The funeral of Kim Jong-il made for a big story internationally, but in true Autoblog fashion, we were just as interested in the classic cars that figured prominently in the procession. Of particular interest was a 1970s Lincoln limousine that carried the deceased leader's casket – but not because it was some sort of rare classic that would fetch millions at Barrett Jackson.

Instead, many wondered how the North Koreans managed to obtain the vehicle in the first place. After all, the U.S. and North Korea aren't exactly cozy, as evidenced by the 58-year old armistice that is still in effect. Was it a Russian ride that was converted to look like a Lincoln? Was it a genuine Lincoln smuggled into the country?

The good folks at TheDetroitBureau.com did some digging, and they think they've found the answer. TDB contacted the former head of Ford of Japan to ask how the vehicle could have ended up in North Korean possession, and the answer could stem from a rogue dealer from Japan. Their source claims that one or more Japanese Ford dealers was rumored to be shipping vehicles to North Korea, in spite of Japanese laws that forbid exports to the communist country.

There is no way of knowing if this educated guess is the definitive explanation of how Kim Jong-il's Lincoln ended up in North Korea, but it's certainly as as good as any we have heard.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 45 Comments
      DavidB
      • 3 Years Ago
      The Korean Lincolns have mirrors mounted on the front fenders. Isn't that a Japanese-market peculiarity? This lends support to the Japan route theory.
      ScottK
      • 3 Years Ago
      his last, in your face. nice to see he has some taste, those are fine , well kept rides.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        illankid
        • 3 Years Ago
        it has worked for china
        Chris
        • 3 Years Ago
        This is somewhat incorrect. Embargoes tend to increase prices - the North Koreans are likely already paying many times the going rate you or I would pay for these items. Eliminating luxury item embargoes would probably just lower the prices. This could be compared to drugs in the United States. The real problem are those selling the embargoed/illegal items, and unless you can punish them, the flow will continue, albeit at prices which reflect the scarcity of the items.
      throwback
      • 3 Years Ago
      I wish someone would ask Biil Ford what he thought of the "dear leader" riding downtown on a Lincoln?
      Mike
      • 3 Years Ago
      I don't know if anyone noticed but the South Korean Delegation rolled up in brand new Hyundai Equus sedans. I'm sure the North Korean leadership just loved that.
      Wissam
      • 3 Years Ago
      Using those Lincolns was, in a way, a great compliment to the US by North Korea.
      Dennis Baskov
      • 3 Years Ago
      I think the biggest question would be, why did they/he picked a car that comes from a country that is their number 2 enemy?
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        Dipstick!
        • 3 Years Ago
        NoKor? Fo' real? Are they going to execute you if you spell out N-o-r-t-h-K-o-r-e-a?
      Skean
      • 3 Years Ago
      All that thing is missing is EAT ME painted on the sides.
      artandcolour2010
      • 3 Years Ago
      I"m pretty sure Nixon sent some Lincolns over to China in '73 or '73 after his groundbreaking first visit there. At first I thought the Chinese "regifted" them to North Korea when they were done, but then I realized that the cars used in the funeral were later than that, '74s or '75s, too new for the Nixon cars. Could be a "rogue" Japanese dealer.
      TangoR34
      • 3 Years Ago
      My guess is export to China then N.Korea since they have a close relationship. But then the question would be, why not get one straight from China instead.
      haji
      • 3 Years Ago
      As mentioned in the article the car is a JDM. (you could distinguish from the unique fender mounted rearview mirrors) And most probably it's a stolen vehicle smuggled.
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