Above Photo: This White House Lincoln Continental Limousine was delivered to President Johnson in October, 1968 and continued to serve Presidents Nixon, Ford, and Carter. It was retired from White House service in April, 1978.
White House Lincoln becomes a new California Landmark at Nixon Library
Originally published in the November-December 1996 issue of Continental Comments (Issue # 213).
The Richard Nixon Lincoln which carried the 37th President to Russia and China, came home to him in Yorba Linda, California on August 26. It will now stand in the Nixon Library & Birthplace as a symbol of power and peace. Actually, this late 1967 model with a ‘69 grille also served Presidents Johnson, Ford and Carter, but it is for Nixon’s administration that it is best remembered.
A ceremony installing this Lincoln in the Library was attended by LCOC Vice President Elect Cal Beauregard who was instrumental in getting the limo out of storage and into the Library, and by former LCOC President Walt Rhea. Several years ago, Beauregard drove the limo to an Eastern National Meet in Delroy, Ohio with former LCOC President L. Dale Schaffer in the President’s seat.
The Presidential limo had a busy trip across the country from Michigan to California, making its second to last stop at the Republican National Convention in San Diego where it was inspected by Bob Dole. The vehicle was then driven by the Secret Service accompanied by police motorcycle escorts to the front steps of the Nixon Library and the keys were given to the Library by Peter J. Pestillo, Ford’s Executive Vice President of Corporate relations.
It carried President Nixon 50,000 miles. It was a world symbol of U.S. strength and leadership for a decade. Now the Presidential Limousine most associated with Nixon, Watergate and historic peace negotiations, comes to rest in Yorba Linda.
“This is a genuine piece of U.S. history and a very impressive symbol of the American Presidency, having transported four First Families, plus countless heads of states, consular members and other dignitaries— including Pope Paul VI,” said John H. Taylor, Executive Director of the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace Foundation in Yorba Linda, California.
After a widely attended public ceremony, the limo is now on display at the library as part of Nixon’s impressive life in politics.
The Presidential Limo was retired in 1978 during the Carter Administration and returned to Ford for storage and occasional display. Earlier this year, the Ford Motor Company decided to restore the car and donate it to the Nixon Library.
During its 10 years of service, this historic Lincoln went all over the world—32 countries in all.
It carries more than 4,000 pounds of armor plating, has bulletproof glass and a bubble top that is said to be thicker than the protective cockpit of an F-16 fighter plane. It was the first Presidential limousine built from the ground up after the Kennedy assassination in a 1961 Lincoln Presidential limousine. The Ford Motor Company spent an estimated half-a-million-dollars to built it, then leased it to the White House for a dollar-a-year. The vehicle will remain on display in the garden next to Nixon’s boyhood home until a permanent indoor location is chosen.