(first posted 3/5/2014) Succeeding Franklin Roosevelt upon his death in 1945, Vice-President Harry S Truman became the 33rd President of the United States. Also a former Senator from Missouri, Truman was a loyal and devoted Chrysler man.
image source: Truman Presidential Library
These two 1941 models are among the Chrysler products purchased by then Senator Truman. The coupe was purchased for himself; the sedan for Mrs. Truman. Both were delivered to the Truman’s the day after Senator Truman won re-election in November 1940.
Years later the Truman Presidential Library succeeded in finding and obtaining both cars for display. As they had lost their luster from age and a succession of owners, the Chrysler Corporation stepped forward to perform a restoration in the 1990s.
Both are on display at the library in Independence (an eastern suburb of Kansas City).
Both of the cars are powered by a 241 cubic inch straight six. The two-door is a Royal Club Coupe; the four-door is a Windsor sedan. The Windsor was the second most popular Chrysler that year while the Royal Club Coupe was the third most popular.
I have seen both of these cars twice; however, these low resolution pictures were sourced from the Truman Presidential Library website. These Chryslers are displayed in the library basement and behind glass; photographic quality of them as displayed would have been highly undesirable.
Adding a sense of history is the original invoice from when they were purchased. Note that Truman traded in both a ’38 Dodge and a ’40 Chrysler.
Upon leaving the presidency in early 1953 after Dwight Eisenhower was elected, President Truman and his wife Bess packed up their brand new 1953 Chrysler and drove themselves back home to Independence. While this may seem bizarre now, Secret Service protection wasn’t given to former presidents until 1965.
Not able to determine whether Truman’s ’53 Chrysler was a two-door or four-door, here is a picture of both from the Windsor series. Chrysler built just under 32,000 Windsors and just over 52,000 in the Windsor Deluxe series.
The 1953 Chrysler was later traded for a 1955 Chrysler. This ’55 Chrysler New Yorker is the car the Trumans took on a family road trip to see their daughter Margaret in New York City.
After leaving Independence, President and Mrs. Truman made their first stop in my old stomping ground of Hannibal, Missouri, where the Mark Twain novel Tom Sawyer is based. At a diner in Hannibal, the Trumans were quickly identified by observant individuals. Their inability to maintain anonymity continued for the duration of the trip.
For 1955, the Chrysler Corporation produced 33,300 New Yorker sedans. The standard engine on the New Yorker was a 331 cubic inch (5.4 liter) V8 kicking out 250 horsepower.
Years later, President and Mrs. Truman were ready for another car purchase. While I have been unable to locate any information on his automotive purchases for the years between 1955 and 1970, perhaps you have noticed a pattern; he purchased another Chrysler.
Or perhaps Truman did not purchase a 1970 Chrysler. The picture above comes from the Truman Library and it states the car is a 1970; information from the maintainers of the home, the National Park Service (the home and library are two separate entities) stated Truman had a 1969 Chrysler that he traded in 1972. Resolving discrepancies like this is when research can be fun, and while the Chrysler above is represented as a 1970, the side marker light is more like that of a 1969 model.
For reference, here is what the ’70 Newport looked like: note the location of the yellow marker light near the front bumper.
This is a 1969 Chrysler. Other than the grille and trim, there is minimal difference between the two years, yet the discrepancy in information is annoying. The marker light on this ’69 Chrysler is more like that seen two pictures above, near Truman’s left knee.
I’m leaning toward it being a 1969 model. Perhaps the Valiant in front of Truman could shed some light on things, but I cannot ascertain enough detail to distinguish it as either a ’69 or ’70.
image source: National Park Service
President Truman died in 1972 six months after buying his very last Chrysler. This 1972 Newport was used by Mrs. Truman until her death in 1982. At that time, Margaret Truman donated it to the National Park Service, the agency that maintains the home and property.
The four-door Newport Royal was the most popular Chrysler for 1972 with 47,400 being built. One could argue this has been among the best treated of them, and with just under 19,000 miles it is likely one of the lowest mileage examples in existence.
Information on the Truman Home website stated Truman was fastidious about car maintenance, having his cars washed and vacuumed every few days with smoking in the cabin strictly prohibited.
The 1972 Newport is still maintained and stored in the garage of the Truman Home. It is sometimes visible for display during the summer months.
