RARE PIECE OF KENNEDY MOTORING HISTORY TO BE OFFERED AT ARIZONA BILTMORE AUCTION

Continuing their reputation for offering some of the world’s most significant motor cars, RM Auctions will offer a 1962 Lincoln Continental Town Limousine, as used by President John F. Kennedy, when they return to Phoenix next month for their annual “Automobiles of Arizona” event.

The distinguished motor car (chassis no. 2Y82H424232) was originally built for Mrs. Edsel B. (Eleanor) Ford, before subsequently being employed by the White House. It will cross the block at RM’s annual multi-million dollar sale at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa on January 18, 2008.

Given the car’s well-documented use by President Kennedy, it is fitting that it is offered at RM’s Arizona Biltmore sale – a hotel in which Kennedy himself favored along with other US Presidents, in a state that strongly supported his presidential campaign. Said Kennedy on November 3, 1960 at the Phoenix Airport: “The fact of the matter is that I would not have been nominated without the help of Arizona, and I think Arizona can be with us when we are going to win on November 8”.

The car adds to a long line of custom limousines offered by RM Auctions in recent years. Like all other purpose-built, executive automobiles, its sale in Phoenix presents a unique ownership opportunity for discerning collectors.

“RM Auctions is honored to offer this historically important motor car at our upcoming Arizona event,” says Ian Kelleher, Managing Director of RM Auctions, about the 1962 Lincoln.

“Presidential limousines have always held a fascination with the public, as these cars were often witnesses to America’s most important political and historical events. This coupled with a continuing fascination in the JFK years, will no doubt see this car draw significant interest as it crosses the block,” he adds.

The 232 was one of three 1962 Lincoln Continental Town Limousines built by custom coachbuilders, Hess & Eisenhardt, which served as vehicular ambassadors for the US. The first two cars built were earmarked to serve the transportation needs of Mrs. Ford, in addition to Ford executives and White House guests. The third car, designated 297-X by the Secret Service, was designed purposely for Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy, and became affectionately known as the First Lady’s “Bubbletop” Limousine (incidentally, RM had the privilege of offering 297-X at their January 2005 Arizona sale). Today, 232 and 297-X are the sole survivors of the important trio.

The 1962 Lincoln offered here entered service in August 1962 as a Ford Motor Company executive livery car based in New York City. As evidence of its important role, the car originally came equipped with presidential amenities including a rear centre armrest telephone, front/rear seat partition with division glass, front chromed flag stanchions and the all-important flashing red headlamps.

The significance of the 232 is in its participation in one of the most historical eras of the 20th century. In his third and final year in office, Kennedy announced the Cuban missile crisis was over and turned the nation’s attention to the new frontiers of outer space. Along the way, this car often carried Kennedy and visiting dignitaries to several historic speaking engagements, delivering his message of hope and prosperity to fellow Americans and the rest of the world. Most significantly, the car was summoned by the Secret Service on November 15, 1963, for an important goodwill mission to New York City. Kennedy attended two conferences that day in this very car – the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) and Catholic Youth Organization (CYO). Tragically, this would be his last trip to New York City and his last words to labor. Seven days later, Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas riding in another Hess & Eisenhardt built limousine – the X-100.

In addition to President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, the distinguished 232 has carried numerous other notable passengers, including President Lyndon B. Johnson, Prince Ranier and Princess Grace of Monaco, Chief Justice E. Warren, Lee Iacocca and the families of Eleanor and Henry Ford II. Following the JFK years, the car went onto service the White House through the Johnson administration, before being returned to the Ford Motor Company in 1974. It has been held in private ownership ever since.

Given Kennedy’s short time in office, very few Kennedy cars – in particular those that have been well-documented – exist. With both the 297-X and X-100 in museums, the sale of the 232 presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own a piece of JFK motoring history.

In addition to the distinguished 232, other notable consignments set to cross the block at RM’s Arizona sale include:

– A luxurious 1929 Duesenberg Model J Dual Cowl Phaeton by LeBaron. – An elegant 1917 Pierce-Arrow Model 48B Series 4 Four-Passenger Touring Car, formerly belonging to lyricist of the patriotic “Yankee Doodle Dandy” tune, George Cohan. – A 1941 Chrysler Thunderbolt concept car by LeBaron, America’s first electrically operated, retractable hardtop. – And three unique “custom” cars built by some of today’s premier hot rod builders.

RM’s “Automobiles of Arizona” event – formerly known as “Vintage Motor Cars of Arizona” – will be held at the luxurious Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa, 24th Street & Missouri, Phoenix, Arizona on January 18, 2008. An auction preview will be held January 17, 2008 from 9am to 6pm. The auction will take place between 10am to 6pm on January 18.

Admission to the auction is by catalog only, which admits both the catalog holder and a guest. The full-color collectable catalog is available for $80 U.S. (plus shipping), by calling (800)-211-4371 or visiting www.rmauctions.com.

About RM Auctions Inc. Celebrating nearly three decades in the collector car industry, RM Auctions, Inc. and its sister companies are responsible for acquisition, restoration and sales of the world’s rarest and most valuable vintage automobiles including Best of Show winning cars at the prestigious Pebble Beach, Amelia Island and Meadow Brook Concours. For additional information on RM Auction events, please call (800) 211-4371 or visit www.rmauctions.com

Top