The Lincoln Indianapolis is one of the most important surviving concept designs of the 1950s.

This outrageous, jet-age show car was built by a young Turin coachbuilder Gian Carlo Boano.

A friend of the Boano’s, who had worked with the Ford Motor Company, suggested that Boano produce the car on a Lincoln chassis as a way to show off his skill and obtain work from Ford.

Painted in a nuclear shade of orange, Boano displayed the car at the 1955 Turin motor show, where it caught Henry Ford II’s eye.

He bought it on the spot and had it shipped home to Detroit for his personal use.

henry gave jet car to his pal errol flynn - errol flynn robin hood the adventures of robin hood 480x360 - Henry gave jet car to his pal Errol Flynn
Hollywood hunk Errol Flynn

It also caught the attention of Auto Age magazine who put it on the cover of their November 1955 issue asking “Is this the next Lincoln?”

Boano’s design theme reflected jet aircraft with the body tapering at each end between pontoon-like mudguards.

There were non-functional exhaust and cooling intakes; and a glass canopy similar to those on fighter jets.

The grille was replaced by an air opening under the front bumper.

The twin exhaust pipes recalled a jet’s afterburner.

The interior was wrapped in fine leather, with a console that divided the bucket seats.

All of the dials and controls were hidden behind a metal facia which slid below the dashboard when the driver wanted to see the dials.

The chassis and running gear were from a 1955 Lincoln as was the V8 engine.

Legend has it that Henry Ford II gave the car to his pal, actor Errol Flynn, to drive for a while.

It was sold and resold a couple of times and finally ended up with classic car collector Tom Kerr who recognised its importance as a one-off piece of design history and had it restored.

After the restoration Kerr returned the Indianapolis to the classic car show circuit and then sold it.

In May 2015 it came up for auction again and fetched a whopping $A1.5 million.

And did Boano get his offer of work from Ford?

Yes, he did, but chose to work for Fiat instead where he penned the Fiat 600.

David Burrell is the editor of retroautos.com.au

Burrell

David Burrell is founder and editor of Retroautos.com.au, a free online classic cars magazine. Dave has a passion for cars and car design. He's also into speedway, which he's been writing about since 1981. His first car was a rusted-out 1961 Vauxhall Velox. His daily driver is a Pontiac Firebird. Prior to starting Retroautos, David was an executive in a Fortune 500 company, working and living in Australia, NZ, Asia, Latin America and the UK.