Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Kennedy Presidential Limousine


What was the car's make and model?

The original car was a 1961 Lincoln Continental 4-door convertible.

Why was it called "X-100"?

X-100 was the code name given to the car by the Secret Service.

Who built the car?

Ford Motor Company assembled the car at its Lincoln plant in Wixom, Michigan in January 1961. Hess & Eisenhardt of Cincinnati, Ohio was responsible for customizing the car to function as a presidential parade limousine, literally cutting it in half, reinforcing it, extending it 3 ½feet in length, and making numerous other modifications. Ford Motor Company and Hess & Eisenhardt collaborated on engineering and styling. It debuted at the White House in June 1961. The car remained the property of the Ford Motor Company, which leased it to the Secret Service for the nominal price of $500 per year.

What did the car cost to build?

The car, as equipped at the Lincoln plant, would have retailed for $7,347. Custom built, the car cost nearly $200,000, according to Randy Mason ("The Saga of the 'X-100'").

What were some of the car's special features?

Special features on the 1961 limousine included:
  • Removable steel and transparent plastic roof panels
  • Hydraulic rear seat that could be raised 10½ " to elevate the president
  • Massive heating and air conditioning system with auxiliary blowers and 2 control panels
  • Dark blue broadcloth lap robes with gray plush lining and hand-embroidered presidential seals in special door pockets
  • Four retractable steps for Secret Service agents
  • Two steps on rear bumper for additional agents
  • Flashing red lights, siren
  • Blue Mouton rug in rear
  • Indicator lights when door was ajar or steps out
  • Two flagstaffs, two spotlights
  • Auxiliary jump seats for extra passengers
  • Two radio telephones
  • Interior floodlights
In 1963 the car's grille was replaced by one from a 1962 model and 'sombrero'-style wheel covers like those of the 1957 Lincoln Premiere were added. Trunk lid grab handles for Secret Service agents were affixed as well.

What happened to the car after President Kennedy's assassination?

The X-100 was impounded for evidence in the weeks following the assassination on November 22, 1963. Soon after plans were made to modify the car in Cincinnati, Ohio and then return it to Washington D.C.

What was "Project D-2" or the "Quick Fix"?

Following the assassination of President Kennedy, a committee was formed (originally comprised of thirty people) of six people representing the Secret Service, Army Materials Research Center, Hess & Eisenhardt and Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company. The White House approved a plan for a revamp of the X-100 around December 12, 1963. Work was completed May 1, 1964 and extensive testing was performed in Cincinnati, Ohio and Dearborn, Michigan before the car was delivered to the White House in June. Costs have been estimated to exceed $500,000 and were shared by Ford Motor Company, some Ford suppliers and the federal government.

Basic elements of the revamp included:
  • Complete re-armoring of rear passenger compartment
  • Addition of permanent non-removable top ("greenhouse") to accommodate transparent armor
  • Replacement of engine with hand-built, high compression unit, providing approximately 17 percent more power
  • Addition of second air conditioning unit in trunk
  • Addition of certain electronic communication devices
  • Reinforcement of some mechanical and structural components, e.g. front wheel spindles and door hinges, to accommodate additional weight
  • Complete re-trimming of rear compartment, eliminating damage resulting from the assassination
  • New paint treatment, "regal Presidential Blue Metallic with silver metallic flakes that glitter under bright lights and sunshine" (May 1, 1964 report by Willard C. Hess of Hess & Eisenhardt)
What was "Project R-2"?
The X-100 underwent major modifications again in January 1967. These were also completed by Hess & Eisenhardt and included:
  • Revision of air conditioning system for greater cooling capacity
  • Conversion of right rear door, which had been 1 13/16” bullet-proof glass, to drop-glass actuated by heavy duty power regulator assembly
  • Reinforcement of deck lid with fiberglass to accommodate additional weight
  • Stripping of entire car to bare metal in order to remove dents and repaint body
  • Minor changes, such as addition of roof mounted grab handles
In the following ten years, other minor modifications were made as well. Front bumper guards were added and their built-in red flasher lights were replaced with red lights in the grille. During President Nixon’s stay in office, the large one-piece glass roof was replaced with one with a smaller glass area and a hinged panel. This would permit the president to stand during parades.

