lundi 31 octobre 2022

The LINCOLN Continental Limousine of JFK - English Version


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Up date: 31/10/2022

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The 1961 LINCOLN CONTINENTAL - X100 in front of the White House in Washington

In 1961, a LINCOLN CONTINENTAL 4-door convertible rolled out of FORD's Michigan factories for use as a presidential limousine for parades.


President EISENHOWER having just arrived by plane and riding in a 1950 LINCOLN Cosmopolitan

It contrasts with the ten LINCOLN COSMOPOLITAN of the 50's that the former American presidents, Harry TRUMAN and Dwigth EISENHOWER owned.


President TRUMAN in a Lincoln V12 Sunshine in the late 1940s

Previously, American presidents used to travel in 1939 LINCOLN V12 SUNSHINE.


1956 Cadillac Parade Car in front of the White House

Or with two 1956 CADILLAC PARADE CARs.


However, they served more as escort vehicles than as presidential limousines. They can be seen here during the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy in January 1961. He is aboard the LINCOLN COSMOPOLITAN convertible.


Members of the US Secret Service on the CADILLAC Parade Car of 1956 in the streets of New York in 1962 

The code name of one of them was "HALFBACK", and they accompanied the President's limousine during his domestic and foreign trips.


Visit of the Pakistani President on 11/07/1961

This 1961 LINCOLN was sent to a tuner in Cincinnati, Ohio, Hess & Eisenhardt, to prepare it as a parade car. This photo shows the arrival of Pakistani President Ayub KHAN in the USA with US President John F. KENNEDY in the X100 in July 1961.

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and here when US President JFK greeted the President of Guinea Toure at Washington DC airport in October 1962.


and here with the Indian President outside the White House during a visit to Washington on June 04, 1963.


Members of the US Secret Service on the steps of the X100

The vehicle has as denomination for the agents of the "US Secret Service", the protection services of the President of the USA, the code name "X-100".


Interior of the 1961 LINCOLN CONTINENTAL - X100

This vehicle is filled with innovative equipment: a pair of radiotelephones, interior spotlights and flagpoles illuminated by small spotlights on the wings.


Driving position of the 1961 LINCOLN CONTINENTAL - X100

Visit of the American President JFK on 18/11/63 with the rear seat in raised mode

It also had a rear seat that could be raised 10 inches off the ground...


Presentation of the X100 with the light metal roof and the Bubbletop in June 1961

But its great particularity is the set of its removable roofs :

Presentation of the X100 with the light metal roof

A light metal roof

Presentation of the X100 with the Bubbletop

A transparent plastic roof called  "Bubble Top"

American presidential car LINCOLN CONTINENTAL 1950

This principle of transparent roof  « Bubble Top » was also used on one of the 1950 LINCOLN COSMOPOLITAN limousines of previous American presidents...


The X100 in open top mode

Here is the X100 in open mode.
On this picture, the disassembled parts.

The X100 in open mode

Here is a picture of one of the  HESS & EISENHARDT team who prepared this limousine.

The X100 with a standard fabric roof

A standard fabric roof could also be installed depending on the weather.

Preparers removing the light metal roof from the X100

Depending on the weather and the type of encounter, the roofs were selected and installed before the convoy left. The lightness of the parts allowed only two people to handle them...


Here the installation of the transparent parts
The disassembled  "Bubble top".
The transparent parts being transported in the trunk.
When the car was parked, it was also possible to put a protective cover on these transparent parts, so that it would not be too hot when the President got on board.

President JFK's visit

The purpose of this "Bubble top" was to make the President of the USA as visible as possible to the spectators along the route.


The X100 with the canvas top version

Something that now would be inconceivable, the car was not designed against the risk of terrorist attack: no special armor and no bulletproof windows...


Visit of the American President JFK in Tampa, Florida on 18/11/1963

During the President's travels in the different American states, this one was transported by plane shortly before the President's arrival.

or like here in Hawaii on June 09, 1963.


Visit of the American President JFK in Hawaii on 09/06/1963

One can realize that very often the crowd was close to the presidential car. Indeed, no barrier prevented the spectators to advance...


Visit of the American President JFK in Berlin on 26/06/1963

This limousine was transported to Berlin, during the visit of JFK, on June 26, 1963 and strolled in the Berlin streets with the German chancellor Konrad ADENAEUR and the mayor of West Berlin Willy BRANDT.

 PMore pictures of this parade in the streets of BERLIN

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Escort training of US Secret Service Members around the X100

The fact that the President was very often in the open during his travels in this limousine implied for the members of the "US SECRET SERVICE" to train to create a protective bubble around the Presidential car, and to have a very good physical condition to run alongside the car...

Franklin.D ROOSEVELT's trip in 1936
This principle of protective bubble follows the Assassination of King Alexander I of Yugoslavia in 1934 which imposed a pro-active security around the Presidential limousine. The U.S. Secret Service quickly put in place this device to protect the American President of the time.


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US President JFK's visit to Dallas on November 22, 1963

On the day of JFK's assassination, November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas, it had been decided not to put on the « Bubble Top » due to a bright sky.


US President JFK's visit to Dallas on November 22, 1963

 By knowing that even if this one had been put, it was not armoured...


