNER
1955 Lincoln Futura concept car replica owned by Richard Paolella
WHAT MAKES IT INTERESTING
Holy hot rod, Batman! If you remember the "Batman" TV series from 1966 through 1968, then you'll recognize this trophy-winning custom car built by Paolella and a group of talented Long Island craftsmen. It closely resembles the original Batmobile and the 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car, a $250,000, Italian-built two-seater.
The story goes that California custom car legend George Barris bought the Futura for $1 and turned it into the Batmobile in just three weeks for the show's debut. "The first time I saw the Batmobile, I knew I had to have one," Paolella says. "As I grew up and my tastes changed, I decided that I would take the Lincoln Futura and build a totally custom hot rod with today's technology."
HOW LONG HE'S OWNED IT
Paolella's wife, Karen, bought him the donor car, a 1977 Lincoln, as a 50th birthday present in 2008. The new car was ready by April 2010.
WHERE HE FOUND IT
The Lincoln came from a couple in Lake Grove.
"It took me close to three years to build with a lot of help from metal fabricators, body guys and my mechanic, Greg," he says. "The custom interior is from my friend, Reme. Just about every part of that car is handmade. Every time we changed the design, we had to build it. You couldn't just go to the local auto parts store."
TIPS FOR OWNERS
"Be patient and never give up building your dream car," Paolella advises. "I had a lot of hurdles, and a lot of times when I started second-guessing if this was the right decision. We put a lot of money in it and were at the point of no return, so we just moved forward. I'm glad I did because the outcome speaks for itself."
"For me it's priceless," he says, "but I have to say that I have close to what most people make in a year invested into it."
"I always said that you should have a goal, no matter how silly or ridiculous," says Paolella. "If you asked me 10 years ago if I would have done this, I would have thought you were crazy. The kids love it. The adults all go nuts when they see it. We drive it on the street and get the craziest looks. Sometimes I fear we're going to cause an accident."