U.S. Presidents and their cars

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U.S. Presidents and their cars | ClassicCars.com Journal

Regardless of your political leanings, you can admit that the president travels in style.

That’s partly out of necessity since being president is a 24-hour job, but we assume it’s also a perk that comes with being the leader of a nation of car lovers.

Roughly half of the Presidents of the United States missed the invention of the automobile, so we’ll never know if Lincoln preferred Lincolns, but we do know which presidents shared a passion for vehicles with performance, style and luxury.

Bill Clinton – 1969 Mustang

Bill Clinton was considered by many to be the first “cool president,” in the modern sense. His preference for Mustangs couldn’t have hurt that image.

Lyndon B. Johnson – 1961 Amphicar

Lyndon B. Johnson was as a known practical joker, and one of his favorite tricks was feigning panic as he drove his Amphicar and its unsuspecting passengers into a lake.

John F. Kennedy – 1961 Thunderbird Convertible

The Kennedy name is commonly associated with style and luxury, and JFK’s Thunderbird is certainly a testament to that.

Ronald Reagan – 1952 Army Jeep

A landmark president deserves a landmark vehicle.

Dwight Eisenhower – 1950 Lincoln Cosmopolitan

Ever the politician, “Ike” chose the Lincoln Cosmopolitan as a way of getting back at GM for denying him a car during his 1948 campaign.

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Richard Nixon – 1950 Oldsmobile 98

Nixon claimed to be a typical, middle-class male, and his Oldsmobile 98 was likely a strategic choice to support that image. Does that make him a crook?

Harry S. Truman – 1946 Ford Deluxe

Truman rang in a new era with his Ford Super Deluxe. His “Production 1” vehicle was literally the first new car produced after WWII.

Which “car guy” presidents did we miss?

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19 COMMENTS

  1. Are these the actual cars that the Presidents drove? I don’t think so. Truman was a Chrysler fan. What a lousy article, just filling space..

  2. 46 not 49 Ford Club Cpe !
    We had a black ’50 Olds 98 back in the early 1950s, great car.
    And in ’62, I got a ride into the water at So Cal’s Hansen Dam. Interesting.
    Thanks for this.

  3. A couple of comments. JFK never had a 61 Thunderbird, at least not as his personal car. He drove a 61 Lincoln Continental four-door convertible and had a preference for those cars. Likewise LBJ had a series of Lincoln four-door convertible’s with skid plates so he could drive them around his ranch without tearing up the underside.

  4. I always heard tell that FDR was a big fan of Packard. He was pleased to have the State of New York or the U.S. Government (which often leased White House cars from the manufacturer at very low rates) supply him/his office with grand automobiles in the many, many years he was Governor of New York and then President of the United States. He preferred a huge four-door convertible "limousine" with jump seats for extra passengers, and Packard continued to supply those to him even after they were no longer "production" models after the mid-1930’s. When he vacationed at Warm Springs GA to ease his crippled legs,, I believe that he owned and drove a Ford convertible specially outfitted with hand controls instead of foot pedals.

  5. Biden does have a ‘vette, Obama had a Lexus SUV. George 41 liked to drive the Suburbans with the black windows.
    No mention of FDR, Hoover, Taft etc.
    This wasn’t much of a story

  6. Car shown for Truman is not a 49 ford – looks like a 1948. You guys are supposed to be experts. How could you possibly confuse 48 and 49 ford. In 49 ford completely changed the body style.. by the way 49’s were pretty bad mechanically – I owned one and it was broken more times than it ran.

  7. Clinton had a 1967 Mustang, not a 69. Reagan did own a an early Jeep CJ, but it was not a military spec model as the article claims. I believe Taft was the first president to be given an Official car to use during his term. I thought I read somewhere that Trump owned a Ferrari before entering the White House, and was recently sold at auction. I could be wrong…

  8. Please! What relevance is there to inserting a "crook" comment about Nixon? The writer could have included a snide remark about Clinton’s philandering (e.g. "Wonder if that back seat got a lot of use." If the writer wanted to be even-handed. Enough already!

  9. Pres. Woodrow Wilson needs to be included. He dearly loved his Pierce-Arrow Model 51 Vestibule Suburban. Truly, one of America’s finest cars, this model had all the dignity and grandeur of the office itself. He often rode in it to relieve the stress of W W I and courted his second wife in it. He enjoyed this car so much that his friends bought it for him when he left office and he prized it the rest of his life. Upon his death, his wife donated the vehicle to the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library Museum where it remains on display today in running and pristine condition.

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