HolyCoast: For the Car Collector Who Has Everything - The JFK Hearse

Monday, January 16, 2012

For the Car Collector Who Has Everything - The JFK Hearse

This will be interesting:
This weekend, Saturday January 21, the Barrett-Jackson car auction company will put the 1964 Cadillac Hearse that carried President John F. Kennedy from the Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, Texas to the Love Field Airport for transport to Washington, D.C. after he was assassinated.


The hearse has a history and is expected to sell for a pretty penny. Driven on that day by Don McElroy, who at the time was a new employee at O'Neal Funderal Home, on November 22, 1963. The driver had no idea what part he would be playing in history that day when he got into the company's brand new hearse and drove it to the hospital. At only 24 years old, McElroy was shocked to find out once he'd arrived.

He recalls placing the president's body in the hearse and then setting up a rear seat so that Jacqueline Kennedy could sit near her husband for the ride to the airport. He recalls that Secret Service took over from there. He remembers that it took him several hours to find the hearse once they'd parked it at the airport and left for D.C.

The hearse was also the first 1964 model built by the Miller-Meteor Company of Ohio and sports body number 64001. It had been the show car at the National Funeral Directors Association convention in 1963 as Cadillac showed its latest to the industry. Vernon O'Neal, then owner of the funeral home, had purchased it from the show in October.
This is the car today:
The other car that's most associated with that day was the presidential limousine which is now on display at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI.  I took a picture of that car during a visit in 2009:
A third car, the military ambulance that picked up the casket at Andrews Air Force Base was apparently destroyed some years ago.

I'm guessing somebody will bid some big dollars for this hearse.  The owner wants $1 million for it and previously turned down an offer of $900,000.  Barrett-Jackson doesn't take cars with reserves on them, so highest bid wins, ever if well below $1 million.

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