How did the assassination of President Kennedy "revolutionize" the cars carrying presidents?

The assassination on November 22, 1963 shocked the world and it also led to a rethinking of the design of the President's specialized v...


The assassination on November 22, 1963 shocked the world and it also led to a rethinking of the design of the President's specialized vehicles.

This image of one of the darkest moments in American history. In it, an agent of the US Secret Service climbed on the back of an open-roofed Lincoln Continental, where President John F. Kennedy was dying with a fatal wound. First lady Jacqueline Kennedy is trying to get out of the car.


Just before that were moments when Kennedy waved to the crowd in Dallas, Texas. Critical shots were fired from a nearby multi-storey book archive.

The assassination on November 22, 1963 shocked the world and it also led to a rethinking of the design of the President's specialized vehicles.

The convertible Lincoln Continental made the President completely unprotected. Therefore future models solve this problem by shielding them in ever thicker armor and protectors.

Below, Business Insider describes the evolution of the Limo for the President over the past four decades.

1961-1963: President Kennedy's Lincoln Continental


John F. Kennedy, Jackie Kennedy, Texas Governor John Connally and his wife Nellie drove through Dallas just before being assassinated. (Source: Business Insider)

The car carrying President Kennedy on the day of his assassination was the 1961 Lincoln Continental. Its elegance with its low slope perfectly matched the image Kennedy had previously sought.

After renting a car from Ford, Secret Service made some adjustments. It included special telephone systems and Kennedy's chair lift mechanism to help the crowd see him better.

But the car has no armor or other protective features. Even if a roof was installed in the car that day in Dallas, this was not enough to protect the President from the killer's deadly bullet.

1963 to 1972: Lyndon B Johnson armored Continental


Lyndon B Johnson examines the new 21-foot Lincoln Continental, which was delivered to Secret Service at the White House on October 21. (Source: Business Insider)

After Kennedy's assassination, the 1961 Lincoln Continental he used was significantly improved.

According to Henry Ford's American Innovation Museum, the car was equipped with a fixed roof, plated with titanium armor, and explosion-proof fuel tanks.

At the request of Kennedy's White House successor, Lyndon Baines Johnson, the color of the car was changed from dark blue to darker tone.

1972 to 1982: Nixon's Continental, inherited by President Reagan and saved his life from two assassinations.


President Richard Nixon and his wife in a Lincoln Continental during the Presidential re-election parade in October 1972. (Source Business Insider)

The next major change took place during the presidency of Richard Nixon, with an improved version of the Lincoln Continental was announced in 1972.

Although not a convertible, it is possible to open the roof if the President wants to stand and wave to the crowd from the vehicle during elections or on official visits. An additional quarter-inch of additional armor is added, bringing its weight up to 5,000 pounds.

The car was put to the test in two assassinations of the President. It accelerated to help President Gerald Ford escape from Union Square, San Francisco, after Sara Jane Moore assassinated him in 1975.

Jimmy Carter used the same model when he took office in 1977, as did Ronald Reagan in 1981.

That year, one of the six bullets, fired by John Hinckley Jr, hit the right window of the car, and another bullet hit the roof of the car, injuring the President. Then he recovered completely.

1982 to 1992: The Reagan administration switched to a Cadillac, with bulletproof glass.


US President Ronald Reagan waved from his limousine on the road a campaign stop in Fairfield, Connecticut, October 26, 1984. (Source: Business Insider)

Secret Service - the unit responsible for the president's car - selects the Cadillac for the Presidential move. They started in the Reagan period and his successors, George HW Bush and Bill Clinton.

Reagan's Cadillac has a slightly raised roof and seats. So the crowd can see the President more clearly.

But unlike the open roof designs used by previous presidents, this one is covered with bulletproof glass.

1992 to 2001: Clinton's Cadillac


US President Bill Clinton in a Cadillac (L) passes through the Brandenburg Gate on his way to the Bellevue Palace in Berlin, Germany, on May 13, 1998. (Source: Business Insider)

Mr. Clinton's 1992 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham added controls and a sunroof to increase the level of protection.

2001: George W Bush's Cadillac DeVille, more like a tank than a car


A secret agent is waiting for US President George W. Bush at the limousine and Air Force One at Fort Smith Airport. (Source: Business Insider)

George W Bush's Cadillac DeVille was the first to be built according to Secret Service specifications and not based on commercial vehicles. Features added by the Secret Service to previous models have added weight to the point of malfunction, such as a brake error.

For the days when presidents use cars to open the roof for too long, the car has its own air supply, 5-inch armor, and according to the magazine "Mechanical Popularity", the glass is so thick that "it partially blocked the color spectrum. "

The car also boasts "a large truck engine of up to 454 cubic centimeters so that the" monster "weighing 14,000 pounds or more (about 6300 kg) can overcome any obstacle."

2009 - present: The Beast


The limousine named The Beast carrying US President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump turned onto Pennsylvania Avenue during the Presidential Inauguration Parade on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. (According to Business Insider).

It was put into use in 2009 for the inauguration of President Barack Obama. The 2009 Cadillac Presidential Limousine weighs about 10 tons. This is also the kind of vehicle used by Donald Trump - the current President, favored to use.

The vehicle comes with a range of formidable weapons. The 8-inch-thick bodywork and 5-inch-thick windows make the doors as heavy as those of commercial aircraft, and it's designed to withstand biological attacks.

NBC News said: "The car can create smoke, tear gas and oil streaks to deflect the movement of trailing vehicles behind. Even door handles discharge to shock the guys. try to break into the inside ".

The car even had a fridge full of blood that matched the President's blood type, in the event of an assassination that required emergency transfusion.

References from Business Insider
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High Tech Brain: How did the assassination of President Kennedy "revolutionize" the cars carrying presidents?
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