Auction Classic: Two JFK Lincoln Continentals Up For Sale

Has there ever been a US president more closely associated with a particular car than John F. Kennedy and the fourth generation Lincoln Continental? Both have since become icons of the 1960s. Now you can own an actual piece of Camelot, as two Lincoln Continentals associated with Kennedy are coming up for auction at Bonhams (and no, not that Lincoln: The limousine he was riding in when he was shot remains firmly in possession of the Henry Ford Museum).

Numerous items up for auction include full-size replicas of Kennedy’s Oval Office and Air Force One fuselage, as well as the rotary telephones from the presidential suite at Hotel Texas form which Kennedy purportedly made his last telephone call. But we are here for the cars – if you are curious about the other items for sale you can visit the link at the end of the article.

All photos courtesy Bonhams

First up is Chassis 3Y86N409953, a 1963 Lincoln Continental convertible finished in Ermine White. What makes this car interesting is that it is the last car JFK safely rode in before the limousine in which he was fatally shot. There are numerous photos documenting John and Jackie Kennedy riding in this car on the morning of November 22, 1963, including several in this post.

Interestingly enough, this car was not owned by the US Government or the Secret Service, which is why it is in private hands today. Rather, it was owned by local auto dealer Bill Golightly who loaned to the Secret Service for use by the President. Presumably, he just grabbed a car off the lot and tossed the G-Men the keys. It would be difficult to imagine the President riding around in someone else’s loaner car in this day and age.

This example appears to be fairly well equipped, sporting many of the available options in 1963, including air conditioning ($504.60), tinted glass ($53.65), and the new for 1963 AM-FM Radio ($84.70).

JFK in “Limo One” on November 22, 1963.

At some point in the vehicle’s history, renowned Lincoln restorer Baker Restoration repainted the car and replaced the engine, but the red leather interior was wisely left untouched and is said to be original to the car. “Limo One” is expected to fetch between $300,000 and $500,000 when the gavel falls.

The second car is a 1960 Lincoln Continental Mark V Executive Limousine that served as Kennedy’s motorcade limo for “Personal Uses.” While the car most commonly associated the Kennedys is the fourth generation Lincoln Continental (specifically the 1961 to 1963 models), this older style Continental actually would have been his “daily driver.” These 1958-60 generation Continentals are not for everyone, with their wildly canted headlights, but they do have their fans, including me.

As with the convertible, the exterior of this car is heavily restored, while the interior has been left in its original condition. As is typical for formal cars of the era, the rear seat was covered in wool broadcloth fabric, while the driver sat on leather seats.

Check out all that A/C plumbing

This 1960 Lincoln, which already had a bonkers dual left-right evaporator A/C system from the factory, sports a third unit mounted in the trunk for extra cooling in the back.

Unfortunately, my Google search for photos of Kennedy in this car came up empty, which is probably one of the reasons it is expected to sell for less than the convertible (that and the lack of a Dallas connection). Kennedy’s Mark V is expected to sell for $200,000 to $300,000.

Both cars last sold at auction in October of 2013, where the Mark V fetched $210,000, and the Convertible gavelling for $318,000. The Bonhams auction starts at 1:00 PM on October 14, 2020. All proceeds will benefit The Worker’s Legacy Project in Burke County, North Carolina.

Related Reading

The American Presidential Experience Auction Site

Curbside Classic: 1965 Lincoln Continental – The Last Great American Luxury Car

Automotive History: Fourth Generation Lincoln Continentals Used In Official Roles.