Stars and Cars

President Kennedy’s Lincoln Continental Goes on Display for 50th Anniversary

posted on Nov 22 2013 by Jade Hensby

President Kennedy’s Lincoln Continental Goes on Display for 50th Anniversary

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963. Most people have seen the iconic images taken seconds before the fatal shooting, but now you can see firsthand a piece of America history, as the Lincoln Continental Kennedy was riding in has gone on display in the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.

Whilst the car is most famously associated with President Kennedy in 1963, it was in fact still in active use for 14 years after the assassination, with President Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon both using the car in their own parades. The car was retired from the White House in 1977, but did not go on display for some time as many people felt that it was still too close to peoples memories.

Before the car was actually used, the 1961 Lincoln Continental was modified with security measures by the Secret Service, and even still it was modified after the assassination with removable roof pieces and extra steps for the secret service agents. The look of the car was of great importance to the administration and they were very aware that television was becoming an important way to put across their message to the American people. It has even been said that it was painted this colour so that it would show up better on black and white television.

The car itself marked a new design style for the company. It was this year that the Lincoln introduced brand new styling with a fresh looking car compared to the big chrome ducks that had been popular in the previous decade. The unmodified version of the car would have sold for $7,300 during those years, however, due to the extra modifications, which included a three-and-a-half foot extension, the price of the car jumped to about $200,000. The White House didnt have to pay that fee though as Ford retained the legal rights to the car and had allowed the White House to rent it for $500 per year.

So 50 years on, the security of both the President and other political members is of the highest importance. Today it is said that The Beast is exceedingly well-equipped. Inside the trunk youll find everything from fire-fighting equipment to a cache of the President's blood type. There are tear gas canisters, shotguns and plenty more security measures. The Secret Service has learnt a lot since President Kennedys open-top Lincoln Continental was fired upon in Dallas, Texas.