2020 Bonhams New York (JFK Lincolns Announcement)

Bonhams announced two Lincoln Continental cars associated with President John F Kennedy (JFK) for the Presidential Experience Auction in New York in October 2020.

JFK 1963 Lincoln Continental Convertible Sedan and Air Force One on offer at Bonhams New York 2020
© Bonhams

Two historically important Lincoln limousines that carried President John F. Kennedy are to be offered in the Bonhams American Presidential Experience Auction in New York on Wednesday, October 14, 2020. The sale includes a white 1963 Lincoln Continental Convertible “Limo One”, estimate $300,000 – 500,000, and a 1960 Lincoln Continental Mark V Executive Limousine, estimate $200,000 – 300,000. Further items associated with the office of the president of the United States are included in the sale.

JFK Limousines at Bonhams New York 2020

Two limousines associated with President John F Kennedy are offered at the Bonhams New York auction from the American Presidential Experience Collection. This traveling educational exhibition has toured the USA for more than 20 years. It was founded by entrepreneur Jim Warlick who turned a childhood hobby of collecting political memorabilia – including a bronze bust of John F. Kennedy – into a business, and then an unrivaled museum exhibition of Presidential memorabilia. 

1963 Lincoln Continental Convertible “Limo One”
© Bonhams

1963 Lincoln Continental Convertible “Limo One”

The white 1963 Lincoln Continental Convertible “Limo One”, estimate $300,000 – 500,000, was the final automobile to safely carry the President on the morning of November 22, 1963, in Fort Worth.

Numerous photographs show the President, the First Lady and Texas Governor John Connally being driven past waving crowds in the white Lincoln, which took them from a breakfast at the Hotel Texas Ballroom in Fort Worth, where Kennedy delivered his last speech, to Carswell Air Force Base where they boarded their flight to Dallas. 

The Lincoln was loaned by Bill Golightly, of Golightly Auto Sales, as an official vehicle denoted as “Fort Worth Limo” for the Kennedys’ time in Fort Worth, late day on November 21 and in the morning of November 22, 1963. 

The limousine has had its engine replaced and body and paintwork restored, but most of the interior, including the red leather seats, is original. It is offered as a collectible and thus not necessarily roadworthy.

1960 Lincoln Continental Mark V Executive Limousine
© Bonhams

1960 Lincoln Continental Mark V Executive Limousine

The black 1960 Lincoln Continental Mark V Executive Limousine, estimate $200,000 – 300,000, was used by President Kennedy for personal journeys around the White House and Washington. 

Customized by Hess and Eisenhardt for Lincoln, the Continental Mark V was truly fit for a President, featuring bulletproof doors, divider window, passenger air controls, power steering and brakes, and (uncommon for the period) two-way telephone in the back seat.

Leased to the White House for $500 a year from Ford, the limousine was used for the president’s personal journeys in Washington, DC, then returned to the public market through secondary dealerships, following President Johnson’s decision to replace the White House cars. 

The Lincoln was purchased in March of 1964 by Dr. James C. Walsh, who had known the late president and who confirmed in a letter that “He [President Kennedy] did use this car for his own personal uses in contrast to the official use of the larger White House limousine.” 

Much of the body has been restored, to the tune of approximately $35,000, however, the interior remains in its original condition, with beige leather seats, matching carpeting, and the aforementioned telephone. This car is also sold as a collectible and not as a registered roadworthy vehicle.

American Presidential Experience Collection at Bonhams New York

The Oval Office is a full-scale facsimile of the Oval Office
© Bonhams

Two further items offered from the American Presidential Experience Collection are replicas of two of the most recognized symbols of the American Presidency: the Oval Office and Air Force One

A Replica of the Kennedy-era Air Force One, estimate $200,000 – 300,000, is an exhibition quality full-scale Boeing 707 fuselage retrofitted as a replica of SAM 26000, John F. Kennedy’s Air Force One, which was the first jet engine to be fitted as a Presidential plane.

The replica includes the full cockpit, crew officers’ workstations, the stateroom where Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as President, and the President’s quarters. It recreates in minute detail the original designs by Raymond Loewy, who created the distinct blue livery which has been used for all Air Force One airplanes since. 

The Oval Office, estimate $40,000 – 60,000, is a full-scale facsimile of the Oval Office, one of the most famous rooms in the world, complete with wooden panels, a fireplace, and furniture including a scale fine wood reproduction of the Resolute Desk where the President conducts his business and gives presidential addresses to the nation. This replica has been used as a set for television programs such as The Today Show and Saturday Night Live

John F. Kennedy’s Air Force One Bomber Jacket

Warlick’s collection will be complemented by other fascinating artifacts in the Bonhams auction, including John F. Kennedy’s Air Force One Bomber Jacket Given to David Powers, estimate $200,000 – 300,000.

An original U.S. Government issue G-1 flight jacket, with a sewn patch of the Seal of the President of the United States over the right breast, which was originally owned by President John F. Kennedy and gifted to David Powers circa 1962-1963. 

Officially known as the President’s ‘Special Assistant’, Powers was a close friend of President Kennedy and often referred to by White House colleagues as “John’s other wife.”

After President Kennedy’s death, Bobby Kennedy appointed Powers as the shepherd of the Kennedy legacy and first curator of the JFK museum when a nascent collection traveled the world in 1965 until his retirement from the JFK Library in 1994.

Bonhams American Presidential Experience Auction

The Bonhams American Presidential Sale will be a live and online auction, on October 14, 2020, with a live auctioneer on the rostrum at the Bonhams New York saleroom in Madison Avenue. 

The sale will be live-streamed to a worldwide audience of bidders, via the Bonhams website, with bids accepted via telephone, online, and by absentee bids, in accordance with current local guidelines regarding COVID-19. 

The Kennedy limousines are available to view at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum, Philadelphia, Friday 9 October through Sunday 11 October, thereafter by appointment only at Motor Car Manor, Ramsey, New Jersey.