On a trip through the Truman Home in 1999, Mrs. Jason and I were able to see the rear of this Chrysler in the garage. My questioning of the tour guide was met with some incredulity and I surmised Truman’s green Newport was not a subject of frequent questions. That is unfortunate.
This gives a rear view of the Newport.
Kudos to President Truman on his consistent choice of cars. Incidentally, while the Truman Home is on Delaware Street, the house is only a few blocks from Crysler (without an “h”) Avenue. Coincidence?
I’ve seen the two cars at the Truman Library on a vacation trip to Missouri to visit family, relatives & friends in 2004 with Wifey in my then-brand-new 2004 Impala.
Upon seeing the two beautifully restored cars, I was wishing I could at least have sat in the coupe, let alone drive it!
If only it was a 1950 Plymouth like Dad’s…
He owned 1 1957 Dodge Custom Royal and a 1960 Dodge Polara that weren’t mentioned here
Truman was an interesting cat, probably one of the last, “regular guy” presidents, he was an insurance agent and the last president that never graduated from college from what I recall. He was also one of the longest lived ex-presidents until Ronald Reagan.
FWIW, the airplane behind the yellow Newport is a Curtiss Robin, of which 769 copies were built.
I must say, he had excellent taste!
No disrespect to a great man, but I believe that he was senile by the mid 1960’s and unable to drive. Or so my recollection of David McCulloch’s biography of HST tells me.
Excellent piece, Jason. It is amazing how obscure the vehicle choices of some famous people are. When I did that piece on Frank Sinatra’s cars some time back, it was incredible how little info there was out there.
There have to be more, because from what we can see, Harry was a “new every 2” kind of guy, at least until the end. Somewhere in my dim memory I recall a picture of him with a 1965-66 Chrysler six window sedan, but I can’t find it.
It is also interesting that he mostly stayed towards the lower end of the Chrysler line. The 72 Newport Royal was the bottom model. Take this car, make it a solid black 2 door with no vinyl roof, and it was the car my best friend’s father had in the 70s. When he occasionally put the Goodrich T/As with the white letters and mounted on slotted mags, that car looked absolutely snarly.
You got me curious, and I also found this one. No info on whether this is really Harry’s car, he did not seem to be so much of a Dodge guy, and his tastes also seemed to run to dark 4 doors. However, always possible – even a former president could fall under the spell of that gorgeous Dodge.
Not only 4 doors, put pillared 4 doors on top of that, none of that seductive hardtop malarkey for this old man.
I read McCullough’s Truman bio a couple of times; he certainly wasn’t senile towards the end of his life, but not as sharp as the guy who had “hand spasms” back in the 1940’s and 50’s. HST would go back and forth between Dodges and Chryslers. I believe he supplemented his ’53 Windsor with a Dodge in ’54. When he first ran for the U.S. Senate in ’34, he criss-crossed Missouri in a ’34 Dodge. Give ’em hell, Harry!
With his staying toward the bottom rung Chrysler cars, it makes me wonder if it was a reflection of his economic circumstance. His house (the picture above as it appeared last Friday) was built by his father-in-law; he and Bess lived there with her mom from the time they were married around 1919 until their respective deaths.
I don’t recall any details of Truman’s finances in later years (if they were even included in the biography) but he seemed to be a no-nonsense sort of fellow. The house, for example–it was quite big enough, and I think he was quite content with living in Independence rather than elsewhere, so why move? Also I think that’s an absolutely gorgeous house, though the Victorian detailing was certainly considered out of fashion by the 60’s. Lucky for us that it was maintained as original.
He was never a wealthy man, in fact he went bankrupt in 1921. He did manage to pay off all his creditors however, but it took him until 1935.
Great article! My wife and I visited the Truman homestead in June 2009 with my brother and his wife (they live about an hour west of it). Our guide was quite knowledgeable about the car. I asked about the Chrysler peaking out from the open garage, and the guide immediately told me the model year and that Truman had purchased it less than a year before his death in December 1972.
As for what cars Truman purchased after 1955 – I’ve seen photos of him taking delivery of a 1960 Dodge hardtop sedan. It was either a Matador or a Polara.
I was going to post that I also saw the picture of him taking delivery of a new ’60 Dodge. I’m thinking it was a top-line Polara.
