Rivera Notario posted this shot taken just yesterday of Chile’s Presidential State Car, a 1966 Ford Galaxie 500XL convertible. It’s still used every May to carry the President to Congress. But it started out life for a different purpose: to carry Queen Elizabeth on her visit to Chile in 1966. Ford donated it for that purpose, and it stayed around. Gossip had it that Ford Chile’s top man was also working for the CIA.
There was an official horse-drawn Presidential carriage that had historically been used for state occasions, but after socialist President Salvador Allende was elected President in 1970, he decided that a Ford was more in keeping with his socialist views than a pompous carriage.
Visiting Fidel Castro got a ride in the black Ford.
In 1973, with some help from US President Nixon and the CIA, a military coup disposed Allende and put General Augusto Pinochet in power. Although he was a reactionary and was expected to go back to using the carriage, the Ford offered much more security in that it could escape quicker in case he encountered an attack or such.
The venerable Ford is still in use, here carrying recent President Michelle Bachelet.