Famous cars of the presidents
Every four years, the United States holds an election for a new president, and that means candidates hit their respective campaign trails in an effort to win favor with voters.
Being POTUS, of course, means you give up the ability to drive yourself anywhere, per Secret Service rules. That means riding along while another professionally trained driver gets you where you need to go. In Donald Trump's case, that may even mean hitting the banked asphalt at the Daytona 500.
Trump is known to own a collection of luxury and performance cars, including a 2003 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, a 1956 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud, a Tesla Roadster and a 2011 Chevy Camaro Indy 500 pace car.
Interested in finding out what past U.S. presidents drove? Click on the image above for more.
Joe Biden's 1967 Chevrolet Corvette
Democrat nominee Joe Biden owns a green 1967 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, a wedding gift from his father. As you can watch here, he did a burnout in it with Jay Leno riding shotgun and in the same episode who run a drag race with Colin Powell. In 2010, he told workers at a Jeep plant in Toledo, Ohio, that he had had a Jeep parked in his driveway continuously since 1973.
Biden’s father was a car dealer — “Mostly GM,” he told Car and Driver in 2011. Joe Biden is also known as “Amtrak Joe” because of his penchant for riding the Acela line from his home in Delaware to Washington during his more than three decades in the Senate.
“We can take millions of vehicles off the road if we had high-speed rail,” he said in a CNN town hall event last year. "I’ve been a champion of that for the last 25 years. We know the corridors where we could do that.”
Biden has also expressed support for putting more electric vehicles on the road. “We have to take combustion engine vehicles off the road as rapidly as we can,” he said in the same CNN appearance. “But that also can create a significant number of jobs and opportunities for people.”
In case you were wondering, Biden does not own a vintage Pontiac Trans Am with a massive Flaming Chicken hood decal.
These days, the President of the United States of America is ferried around in a 20,000-pound armored Cadillac known as “The Beast.”
Though it wears the styling of a Cadillac, it is in fact a unique vehicle. The bespoke stretched limo is built atop a heavy-duty truck platform and can seat seven, and reportedly has the ability to dispatch tear gas and lay an oil slick (!) to deter nefarious pursuants. It reportedly cost almost $1.5 million but was part of a $15.8 million government contract.
Barack Obama's Chrysler 300C and Ford Escape Hybrid
Before he was elected president, Barack Obama owned a Chrysler 300C with a Hemi V8 engine. Later, he traded that for a Ford Escape Hybrid that he drove while campaigning for president. Obama's Chrysler was put up for auction on eBay with a whopping one million dollar asking price on January 30, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois.
George Bush's Ford trucks
Former President George W. Bush (R) and First Lady Laura Bush (L) are seen here driving on their sprawling ranch in Texas. As befitting such a location, the vehicle Bush chooses to call his own is a fullsize pickup truck, specifically a white Ford F-Series.
Bill Clinton's 1967 Ford Mustang Convertible
Bill Clinton's younger brother Roger first owned this 1967 Ford Mustang before his older, somewhat more famous brother, parked it in his own driveway.
It's not often that a US President is allowed to drive himself anywhere, so we're sure there was plenty of security around Clinton as he helped celebrate the Mustang's 30th Anniversary in 1994. He reportedly drove it a total of 250 feet.
Ronald Reagan's Subaru Brat
According to rumors and reports, former US President Ronald Reagan drove this exact red Subaru Brat around his own personal ranch in California.
In a strange bit of history, Reagan apparently used the vehicle at the behest of Subaru, giving regular performance reviews to the Japanese automaker about how well the car operated when used as a real working truck.
The Subaru Brat was recently restored.
Lyndon B Johnson's Amphicar
LBJ earns the distinction of having the strangest car on this list. It's called an Amphicar, and, as you can see, it can drive on land or float on the water. In a bit of truth-being-stranger-than-fiction lore, we'll let Joseph A. Califano, Jr, a former US Secretaru of Health, Education, and Welfare, explain this one:
"The President, with Vicky McCammon in the seat alongside him and me in the back,was now driving around in a small blue car with the top down. We reached a steep incline at the edge of the lake and the car started rolling rapidly toward the water. The President shouted, "The brakes don’t work! The brakes won’t hold! We’re going in! We’re going under!" The car splashed into the water. I started to get out. Just then the car leveled and I realized we were in a Amphicar. The President laughed. As we putted along the lake then (and throughout the evening), he teased me. "Vicky, did you see what Joe did? He didn’t give a damn about his President. He just wanted to save his own skin and get out of the car." Then he’d roar."
The presidential limousine in which President John F Kennedy was shot
The presidential limousine in which President John F Kennedy was shot, seen here, is on permanent display at The Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn, Detroit, Michigan.
The car started life as a 1961 Lincoln Continental four-door convertible, but it was modified for presidential use and renamed X-100 by the Secret Service. Surprisingly, the car was not retired after JFK's death, instead being further modified and re-used by Presidents Johnson, Nixon, Ford and Carter before being decommissioned in 1977.
Harry Truman's Chryslers
Harry Truman, the 33rd President of the United States, was a life-long Chrysler buyer and driver. Two of his first cars, both white Chryslers from 1941, are on display at the Truman Presidential Library near Kansas City.
Perhaps more interesting, though, is what Truman drove after his presidency. Naturally, it was a Chrysler, which he purchased brand new in 1953. But the strange part is that he drove it himself, embarking on a road trip from Washington to his home near Kansas City, with his wife in the passenger seat. That's something we'll never see happen again...
Let's go one step older, shall we?
William McKinley's Stanley Steamer
Gasoline wasn't always the only way to get around. In fact, William McKinley, the 25th President, was the first in history to ride in an automobile.
The car? A Stanley Steamer. As its name implies, this was a car powered by steam, and, by all historical accounts, quite an advanced and performance-minded machine in its day.