CC Capsule: Presidential Motor Pool

Two iconic cars eternally associated with two iconic presidents, JFK’s Lincoln Continental and Charles de Gaulle’s Citroen DS. Together at curbside to remind us of the time fifty years ago when the American “New Frontier” and the French Fifth Republic were young. I’ve been passing these cars lately whenever I visit my parents. Finally yesterday the late-model econobox usually parked between them was out of the frame.

Soon after his 1961 inauguration, US President John F. Kennedy received delivery on a new Lincoln Continental limousine. Like the new administration, the new Continental had just been introduced in the fall of 1960.

Is anyone or anything more quintessentially French than Charles de Gaulle and the Citroen DS? Gen. de Gaulle led the French resistance through the dark years of Nazi occupation, and became President in 1959, shortly after the Fifth Republic was established. “Fiercely independent” applies to both. After surviving a 1962 assassination attempt thanks in part to his unarmored Citroen’s superior suspension system, he believed he and his wife owed their lives to the DS, and he made sure Citroen stayed in French hands.

Can’t see much of the Lincoln, what we can see of Elwood Engel’s elegant design is rough but complete and quite restorable. Except, is that a Studebaker hubcap?

Apparently this Continental, like its limo brother, once served an employee of the federal government. I’ll leave it to the commentariat to identify the exact years and models of these cars. We’ll see more of the DS soon.