The unexpectable happned on November 22 1963,the US President John F. Kennedy was fatally shot in an open-topped Lincoln Continental in Dallas, Texas, during a presidential motorcade.
That day, 56 years ago today, marks one of the darkest moments in American history. The assassination of John F. Kennedy led to a total rethink of how the presidential cars are designed.
The 1961 unarmoured open-roofed Lincoln Continental SS-100-X left John F. Kennedy uniquely exposed.
Today, the United States presidential state cars are more of “Tanks” than a cars. The current models cover the presidents in thicker layers of armour and protection.
AutoJosh wants you to see the evolution of the US Presidential State Cars from the last five decades.
1961 to 1963: Lincoln Continental SS-100-X
The vehicle that President Kennedy was riding in on the day of his assassination was a 1961 open-roofed Lincoln Continental SS-100-X. The state car cost almost $200,000 (equivalent to about $1,700,000 in 2018).
It is the most sophisticated presidential state car yet built. It has heavy-duty heater and air conditioner and a pair of radiotelephones. Fire extinguisher, a first-aid kit and a siren are also available.
John F. Kennedy wouldn’t have survived the bullets in the unarmoured car even if the hardtop had been in place.
1963 to 1972: Lyndon B Johnson’s armoured Lincoln Continental
Following Kennedy’s assassination, Lincoln Continental was redesigned for an estimated cost of $500,000. It received significant armour plating, bullet-proof hardtop, explosion-proof fuel tank and run-flat tyres.
The custom-built car remained in service until 1977, when it was retired to the Henry Ford Museum.