I found this on ebay. It only says “1960 Dodge Polara poster Harry S Truman”
I must add one more find that didn’t compute until later yesterday when it was shown that Truman liked Dodges as well. The car is plainly a 1955 Mopar (from the dashboard shift lever) but is not a Chrysler or Desoto. Without further research, I say a 55 Dodge, and clearly a 2 door hardtop. One more bit of evidence that perhaps the 57 Dodge hardtop was his car as well. CC is on the brink of being a major Harry S Truman authority!
Jason, thanks for this article – it is interesting how many presidents loved cars and what they drove. According to White House usher J.B. West’s book about the White and the First Ladies (Upstairs at the White House), Mrs. Truman also loved to drive her own Chrysler coupe and hated to give it up when she became too much the focus of attention upon becoming First Lady.
An excellent additional source of information on Truman’s cars (and a delightful read) is Matthew Algeo’s Harry Truman’s Excellent Adventure: The True Story of a Great American Road Trip:
A couple corrections: Harry and Bess rode the train home to Missouri after Eisenhower’s inaugural. They acquired the 1953 Chrysler after they moved home to Missouri. The 1953 was a four-door New Yorker, loaded with options but not A/C, and it (not the 55) was the car they drove to Washington, D.C. and New York on their “Great American Road Trip” in 1953.
Truman actually turned down Chrysler’s offer of a new Imperial because he thought it was over the top for his preferred image. No one knows for sure but it appears that Chrysler sold him the car for a courtesy amount of one dollar. Algeo’s book is full of details about the car (which he subsequently located after the book was published) and the trip itself, including the roads driven, the motels and hotels they stayed in, restaurants where they ate, and folks they visited.
Here is a video of the discovery of Truman’s 1953 Chrysler in its current state:
This is good information. The statement of their road trip being in the ’55 is my fault; taking the picture at face value, I didn’t quite see how the hood was that of a ’53 and not a ’55. Of course, the picture may not have been from the trip, as evidenced by the misinformation from the “1970 Chrysler” picture.
I did see several references to Algeo’s book, which looks like a great read.
If the whereabout of his ’55 is known, that is four of his cars that are still known to exist. How many more might be floating around?
Your are correct – that is not a picture of Harry behind the wheel of the 53. Algeo’s site includes your picture of Truman behind the wheel of the later model (55?). His caption:
“Here he is driving Margaret, Bess, and two family friends home from the Independence train depot on April 16, 1956. (Margaret was returning home for her wedding. Five days later she married Clifton Daniel.) Photo by Harry Barth, courtesy of the Harry S. Truman Library.”
It’s been about 12 years, but I did get a chance to see the Truman library in Independence (good we did then since our relative we visited in that vicinity no longer lives there so we don’t have as big of an excuse to go)…we enjoyed it…have been to several of the Presidential libraries so it is up our ally so to speak.
My Grandfather owned a ’51 Chrysler Windsor which my Uncle inherited after his death, kept it until 1969 when it blew a head gasket (interestingly my Uncle was visiting us talked about it last week, we live 1500 miles away from him so he’s an infrequent guest)…it had the distinction of the longest stretch of ownership of a single car in my family until my Mother who owned a modest Ford Tempo for 21 years. It was similar to the ’53, had the semi-automatic transmission. I remember riding with my Uncle in it, going on early morning fishing trip, also pulling it out of a rented garage in the town my Grandfather lived. Of course its also the car my Mother learned to drive. So the ’53 triggered strong memories in my family, since the ’51 we had was so similar (but we didn’t trade cars every other year back then).
Great article – yes that 1969 Newport is incorrectly labeled a 1970. I learned to drive in a 69 Newport just like it.
The 1953 however was a 4-door New Yorker. . .
Never realized ol’ Harry both drove a 1969 Newport at one point. Knew Ike had an Imperial, though. Wow, politics sure has changed–as has ‘middle America. ‘
Accord to David Eisenhower’s first-hand account in his book Going Home to Glory, the Eisenhowers were driven home to Gettysburg in their 1955 Imperial following JFK’s inauguration in 1961. Ike subsequently got a PA driver’s license and drove the big Imperial around the area. David characterizes his grandfather’s driving as pretty bad, understandable given that Eisenhower had a driver (including Kay Summersby during WWII) throughout his long military career. According to David, he even had to master dialing a telephone following the presidency.
The Eisenhower Farm is open to the public. I visited it in the late 1990s, and I recall two cars parked in the garage – a 1964 or 1965 Buick Special sedan and a Jeep. The guide said that they were the Eisenhowers’ cars.