When was the car retired?

Although other presidential parade cars were built in 1968 and 1972, it was used occasionally by Presidents Johnson, Nixon, Ford and Carter. The X-100 remained in service until early 1977. The car is now exhibited to the public at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.

Source:  thehenryford.org





The Hemp / Soybean Car

World's first plastic car

The Soybean car, more recently referred to as the Hemp body car, was a car build with agricultural plastic and was fueled with hemp combustible (oil or ethanol). Although the formula used to create the plasticized panels has been lost, it is conjectured that the first iteration of the body was made partially from soybeans and Hemp. The body was lighter and therefore more fuel efficient than a normal metal body.

It was made by Henry Ford's auto company in Dearborn, Michigan, and was introduced to public view on August 13, 1941.

Plastic car frame patent 2,269,452 (February 13, 1942)
Soybean car frame patent, Fig. 2


Henry Ford first put Eugene Turenne Gregorie of his design department in charge of manufacturing.

Ultimately he was not satisfied with the proposed project, and gave the project to the Soybean Laboratory in Greenfield Village. The person in charge there was Lowell Overly, who had a background in tool and die design. The finished prototype was exhibited in 1941 at the Dearborn Days festival in Dearborn, Michigan. It was also shown at the Michigan State Fair Grounds the same year.  Patent 2,269,452 for the chassis of the soybean car was issued January 13, 1942.

Because of World War II all US automobile production was curtailed considerably, and the plastic car experiment basically came to a halt. By the end of the war the plastic car idea went into oblivion. According to Lowell Overly, the prototype car was destroyed by Bob Gregorie.

Others argue that Ford invested millions of dollars into research to develop the plastic car to no avail. He proclaimed he would "grow automobiles from the soil" — however it never happened, even though he had over 12,000 acres of soybeans for experimentation. Some sources even say the Soybean Car wasn't made from soybeans at all — but of phenolic plastic, an extract of coal tar. One newspaper even reports that all of Ford's research only provided whipped cream as a final product.

Reasoning for a plastic car:

The Henry Ford Museum gives three reasons for Ford's decision to make a plastic automobile, the plastic car made from soybeans.
  1. Ford was looking to integrate industry with agriculture;
  2. Ford claimed that his plastic made these cars safer than normal metal cars;
  3. Ford wished to make his new plastic material a replacement for the metals used in normal cars. A side benefit would have been easing of the shortage of metal during World War II.

Car ingredients:

The frame of this automobile was made of tubular steel, to which were attached some fourteen plastic panels, said to be "only a quarter of an inch (6 mm) thick." The windows were made of acrylic sheets. All of this led to a reduction in weight from 2500 pounds for a typical car to 1900 pounds, a reduction in weight of about 25 per cent.

The exact ingredients of the plastic are not known since there were no records kept of the plastic itself. Speculation is that it was a combination of soybeans, wheat, hemp, flax and ramie. Lowell Overly, the person who had the most influence in creating the car, says it was "...soybean fiber in a phenolic resin with formaldehyde used in the impregnation."

Internet video:

A report circulating on the Internet shows a film from 1941 about the plastic car in the opening credits as being the plastic soybean car, but at the end part it shows images of Henry Ford striking a hammer or axe onto a trunk lid. It is not the Soybean Car he is hitting, but Ford's personal car with a plastic panel of the same material on the trunk, and the hammer had a rubber boot placed on the sharp end of the ax. When Jack Thompson, the narrator of the 1941 black & white film, stated in the introduction that this was the Soybean Car being shown he did not make it clear that the trunk Henry Ford was hitting with the tool at the end of the film was actually Ford's personal car made of the same plastic material—not the Soybean Car itself. Henry Ford was doing this demonstration to show the toughness of the plastic material. The demonstration was dramatic, since the tool rebounded with much force and a picture of this was shown worldwide.

