As long as there has been presidents there has been cars driven by presidents. Okay, this actually only goes as far back to 1909 and the notable William Taft. Little trivia fact about our first presidential driver, Taft was also our fattest president. If Taft were around today by no means could you stuff his fat presidential rear-end into a smart Car.
Though Taft liked to consume mass amounts of food, don’t think he was not fuel-efficient. The roly-poly president had four official presidential limos: a White Steamer, a battery-powered Baker Electric, and two Pierce-Arrows. More than any other White House resident, Taft was the most Green in the automotive respect.
It doesn’t stop there. Here are a few more notable presidential cars driven by our country’s leaders.
1) Though Teddy Roosevelt had a Columbia Electric Victoria as a presidential ride (he too was very Green mind you), what stands out about Roosevelt’s automotive experience is on October 14, 1912, while on a campaign stop he became the first president/candidate to be shot in their car. Bleeding from the chest, Teddy continued to campaign giving a robust 90-minute speech. The bullet was never removed from his body.
2) Speaking of Roosevelt, Franklin Delano drove a beaut: 1939 Packard 12. The V-12 engine was especially smooth and provided a good ride at the time. When Roosevelt became afflicted with polio, his official presidential limo become a Ford equipped with hand controls so he could drive despite his affliction. Franklin would deliver speeches from his touring car and drive up to meet voters rather than use a wheelchair.
3) The Pope-mobile is nothing new, Dwight D. Eisenhower was the first president install a Plexiglas bubble on the roof of his presidential 1939 Lincoln “Sunshine Special” limo. Here comes the Dwight-mobile.
4) JFK’s Lincoln Continental was a James Bond, tricked-out, gadget-laden vehicle. It had removable roof panels. The back seat could be raised more than 10 inches. The car also had a two-way radio and telephone. Kennedy also had a T-Bird Convertible that was also the 1961 Indianapolis 500 pace car. In the end, JFK really should’ve stayed away from the convertibles.
5) Ronald Reagan mostly rode in a limo, but to go along with his movie buckaroo image he also drove around in a 1952 Army Jeep! Noted as a collectible, the Jeep was a gift from his wife Nancy.
6) Swinging Bill Clinton owned a1967 Mustang Convertible —a car that really gets the ladies! Clinton was quoted as saying that the Mustang car was the hardest thing to leave behind when he moved to the White House.
7) Which brings us to our new leader, Barack Obama. Nearly 100 years after Taft tooled around in an electric car, Obama has once again got the fuel-efficient thing down, trading in his Chrysler 300C for a Ford Escape Hybrid. Go Obama, and lead America to a new fuel-efficient frontier.