JFK assassination

JFK Assassination: 8 Strange Details About Kennedy's 1961 Lincoln Continental Limousine

From its surprising price tag and oddball features to whispers of its role in a Dallas conspiracy, the Kennedy “death car” remains a public fascination

JFK
Tom Dillard/Dallas Morning News

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.

Read the rest of the list from our partners at The Dallas Morning News.

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