On Nov. 22, Dallas will again be remembered as the place where John F. Kennedy was shot in 1963. Our images of him that day are forever locked with his limousine: A modified 1961 Lincoln Continental four-door convertible. Its low-slung, angular lines and rear-hinged “suicide” doors were a bold design that personified Kennedy’s fresh appeal. The press later dubbed the vehicle the “death car.”
1. The Lincoln was leased, but received six-figure upgrades from the White House
The car was fashioned from a stock 1961 Lincoln Continental four-door convertible — retail price $7,347 — that had rolled off the assembly line at parent company Ford’s plant in Wixom, Mich. The White House leased it from Ford for a token $500 a year and sent it off for $200,000 in modifications by elite custom coachbuilder Hess and Eisenhardt in Cincinnati, Ohio. (The firm’s other high-profile clients included the Queen of England.) In the process, the car gained Secret Service codenames — SS-100-X and X-100 — and the grille of a 1962 model, so it appeared right up-to-date.
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