A sober icon of American history drives up to the auction block in January. A collector with the right bid will be able to drive home in the hearse that carried the body of John F. Kennedy to Love Field following his assassination in Dallas in 1963.
A grim ride
Bids will be taken on the 1964 Cadillac hearse by Barrett-Jackson, the prestigious auto auction house, in January. First Lady Jackie Kennedy rode in the hearse with her husband’s remains as they were transferred from Parkland Memorial Hospital to Love Field, where Air Force One waited to fly them back to Washington, D.C.
Originally a showpiece
The hearse was originally created by the Miller Meteor Company to be a funeral director’s convention showpiece. It was then sold to the O’Neal Funeral Home in Dallas only a month before the Kennedy assassination.
Barrett-Jackson president Steve Davis said:
“The eyes of the world were on this car on that unforgettable day in American history It’s one of the most significant and historical vehicles ever offered for sale.”
History of the hearse
After its famous, somber drive the hearse remained in service at the funeral home until the late ‘sixties, when it was bought by an employee of the funeral home, Arrdeen Vaughan. He kept the car for more than 40 years. It eventually was sold to another private party, who is auctioning off the grim vehicle.
The 1963 Pontiac Bonneville ambulance that carried the fatally-wounded president to the hospital was also auctioned off by Barrett-Jackson last year. The ambulance still sold for $120,000. That auction raised some controversy as to the authenticity of the vehicle.
There seems to be no such dispute with the hearse, however.
The 1961 Lincoln Continental limousine that Kennedy was riding in when he was shot was impounded as evidence immediately following the assassination. Later, it was extensively bolstered for security and served as a presidential limo until it was retired in 1977.
It now is on permanent display in the Henry Ford Museum, located in Dearborn, Mich.
The 41st Annual Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction, happens from Jan. 15 to Jan. 22 in Scottsdale, Arizona