External Links:

Ford, Henry; Gregorie, Eugene T. (January 13, 1942). "Patent 2,269,452, Automobile Chassis Construction". United States Patent Office.
Woodyard, Chris (June 29, 2010). "Mystery Car 40: Henry Ford's soybean car". USA TODAY. Retrieved October 20, 2012.
Davis, Josh (January 18, 2011). "Henry Ford’s Hemp Car Re-Examined". hemp.com. Retrieved October 19, 2012.
"Henry Ford and the soybean car". Bayblab October 29, 2012. July 24, 2007.
Benson Ford Research Center (2011). "Soybean Car". The Henry Ford. Retrieved October 20, 2012. including an extensive bibliography.


  1. "The first plastic car was manufactured by the Ford Motor Company, Dearborn, Mich., USA, in August 1941. Fourteen plastic panels were mounted on a tubular welded frame."
  2. "Fourteen plastic panels were mounted on a tubular welded frame."


  • "Why use up the forests which were centuries in the making and the mines which required ages to lay down, if we can get the equivalent of forest and mineral products in the annual growth of the (hemp) fields?"—Henry Ford 
Source: Wikipedia / Ford

Monday, August 18, 2014

A Load Of Ford Station Wagons

1955 Pre-Production Ford Thunderbird

Drivers Side Frontal View

Passenger Side View

Rear View Drivers Side

Friday, August 1, 2014

1955 Ford Fairlane Sunliner


1939 Ford Pickup

1960 Thunderbird

1960 Ford Country Squire

Thunderbird, Customized


1969 Ford Mustang Fastback

1969 Ford Mustang Fastback

1969 Ford Mustang Fastback

1950 Ford Coupe

1950 Ford Coupe

1950 Ford Coupe

1961 Ford Econoline

1961 Ford Econoline Pickup

1961 Ford Econoline Panel Van

1936 Ford Woodie Station Wagon

1965 Ford Galaxie 500


1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1


1939 Ford

Ford Mustang


1960 Ford Sunliner


1958 Ford Edsel Corsair Convertible


1958 Ford Country Squire


2012 Ford Mustang GT Blue Angels Edition

Ford BA Falcon


Ford Motor Company of Australia

Shelby Mustang GT500

Ford Mustang DUB Edition


2015 Ford Mustang Convertible

Passenger's View


Antique Ford Models

Model T on Aurora Bridge, Seattle

1929 Model A Ford Closed Cab Pickup

1956 Ford F-100 Pickup 

1940 Ford Deluxe Coupe Hot Rod 

1960 Edsel Ford 

1959 Edsel Ford 

1958 Edsel Ford 

1953 Ford FR100

1957 Ford Ranch Wagon

1951 Ford Woody 

Model A 

Ford Panel Van 

1930 Ford Tudor Model A 

1937 Ford Tudor Slantback 

1963 Ford Galaxie 500 

1954 Ford Pickup 

Model T Rail Car 

1920 Ford Model T 

Ford Truck  

1931 Ford Model A 

1950 Ford  Police Car

1942-1947 Ford Pickup 

1954 Ford Popular 

Model T Speedster 

1925 - First Ford manufactured at new Twin Cities Assembly Plant 

1936 Ford Phaeton 

1946 Ford Sportsman 

Ford Consul MK II 

Ford Car Hauler 

50's Ford Pickup 

Ford Model T Touring 

1935 Ford Tudor 

1934 Ford 3 Window Coupe 

1956 Ford Fairlane 

1948 Ford Anglia 

Ford Model A mail truck 

1946 Ford at DisneyMGM Studios, Florida