US President JFK's visit to Dallas on November 22, 1963

One can see on many photographs that the spectators were very close to the Presidential Limousine.

US President JFK's visit to Dallas on November 22, 1963

When the car was slowing down, a member of the US Secret Service, here Agent Clinton HILL, the bodyguard who will rush to the limousine during the shooting of President JFK, was very close on the back step.
Video showing the arrival of the limousine
 until the tragic moment
Despite the security measures taken, it is a sniper who will shoot the American President while the car was accelerating to leave DALLAS...

One of the bodyguards, Clinton HILL, also known as Clint HILL, assigned to protect Jackie KENNEDY, JFK's wife, managed to climb onto the back of the CADILLAC, when he heard the first of three shots.
This was to protect the First Lady who was dangerously exposed in the back of the sedan. HILL would later become the bodyguard of the next President, Lyndon B. JOHNSON, then in charge of the Presidential Protection, to finish his career as Deputy Director of the US SECRET SERVICE until 1979.

Image from the movie "In the Line of Fire" from 1993
The producer of the movie "In the line of fire" released in 1993, was inspired by this bodyguard for the role of Clint EASTWOOD.
The plot: Frank HORRIGAN (Clint EASTWOOD), an American secret service agent close to retirement, is haunted by the memory of a painful failure thirty years earlier: he was part of the squad in charge of protecting JFK on the day of his assassination on 11/22/1963.
A mysterious killer has decided to attack the current President. Agent HORRIGAN, taking the case to heart, will do everything to join the presidential protection service...

The escort going towards the hospital of Dallas shortly after the shooting of President JFK on Novembrer 22, 1963

Back to the aftermath of this tragedy, JFK was quickly taken to the nearest hospital:  PARKLAND MEMORIAL HOSPITAL in Dallas, 

The X100 limousine in front of the Dallas hospital shortly after President JFK was shot on 11/22/1963

But the head wounds did not allow to save him.

Inauguration day of President Lyndon B. JOHNSON in January 1964

One would not have believed that after the tragedy of Dallas, this limousine was withdrawn from the circulation. But no. It was used for the inauguration of Lyndon B.JOHNSON in January 1964.

You can find under the link below, the "Presidential Inaugural Plates", plates specially put on the day of the inauguration of the American Presidents


The X100 in front of the Hess & Eisenhardt tuner's factory in 1964

Indeed, after the assassination of JFK, the LINCOLN returned to the preparer Hess & Eisenhardt to be modified.


The 1965 LINCOLN CONTINENTAL - X100 reconfigured by Hess & Eisenhardt  in front of the White House in Washington

More than 80% of the vehicle has been replaced with armor, bulletproof glass and special anti-puncture tires.


US President Lyndon B. Johnson's visit to Melbourne, Australia in 1966

President Lyndon B. JOHNSON used this car again in official visits, like here in Australia.


Visit of the American President Lyndon B.JOHNSON to Melbourne in Australia in 1966 

after having been shot at by demonstrators against the war in Vietnam

During this visit, demonstrators threw projectiles on the limousine.

In 1967, the car had a second overhaul, which included a color change. The president of the time did not like the navy blue color and preferred black...


Inauguration of President NIXON with the X100 in january 1969 

The successor of President JOHNSON, President NIXON, also took it, as here, during his inauguration in January 1969.

President NIXON in the X100 during a visit to an American city

He used it during official visits to American cities.


The 1961 LINCOLN CONTINENTAL - X100 at the Henry FORD Museum in Dearborn

The 1961 LINCOLN CONTINENTAL continued to be used in presidential parades until 1977. It is currently in the Henry FORD Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.


The 1969 LINCOLN CONTINENTAL at the White House

Another limousine was ordered in 1968: The 1969 LINCOLN Continental...



Armored, with puncture-proof tires and bullet-proof windows, the President of the time, Richard NIXON, asked to have an opening roof through which he could greet the crowd.


President NIXON in the 1969 LINCOLN CONTINENTAL in November 1971

A rear handle allowed members of the US Secret Service to stand in the back when the car was moving at low speed... 

1969 LINCOLN CONTINENTAL escort convertible

Classic LINCOLN Continentals accompanied the President's limousine, allowing members of the US Secret Service to intervene in case of an emergency...


Driving up Pennslvannia Avenue during the proclamation of President Donald TRUMP in 2017

The presidential limousines that will follow will be more and more armored and will have strong armed protection around it.  


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Here are several scale models of this X100 :


Here the 1/24 model of LUCKY DIE CAST / YAT MING

Brand : LUCKY DIE CAST / YAT MING Scale : 1/24

Reference: 24048

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The model in 1/43 of the brand MINICHAMPS with the characters the day of the assassination of the president JFK

Marque : MINICHAMPS   Scale : 1/43   


And the model in 1/43 of the mark MINICHAMPS with the characters during the visit of JFK in Berlin in the presence of the German Konrad ADENAEUR and Willy BRANDT

Brand : MINICHAMPS   Scale : 1/43  

Videos of the 1961 LINCOLN Continental - X100


Other topics concerning the vehicles
of American Presidents


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