I visited Gettysburg Farm a couple of years ago and a 1955 Imperial also was in the garage. However, it appears not to be the one Mamie bought for Ike but rather one donated to replace it for display purposes.
Were the Buick Special and the Jeep still there?
I’ll have to check my files on the Buick though it does ring a bell. I don’t recall a Jeep but this Crosley golf cart was there:
I’m pretty sure LBJ had a couple of Imperials too.
It’s funny to imagine Ike going to the DMV and getting a drivers lic.
I’ve seen a photo of him with a 1957 Imperial, but everything I’ve read about him said that he loved the suicide-door Lincoln Continentals, and owned several of them. He especially liked the convertibles.
Here it is.
Supposedly he had a few Cadillacs too, I remember something Kennedy wrote about going hunting at LBJ’s ranch in 1960 and shooting at game from Cadillac convertibles.
And the infamous amphibious car…
Several books reference Johnson using Cadillac convertibles for hunting deer, including a white model used on the day he took JFK on a deer hunt. There also are references to a 49 dark green Cadillac convertible used for this purpose. One book indicates that he took RFK out in an old 50’s Cadillac convertible to deer hunt in yet another infamous episode in their tortured relationship (when RFK was knocked down by his gun when it fired, LBJ told him he needed to learn to shoot “like a man.”)
At some point Johnson must have flipped from Chryslers to GM
“This 1965 Corvette Stingray was a gift to LBJ’s daughter Luci on her 18th birthday. “
About 25 years ago I saw a gorgeous old Chris Craft that reputedly belonged to LBJ. My memory is vague, but this probably would have been on Lake Travis in central Texas.
If it did indeed belong to the former president, then the man had good taste in boats, too.
Harry may have been even more atypical that we realized…from what I read he was a prime reason on why former presidents started receiving a pension. His failed haberdashery was apparently quite a costly thing.
Correct. Truman only had a small military pension upon retirement. And the income from his memoirs was taxed all at once, leaving him less than $40,000 in profit from well over $200K in income (the income from Eisenhower’s memoirs was spread out over several years and hence taxed far less). So a presidential pension was voted in by Congress that helped Truman (and future presidents). Also, the later sale of re-purchased Truman family land for a shopping center ended up providing a substantial sum to make the Trumans’ financially comfortable.
That reminds me of something I encountered researching this. On their trip to New York, they stayed at the Waldorf-Astoria. At that time, Herbert Hoover (or Calvin Coolidge) lived there and General Douglas MacArthur was having an extended stay there. There was bad blood between Hoover and Truman; we all know MacArthur wasn’t going to invite the Truman’s over for Thanksgiving. The staff at the hotel had to work to keep those three from encountering each other.
Calvin Coolidge died in 1933, long before Truman went to Washington, D.C. He also never lived in New York City. He returned to New England after leaving the White House. So I doubt that he ever had any beef with Harry Truman, and vice versa.
Thank you for clarifying for me; I was fairly certain it was Hoover, but as soon as I typed his name, I started to doubt my memory! 🙂
Hoover and Truman became friends after World War II, as Hoover helped with relief efforts in the American and British zones of occupied Germany. Truman and MacArthur, however, greatly disliked each other. MacArthur made no effort to hide his disdain for Truman when the latter visited him.
Don’t I recall that Truman (as Commander-in-Chief) fired MacArthur from his command?
Mrs. JPC and I visited the Hoover Library in West Branch, Iowa last summer. Hoover was orphaned as a youth, which probably fed his desire to help on relief efforts. He got his start as a mining engineer and was quite skilled at logistics for the later relief operations. Unfortunately, his engineering background and mindset did not prepare him well for dealing with an economic crisis as the Great Depression began to unfold.
Truman greatly respected Hoover for his relief efforts in Europe after WW II and they became quite close. While president, Truman would often have Hoover visit him at the White House. By all accounts the unpopular Hoover, who was widely blamed for the Great Depression, was greatly humbled by the respectful treatment given by Truman and they remained friends until thier deaths.
MacArthur, on the other hand, was despised by both. He ignored Hoover’s command to cease fire on the “bonus army”, WW I vets who protested in Washington in 1932 for early payment of promised bonuses. Truman fired MacArthur in 1951 for repeated disrespect and criticsm of administration policies, verboten for an active military officer.
