Built as a showpiece for a funeral director's convention that took place just before the assassination, it was bought by a Dallas funeral home when the convention ended. The very next month it was put to a use no one could have expected. It has has just three owners, and will be up for auction at the 41st Annual Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction, Jan. 15-22, at WestWorld of Scottsdale, Arizona. Follow the jump for a fuller history of the car.
Scottsdale, Ariz. – Dec. 16, 2011 –Barrett-Jackson Auction Company, host of "The World's Greatest Collector Car Auctions™", will sell another piece of John F. Kennedy history at its 41st Annual Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction, Jan. 15-22, at WestWorld of Scottsdale.
On Saturday, Jan. 21, Barrett-Jackson will sell the 1964 Cadillac Hearse (Lot #1293) used to transport President John F. Kennedy's body to Air Force One following his assassination in Dallas. The sale of this piece of history from that fateful day follows the 2011 sale of an ambulance used to transport John. F. Kennedy's body from Air Force One to the Bethesda Naval Hospital. The ambulance sold amid worldwide attention, despite unproven claims that the ambulance was another naval ambulance.
"It's an honor to be able to offer a vehicle of this stature," said Chairman and CEO Craig Jackson. "While its duty was solemn, it was also extremely important and played a crucial role in transporting the president so he could be laid to rest."
The hearse is chassis 64Z000050, which was mated to body #64001. It was built by the Miller-Meteor Company in time for display at the National Funeral Home Directors Association Convention that took place in Dallas in October, 1963. At the close of the trade show, the hearse was purchased by the O'Neal Funeral Home in Dallas. A few weeks later on Nov. 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was mortally wounded and taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead. The O'Neal Funeral Home was summoned to supply the finest casket it had available, as well as an appropriate conveyance.
The hearse then made the historic trip carrying the President's body as well as the First Lady from Parkland Memorial Hospital to Love Field, where Air Force One was waiting to transport the casket to Washington, D.C.
"The eyes of the world were on this car on that unforgettable day in American history," said Steve Davis, president of Barrett-Jackson. "It's one of the most significant and historical vehicles ever offered for sale."
While the controversy surrounding the assassination of President Kennedy and the handling of the investigation has persisted since those dark days of late 1963, the O'Neal Funeral Home retained the hearse until the late 1960s when it was purchased by Arrdeen Vaughan, who is believed to have been an employee of O'Neal Funeral Home. Vaughan owned the car for more than four decades until it was sold privately to its current, third owner. As a hearse distributor and early collector, Vaughan is responsible for the preservation of this incredible piece of history.
Barrett-Jackson is currently accepting bidder applications. For more information on how to own this piece of American history, please visit www.barrett-jackson.com/bid.
About The Barrett-Jackson Auction Company
Established in 1971 and headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz., Barrett-Jackson specializes in providing products and services to classic and collector car owners, astute collectors and automotive enthusiasts around the world. The company produces the "World's Greatest Collector Car Events™" in Scottsdale, Palm Beach, Fla. and Las Vegas. For more information about Barrett-Jackson, visit www.barrett-jackson.com or call (480) 421-6694.