Friday, December 12, 2003

Ohio moments


JFK's limousine was repaired after death

On Dec. 12, 1963, the Lincoln Continental in which John F. Kennedy was riding when he was assassinated arrived back in Blue Ash.

Hess & Eisenhardt, which had modified the 1961 limousine for use as the presidential parade car, would repair and re-customize it at a cost of more than $500,000. Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon would later ride in parades in the now heavily armored car, and it would remain part of the presidential fleet until 1977.

Cincinnatians Willard C. Hess and Charles A. Eisenhardt began customizing presidential cars during the Truman administration. In 1961, the firm was asked to customize Kennedy's Lincoln convertible. Gadgets such as a hydraulically raised seat that provided a better view of the president were added, at a cost of $200,000.

Eisenhardt went to Washington three days after JFK's Nov. 22, 1963, death in Dallas. He served on a panel charged with designing a new parade car. Instead, members decided to improve the Lincoln.

Rebecca Goodman

E-mail rgoodman@enquirer.com or call (513) 768-8361




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