Eisenhower (pre-White-House) also got a real nice tax ruling on his “Crusade in Europe” book (1949), basically that it constituted his “life experience” rather than the work of a professional author, saving him a bundle from his advance & royalties.
But back to the Truman/cars story–what fun!
One of my books (its either Chrysler Chronicle or Cars of the Sizzling 60s) has a picture of Truman taking delivery of a 1960 Dodge Polara
That’s the photo I had in mind.
Hmmm, maybe that 57 Dodge hardtop was his after all . . . .
That picture was also in an issue of Collectible Automobile (December 1999) about the 1960-61 Dodge Matador/Polara and the “full-size” low-priced Dart.
My parents were republicans from eastern Ks and did not like their neighbor from the east. I did. Thought he was a president with a lot of guts and prefer him to a lot of what happened in many of the subsequent decades. Not all.
Truman lucked into office and his wife never liked it. When he was a senator, she stayed back in Independence. When he became a VP, she stayed home. When he became president, she finally forced herself to DC and she brought her mother, who hated Harry and said that even though he was president, he wasn’t good enough for her daughter. Bess Truman hated politics and Washington and didn’t want her husband to stay in DC.
So, as you can imagine – Harry Truman never forgot who he was while in public office. His wife probably reminded him of this all the time. That is, when his mother-in-law wasn’t reminding him.
This kept Harry pretty humble.
Harry didn’t like it, either. He called Washington “that cesspit.” When he was appointed VP, he thought is career was washed-up. He had done a lot of work on rooting out profiteering and made a lot of enemies doing it.
Apparently he was nauseous after his first briefing after President Roosevelt died. He had learned about the Bomb, and he was going to be the man who made the decision to use it. Quite a place to have yourself landed in, isn’t it?
Truman was castigated by the GOP establishment as he was an outsider, and they considered him a hick. In my opinion, he as a great man and President, who saw his duty as sacrosanct.
I’ve heard the same thing about his nausea upon learning of the bomb. Interestingly, the plates on the green Newport were personalized with the four digits of VE Day on them. Missouri has never put them on another set of plates.
May 8th was also Truman’s birthday-he said the news of the German surrender was the best birthday present anyone could ever get.
Mrs. Truman did spend a lot of time, including summers, back home in Missouri. However, she also lived in Washington, D.C. Her favorite of their homes there was a large apartment at 4701 Connecticut Avenue, NW, now known as Truman House, where the family lived during the vice-presidential years and where the Chryslers were housed:
Today most historians agree that Mrs. Truman played a bigger role in Truman’s political life than most people (with the exception of Margaret) knew, as has been the case with most 20th century First Ladies. She was a valuable adviser who tried to steer Harry away from some of his well-known, emotionally-driven excesses in behavior. Also, by the 1948 campaign Mrs. Truman was very much in favor of a vindication of her husband through his own election to the presidency. However, by 1953 she was indeed most anxious to return to Missouri and discouraged Harry from pursuing a second elective term.
BTW, part of what drove Mrs. Truman’s pursuit of a low profile, dislike of politics and reluctance to give interviews was her fear that the press discover and publicly reveal that her father had committed suicide.
From what I’ve read, in the days before air conditioning, the President and most of Congress left Washington, D.C., for the summer to avoid the heat and humidity. Her absence during the summer wasn’t all that unusual by the standards of the time.
At the time, the British Foreign Office saw Washington as a “hardship posting” due to the hot and humid summers.
The plaque in front of the Truman Home referred to it as being the “Summer White House” from 1945 to 1952, so it sounds like few stuck around Washington.
Also, wasn’t the interior of the White House being totally rebuilt during this time period?
It was indeed, commencing at the beginning of his elected term; the Trumans did not move back into the White House until his final months in office in 1952. There is an excellent new book on the subject by Robert Klara:
The Hidden White House: Harry Truman and the Reconstruction of America’s Most Famous Residence
The reconstruction included an air conditioning system in the White House for the first time.
BTW, Truman’s long residency in Blair House during the reconstruction nearly cost him his life. Given it’s location and structure, Blair House was even more difficult to secure than the White House and the Puerto Rican nationalists who attempted to kill Truman in 1950 walked right up to the front door and engaged in gunfire with White House police (one of who died after mortally wounding one of the assassins) and Secret Service men.
The FDR museum in Hyde Park has a 1936 Ford Phaeton that used to scoot around the estate.
