1963 Lincoln Continental Presidential Limousine Cabriolet
Coachwork by Hess and Eisenhardt (USA)
Chassis no. 3Y82N420576
In 1961, after the election of the 35th President of the United States, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the White House commissioned a new presidential limousine from the Ford Motor Company's Lincoln division, specifying that the car had to be a convertible and have large doors to enable the President and his entourage maximum ease of access. Accordingly, a new Lincoln Continental limousine chassis was delivered to specialist coachbuilders Hess & Eisenhardt in Cincinnati, Ohio to be stretched, reinforced and modified appropriately. Hess & Eisenhardt were well qualified to carry out the conversion, having built their first presidential limousine for Harry S Truman in the late 1940s and a succession of armour-reinforced vehicles for US presidents and other heads of state thereafter. The Kennedy Lincoln was provided with seven different types of hard top, some of them transparent. Archive photographs held by the 'Musée Automobile des Voitures de Chefs d'État' at the Château de Montjalin, Avallon show the Lincoln in use on numerous trips abroad, mainly in Germany, Ireland and South America. President Kennedy was riding in the car when he was assassinated in Dallas on 22nd November 1963.
The car presented here is an exact copy of the Kennedy Lincoln, the 'Y82' chassis number prefix indicating that it is a series production limousine. It is equipped with grab handles on the boot for bodyguards, Presidential flags on each wing, and flashing red lights (in working condition) on the front bumper. The extended, platform-type rear bumper was restored in 2010, at great expense, by Lecoq of Levallois, Paris. In excellent condition, the paint is dark blue while the two-tone blue leather upholstery and interior folding seats are new. The United States President Seal is reproduced on both sides of the body and on the floor mats, while other noteworthy features include air conditioning, power windows (in working order), an internal communications system and two hand-operated spotlights located on either side of the windscreen.
The engine, automatic gearbox, brakes and heater have been totally overhauled at great expense and two exhaust pipes re-fabricated (see recent invoices on file). Only 650 kilometres have been covered since the mechanical rebuild and the car is said to drive superbly. We are advised that the chrome is in generally excellent condition and that the body is likewise faultless.
The Lincoln was purchased in Florida in 1985 by its current owner, the founder of the 'Musée automobile des voitures de chefs d'État', and since its acquisition has formed the centrepiece of the collection. It was registered by the owner in 1989 and comes with French Carte Grise de collection, a selection of unpublished period photographs, and a copy of the owner's book about the Presidential Lincoln and Kennedy assassination. A wonderful opportunity to acquire a faithful replica of this historic vehicle on the eve of the 50th anniversary of that momentous event.