Kim Jong-Il funeral procession

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.