Posted By : Irfa Hudaya Sasmita

There’s been such a fuss made over this year’s presidential candidate’s cars, McCain with his fleet and Obama with his Hybrid, that we started wondering if there was any newsworthy information about what some of the past US Presidents drove while in office. We found lots of juicy tidbits.

William McKinley was the first president to take a ride in a horseless carriage. The year was 1899 and the car was a steam-powered Locomobile.

Theodore Roosevelt took a tour of Hartford Connecticut on August 22, 1902, in a purple-lined Columbia Electric Victoria making him the first President to ride in an official presidential automobile. Although Roosevelt already had served two terms as chief executive from 1901 to 1909, he decided to run again under the Independent Progressive Party. On October 14, 1912 while he was on a campaign stop, he became the first president/candidate to be shot in their car. Bleeding from the chest, Teddy continued to campaign giving a robust 90 minute speech.

William Howard Taft was the first President of the United States to ride in an official presidential limousine. Taft became a big auto enthusiast and cleared out the federal stables to make room for a garage. Taft was also the first president to ride in an official White House car. It’s reported that Taft had four official White House autos bought with funds approved by Congress - a White Steamer, a Baker Electric and two Pierce-Arrows.

Warren G. Harding was the first president who knew how to drive before being elected. Harding was also the first president to ride in an automobile during an inaugural parade down Pennsylvania Avenue in 1921 - a Packard Twin-Six.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was crippled by polio so his official presidential limo was a Ford equipped with hand controls so he could drive despite his affliction. He would also prefer to use his touring cars to deliver speeches and meet voters, rather than in his wheel chair. And like his cousin Teddy, FDR was also a victim of an assassination attempt while in his automobile.

Dwight D. Eisenhower was the first president to have a Plexiglas bubble installed on the roof of his presidential limousine. It was a 1939 Lincoln "Sunshine Special" that was also used by Harry S Truman.

John F. Kennedy’s Lincoln Continental was reported to have a removable Plexiglas bubble top in the event of inclement weather, the back seat could be raised more than 10 inches, and it was equipped with a two-way radio and a telephone. The 1961 vehicle was known to have poor cooling in the rear of the passenger cabin while the bubble top was in place, particularly in sunny weather. In order to prevent excessive heat and discomfort to the passengers, the top was often removed prior to parades, as was the case in Dallas on November 22, 1963. JFK was the last president to have an open top limousine. In fact, the Kennedy limo was re-fitted with armored plating, bulletproof glass and a permanent roof. It was used by Johnson, Nixon, Ford and Carter during their terms in office and is currently is on display at the Henry Ford Museum.

Gerald Ford was the victim of an assassination attempt on Sept. 22, 1975, while in San Francisco as he was getting into the presidential Lincoln Continental limousine.

Ronald Reagan was just about to get into the same Lincoln Continental limousine involved in Ford’s assassination attempt when he was shot by John Hinkley on March 30, 1981, as he was leaving the Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C. This Lincoln is the last presidential limousine to be preserved because all subsequent presidential vehicles are now being destroyed by the Secret Service for security reasons.

Bill Clinton spent most of his presidency riding around in a Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham limo, and George W. Bush used a Cadillac Deville limo. One can only imaging why the Lincoln Continental has lost its presidential appeal.

Photo-Michele Hamer

(source :


Post a Comment