History of US Presidential Limos

24 May
In 1906 Woodrow Wilson, an understated cars and horses man, said that cars were “a picture of the arrogance of wealth”. He and King George drove through London in a carriage cavalcade in 1918.
Picture: Graphic Photo Union

These days when President George Bush visits London, he brings The Cadillac One with him. His 2006 Cadillac DTS is hand-crafted, plated with five inches of ballistic armour panelling, and withstands anti-tank grenade launchers, and chemical attacks.

Extravagant Herbert Hoover was ridiculed for purchasing a grandiose 1932 Cadillac 452B V-16 Fleetwood Imperial, in the midst of depression. Months later he was voted out of office.

Throughout history the Presidential limousine has been uniform black with a US flag on the right of the bonnet. This is Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s 1942 Lincoln V-12 Presidential Limousine with 1946 updates.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, however, had the most peculiar Presidential limousine. His first armour-plated car was siezed from gangster Al Capone by the US Treasury

Roosevelt’s Capone Cadillac was a 1928 V-16 model, similar to this 1928 V-16 Madam X. The limo was unpopular in Washington, for obvious reasons. Later on the President was very attached to his 1939 Lincoln “Sunshine Special”.

President John F. Kennedy slumps down in the back seat of the presidential limousine after being fatally shot in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy leans over the president while a Secret Service agent stands on the bumper.
Picture: AP

Of all the tasteless tourist traps…

Kennedy’s death cemented the Lincoln Continental as one of the most iconic and recognisable automobiles in history. It was the last Convertible Presidential Limousine

The X-100 was re-vamped and remained at the White House until 1977. It was used by Presidents Johnson, Nixon, Ford and Carter. Kennedy’s personal car, also a Lincoln Continental was made a museum piece

1965 Lincoln Continental Executive limousine is one of 15 “Government Special” Lincolns leased to the White House that year and used exclusively by US Defence Secretary until 1968. It is the only Presidential limousine in a British collection

This 1967 Stretch Lincoln was built for President Lyndon B. Johnson, a notorious car lover. This huge gas-guzzler was typical of the era

The modified Lincoln Continental was used by U.S. presidents, including Nixon, until it was retired in 1978.

Bill Clinton’s 1993 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham was the first Presidential Limousine to be designed by General Motors with maximum protection features

George Bush rides the Presidential version of the 2006 Stretch Cadillac DTS. Inside it is illuminated entirely by artificial naturalistic lighting. Luxury accoutrements include a leather executive interior, seat massager, automatic doors…

…not to mention the personal polishers…

…who apparently don’t accompany him on his cross-country escapades. We wonder what Bush’s future set of wheels look like…

We think he might go for a vintage Russian Zaporozhets. He looked like a schoolboy at Christmas when Putin showed him his first car.



3 Responses to “History of US Presidential Limos”

  1. elissa :: ebb & flow May 25, 2011 at 1:04 pm #

    i've never really thought about the presidential rides until now. how fascinating! thanks for sharing and researching all of this!

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