What happens to Presidential cars when they retire?


We all have probably heard about the level of safety of the Presidential vehicles of the United States of America. They are manufactured in such a way that they can tackle every dangerous situation, whether it is a bomb blast or direct bullet fires. For other countries, the Presidential cars are thrown in a junkyard to be scrapped for parts, or sold to a gearhead who can restore it. Most of the times they are cast aside and forgotten or they are placed in the museum. But what about the President of the USA’s vehicle? What happens to it when it gets retired?

Throughout the years, Presidential cars efficiency has been increased by engineers in terms of safety. The tradition of using a Presidential car came into existence when President Taft purchased four cars. Previously the Presidents were carried by horse-drawn carriages. They were vulnerable to bullets and explosives. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s car known as Sunshine Special was redesigned after the Pearl Harbor attacks in 1942 to include a bulletproof glass and armored plating. A slot was also built for a sub-machine gun inside it, for the purpose of defending the President.

As the innovation occurred throughout the years, the Presidential vehicles continued to evolve in security and safety as well as secrecy. The secret service works to ensure that very few people know about the actual capabilities of the presidential car. If a piece of delicate information was leaked, the vehicle would be vulnerable and it would be a very serious compromise in security. When a Presidential car is retired and would no longer be available for use, it is the duty of secret service to dispose of the vehicle properly.

Now coming towards the disposing of the vehicle. The vehicle is destroyed by shooting at it with high powered guns and blowing it up by using explosives so that the vehicle is properly obliterated and all of its secrets would be destroyed with it. Another purpose is also achieved by destroying the vehicle and that is to see how long the vehicle could stand against weapons. A report is made on it and the next vehicle is made stronger than the previous one with a variety of new technologies added.

Not every Presidential car’s fate was being blown up in the end, but some found themselves at the museum. John F. Kennedy’s 1961 Lincoln continental SS-100-X in which he was assassinated in, is kept in Henry Ford Museum (shown below) and Roosevelt’s Sunshine Special is in Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.

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Ahsan Ismail

I have been a PakWheeler for many years and I write about cars stuff as cars are my hobby.

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