Not only did this Ford have hand controls to allow the paralyzed FDR to drive, but also a gizmo that would light a cigarette and flip it to him.
Wonderful article, Jason – thanks. As an historical footnote, President Truman’s middle initial – “S” – didn’t stand for anything. Perhaps that’s why it’s usually written without a period after it. I’ve always wondered about that. Anybody got any insight?
His parents couldn’t agree on a middle name, if I recall correctly.
Yes and no–both grandfathers expected his middle name to be theirs. Fortunately, their names were Solomon and Shippe, so they just gave him an S and changed it based on whichever grandfather was present.
As Archie and Edith should have sung, “We could use a man like Harry Truman again”.
“We can use a man like HERBERT HOOVER again.”
Not Harry Truman.
Herbert Hoover, probably the biggest scumbag of the 20th Century. Right to the day he died, he insisted there was no Mafia, and that organized crime didn’t exist. He kept illegal, personal files on millions of people. That made him so powerful they had to wait for him to die to get rid of him. Nixon had the files quietly destroyed.
Either you mean J. Edgar Hoover, in which case I can go along with you or you are terribly off base. Herbert flunked economics IMO but it really took a war for his successor to pull the country out of the depression.
J Edgar Hoover showed that power corrupted and near absolute corrupted nearly absolutely.
You got your Hoovers mixed up.
As others have noted, you are thinking of J. Edgar Hoover, who basically created the modern-day FBI.
President Herbert Hoover had his faults, but he wasn’t a scumbag. Prior to this presidency, he had been greatly admired for his efforts to prevent starvation in post-World War I Europe. He repeated that feat in the American and British zones of occupied Germany after World War II. He also became friends with Harry Truman, according to the sources I’ve read.
I sort of find it interesting that Hoover lived into the 1960’s, he died in 1964, whats also interesting is that when Nixon resigned in 1974, he became the only living ex-President at the same time, having lost all the living presidents Hoover, Eisenhower, Truman and Johnson between 1964-1973.
Please note: I said “should”.
For anyone particularly interested in Truman’s 53′ or his “road trip”, I might recommend Harry Truman’s Excellent Adventure by Matthew Algeo. It’s mostly about the locations he visited and the nature of his life post-presidency but before he was granted a presidential pension, but has some things about the car, i.e.: A dealer offered him it for free but he insisted on paying ($1), he asked for a New Yorker because an Imperial sounded too aristocratic, and he kept a gas mileage booklet and used to brag about 15 mpg.
Thanks for a great post. Learned more about the president I deemed my favorite in grade school – and did several reports on him.
I’ve been to the Truman Library twice, once in the ’70s, and again with my family several years ago. I recall the ’41 Royal Club Coupe – and a 1950 Lincoln Cosmopolitan Limo that was his White House car. I believe both cars were there on both visits.
My folks took us past the Truman residence in my early trip. Bess was still alive. I’ve never seen inside the house (or garage!).
I picked up this post card of the Cosmopolitan on the ’70s trip……
Back of the post card…………….
Whenever I read about an American president who was before my time I always find it very interesting. I don’t know why I don’t seek out more of this knowledge on my own. It is sad to have to read about it on a car site and I thank you Jason for the history lesson on Truman.
June 1953: The Trumans just made a 2-day drive from Independence to D.C., their first visit since leaving the White House:
Drew Pearson column about Truman and his Chryslers (part one):
Conclusion of Drew Pearson article:
Says all one needs to know about the man.
When I click on the images of the Drew Pearson column I get list of hundreds of items which turn out to be all random car related photos in a very small size. Expanding the actual column images goes too blurry to read.
Thanks for the information. Great info on this site concerning HST’s cars.
For anyone who liked this article, I recommend the book “Harry Truman’s Excellent Adventure”, a fun nonfiction about his road trip to New York, with a lot of good insight into American History, the nature of being an ex president, and yes indeed the car as well.
This information about Truman’s Chrysler and his first rode trip in it and his return home to Missouri from the white house is ALL IN CORRECT.
As stated above refer to “Harry Truman’s Excellent Adventure” for the CORRECT INFORMATION on Harry’s 1953 Chrysler.
//Upon leaving the presidency in early 1953 after Dwight Eisenhower was elected, President Truman and his wife Bess packed up their brand new 1953 Chrysler and drove themselves back home to Independence. //
This is false: the Trumans did NOT drive back to Independence after Eisenhower’s inauguration. Truman relates the story of the “heartwarming” reception at the train station in Independence in chapter one of Mr. Citizen.
