This 1964 Lincoln Continental convertible was bought new by President Lyndon B. Johnson in the early years of his presidency and used for his transportation, it was based on his ranch in Stonewall, Texas.
LBJ was well-known for his love of cars and his love of a good joke, he also kept an Amphicar on his ranch – he loved getting guests into the amphibious car for a “tour” and then feigning brake failure while driving the Amphicar into his lake as his passengers screamed for their lives.
Fast Facts – The LBJ 1964 Lincoln Continental
- This 1964 Lincoln Continental was bought new by Lyndon B. Johnson through his company, The LBJ Co., for his own personal use. It was based on his beloved ranch in Stonewall, Texas.
- Lyndon B. Johnson was the 36th President of the United States, he served between 1963 and 1969, in-between the presidencies of John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon.
- This car is powered by the 430 cubic inch V8 which is paired with a dual-range 3-speed automatic transmission. It has a power-operated soft top, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, air conditioning, vacuum-operated door locks, and an AM/FM radio.
- The Continental is now for sale out of Carrollton, Texas, and it’s accompanied by a history file including original documentation and images of LBJ himself driving the car.
The Fourth Generation Lincoln Continental
The Lincoln Continental was developed starting in 1938 as a personal luxury car for Ford Motor Company President Edsel Ford using the design of the streamlined Lincoln-Zephyr as its starting point. He took the car on his 1939 vacation and the interest from his wealthy friends so was significant he messaged back to Ford headquarters saying that he could sell thousands of them.
The Lincoln Continental officially entered production as a personal luxury car in 1939, not long after the outbreak of WWII in Europe, and it would set the standard for the Continental model family that would be followed for decades to come.
The Continental would essentially become the American answer to Rolls-Royce, countless celebrities owned them over the years including Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, Elvis Presley, James Brown, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and of course, Lyndon B. Johnson.
The fourth generation model would appear in 1961, it was available as both a four-door sedan or four-door convertible (until 1966). The styling had been significantly updated and the size of the body was reduced somewhat, though it still remained larger than its competitors.
Over the course of the 1961 to 1969 production run the fourth generation Continental would be offered with V8s ranging in size from 430 cubic inches, to 460, and up to 462. All had three-speed automatic transmissions, and they were all built with unibody chassis and a slew of luxury refinements.
The model would become best-known as the car John F. Kennedy was riding in when he was assassinated on November 22nd, 1963 – it was specially modified limousine version built by Hess & Eisenhardt of Cincinnati, Ohio.
The LBJ Lincoln Continental Shown Here
As noted in the introduction the car you see here is the 1964 Lincoln Continental convertible that was owned by LBJ through his own company, and it was assigned to him for his personal use out of his Texas ranch.
He made good use of the car, and of the Secret Service agents who followed his every step who he was known to occasionally treat as bartenders:
“In the early afternoon, the President, with me next to him in the front seat, took his white Lincoln convertible, top down, for a drive around the ranch. It was incredibly hot; the dust clouds made it hard to breathe. But there was relief. As we drove around we were followed by a car and a station wagon with Secret Service agents.”
“The President drank Cutty Sark scotch and soda out of a large white plastic foam cup. Periodically, Johnson would slow down and hold his left arm outside the car, shaking the cup and ice. A Secret Service agent would run up to the car, take the cup and go back to the station wagon. There another agent would refill it with ice, scotch, and soda as the first agent trotted behind the wagon. Then the first agent would run the refilled cup up to LBJ’s outstretched and waiting hand, as the President’s car moved slowly along.” – Special Assistant to President Johnson, Joseph A. Califano, Jr.
The car is finished in Arctic White over beige leather upholstery and it has a power-operated convertible soft top, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, air conditioning, vacuum-operated door locks, rear-hinged rear doors, and an AM/FM radio.
It was refurbished in the early 2000s and it’s accompanied by a folder of paperwork proving its provenance. The car is currently being offered for sale out of Carrollton, Texas on Bring a Trailer and you can visit the listing here if you’d like to read more about it or register to bid.
Images courtesy of Bring a Trailer, header inset image courtesy of Arnold Newman, White House Press Office (WHPO).
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