Here’s a video:
And some quotes:
”The Ferdinand Magellan provided as a courtesy by the new President, had been attached to a regular B & O train bound for Missouri…”
“At 6:30, with the crowd singing “Auld Lang Syne,” the train began pulling slowly out of the station, until it was beyond the lighted platform. It had been a long road from Independence to the White House, and now Truman was going home.”
McCullough, from Truman, page 923.
“Then we were back in the limousine, and on our way to Union Station, where the presidential car was waiting to take Dad and Mother to Independence…”
“We finally had to call a halt to it, so the train could get out of the station on something approximating its schedule. Dad went out to the platform and gave them a farewell salute…”
Harry S. Truman, by Margaret Truman Daniel, page 558.
You are correct and, as you may have noted, you aren’t alone in realizing this. This was based upon some obviously erroneous information I found while researching this. Please believe me when I say I didn’t just pull this out of thin air.
Since I wrote this I have also discovered and read the book “Harry Truman’s Excellent Adventure” referred to above; I forget the author’s name, but it also addresses what you have mentioned.
Some of this is factually incorrect. The Trumans didn’t drive themselves home in their 1953 Chrysler upon leaving office in Jan 1953. They took a train.
They drove this car back to DC in June 1953–arriving back in Independence in the car 19 days later.
It’s also doubtful that they later drove the 1955 Chrysler to New York. The 1953 road trip made clear to them that it was impossible for them to take a road trip incognito. It is said they never took another extended road trip on their own after the 1953 trip.
Read about their June/July 1953 road trip in “HARRY TRUMAN’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE” by Matthew Algeo
Truman and Eisenhower. To hear those names today almost makes me cry.
Thinking about any previous president in 2019 should be more than enough to make anyone almost cry. Or actually cry.
Makes you wince when you realise Truman will be next to Trump in the reference books – chalk and cheese!
According to Ford Historian David L Lewis, Truman did not like Fords. Although he did briefly consider opening a Ford dealership during the T days. One of Trumans first cars was a Stafford. He wrote to Bess in 1914 of losing a race to a Model T.
Here’s the story.
If I had to guess, I would figured Truman as a Plymouth guy. Even Chrysler, not to mention Imperial, seems a little fancy for my perception of him. I think he was the last President my mom liked. One picture of the back of the car we had when I was born shows an Adlai Stevenson bumper sticker.
Truman is regarded as one of the worst presidents in history. You know like President Rump, oh, I meant Trump is regarded.
I don’t know where you get your information, but this is clearly not true. Not even close.
That appears to be a ’69 Valiant: the bright metal upper -right-corner-of-something we (barely) see just inboard of the headlamp, just about below the mo in the Plymouth callout at the forward edge of the hood, is a frame element present on the ’69 grille but not on the ’70-’72.
I remember looking at two new yorker wagons, a ’56 and a ’64 outside of St louis that were reported to be his. And I have pics of them.
I remember seeing a newsreel that had a clip about Harry S Truman driving around in his new automobile after just leaving the office of president and it was a convertible.
FYI, the Trumans did not pack up a car and drive back to Missouri in 1953. They took the train, departing from Union Station on the 20th of January, arriving in Independence on the night of the 21st.
As a car nut 16 year old in 1970 you can imagine my distress when my Dad brought home a new dark green 4 door Chrysler.; a stripper down to the manual seat and roll up windows. What I remember most was it rode like a couch on a skate. If you hung a corner, the passenger would slide across the quarter mile wide front seat and smack the driver. I was ecstatic when it was stolen! Unfortunately it was recovered and put back together. My Dad was nonplussed. Shortly thereafter I got my first car…….a 1950 Packard Ultramatic! I’m not my Dad when it comes to cars obviously. There have been some seventy since!
Some of this is factually incorrect. The Trumans didn’t drive themselves home in their 1953 Chrysler upon leaving office in Jan 1953. They took a train. They drove this car back to DC in June 1953 arriving back in Independence in the car 19 days later. It’s also doubtful they later drove the 1955 Chrysler to New York. The 1953 road trip made them aware of the impossibility of taking such a trip incognito. It is said they never took another extended road trip on their own after the June/July 1953 trip.
Read about the 1953 trip in “HARRY TRUMAN’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE” by Matthuw Algeo