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Lyndon B. Johnson’s Presidential Lincoln Continental Limo

Kamil Kaluski January 19, 2012 Cars You Should Know, Featured 31 Comments

If you’ve ever wondered where the typical American stretch limousine got its start, wonder no more. One of the earliest and best known design and conversion companies was Lehmann-Peterson, named after George Lehmann and Robert Peterson. Their Chicago-based company worked closely with Lincoln between 1962 and 1970 to develop some of the most iconic stretch limousines of all time, such as this 1965 Lincoln Continental used by President Lyndon B. Johnson.

This vehicle has an interesting story to it. Originally it was said to have been used by the government, and it may have been used by LBJ. Because of its unknown past the current owner purchased it from a collector for the going price of clean factory original Continental. However, further research indicated that this was in fact LBJ’s limo, even if used briefly.

Inside is a Lehmann-Peterson dashboard plaque which indicates that this vehicle was expressly made for LBJ. In the rear compartment, where typical Cabinet members would have a walnut case for a TV, this Continental has a pop-up bar, which still has the original glassware. Further, there is a radio-telephone with clearly marked White House extensions. If that was not enough, inside was an invitation and schedule for LBJ’s inaugural events. Unfortunately, I was unaware of those details when I photographed the car, so those are missing from my pictures. My camera was also acting up, and despite my use of an external flash, the interior shots are so-so at best.

Lehmann-Peterson’s modification consisted of cutting a factory Conti in half and adding 34-inches in between the doors, a modest stretch by today’s standards. Despite not being armored, thicker body panels were used for increased strength. The doors sure felt solid, and closed with a firm-yet-quiet single click. Overtime the vehicle was repainted, probably to repair the minor scuffs and scratches from parades, but the body is rather flawless. The window tint and the 90’s Sony radio were probably installed later on in the vehicle’s life, and I if it was my car I’d do my best to remove them in order to bring back its originality.

A new factory Lincoln Continental in 1965 was about $6,500. A Lehmann-Peterson Continental such as this could cost more than $16,000. With only 36,000 miles on the odometer, the 430 V8 is still as healthy as ever. The 22-foot long vehicle is remarkably stiff and generally rattle free, to which anyone who has been in a modern day limousine will say that “they sure don’t make ‘em like they use to”

 

  • So where is this thing located? Looks to be in some sort of museum/showroom.

  • OA5599

    Are you saying the inaugural invitation was proof it was LBJ's? I think he wouldn't have needed an invitation, and that wasn't the car he rode in during the parade.

    <img src="http://cdn.dispatchpressimages.com/static.dpi/catalog/4c6a928759a60976253554.jpg&quot; width=500>

    Or maybe there were several of them sent to DC all "made for LBJ", the way car companies make way more pace cars than are actually used in Indy. It makes you feel a little extra special when you ride in one.

    It isn't surprising this limo is stiff and rattle-free. Don't forget the same chassis was used for the convertible limos, so I imagine a roof ties it together even more.

  • 98horn

    One of LBJ's limos used to be on display at the University of Texas, in his presidential library.

    • OA5599
      • I won't argue, you make good points. I wrote the article based on the information I was provided with.

        • OA5599

          Ever since the Reagan administration, the Secret Service has shredded retired limos for security purposes, so the supply of these is quite limited. It seems suspicious that the prior owner didn't know its history as Presidential transportation and let it go at average prom limo pricing because he failed to notice a "Made for LBJ" plaque or that the oval office was on speed dial on the phone.

          Certainly LBJ rode in several different limos during his time in office (the one in his library was built near the end of his term, as I recall), and this could very well have been one of them, but the story smells fishy and the owner stands to profit if untrue and believed.

        • 98horn

          I don't think the LBJ library limo was the only one. I remember some reference about it being a limo he used for a limited period of time or for a particular purpose. I did not mean it as a comment on the authenticity of the limo in the article. In fact, I believe there to be multiple limos used during the LBJ presidency

  • C³-Cool Cadillac Cat

    Now I want a 1996 Fleetwood brougham six-door all that much more.

  • Yet another limo used by LBJ, and JFK. I saw it when I went to Vegas last November, at the Imperial Palace Car Collection. It's an imposing car, to say the least, when you're standing there looking at it in person. http://autocollections.com/index.cfm?id=4252&amp;…
    Oh, and the Air Force One that they both used is at the Pima Air Museum in Tucson.
    <img src="http://www.pimaair.org/images/collection/Douglas_VC-188A_Liftmaster_MG_8950_b.jpg"&gt;

    • MrHowser

      Are you allowed to go in it? I remember seeing it there, but it wasn't open. Maybe it was cleaning day.

      • Yeah, you sure can. You go in the front, and out the back, you can see the stairs. You walk right down the aisle. Everything's walled off with plexiglas, but everything's viewable, including the head. Yeah, you can see where JFK and LBJ took a dump. Gives you a real sense of history.

  • Darren

    From my research there were around 15 Lehmann-Peterson Executive Limousines of this type supplied to the White House. One that was definitely used by LBJ is in the Historic Auto Attractions museum in Roscoe, IL. This car has a blue plaid interior at the request of LBJ himself.

    I own a very similar Continental that was used by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara:
    <img src="http://www.cunninghamclassiccars.co.uk/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/img21.jpg&quot; />

  • I'd just like to point out the contrast between the contents of this post and the next.

    Who wouldn't take the Lincoln?

    • MrHowser

      I have no need for a Lincoln limo, but make it a standard car, and Glucks can keep the Bentley.

    • Me, I'd take the Lincoln. Hands down.

  • MrHowser

    <img src="http://hooniverse.com/wp-content/gallery/lbj-limo/lincoln-continental-presidential-limo-lyndon-johnson-20.jpg"width=500&gt;

    In my opinion, this is the best angle for this generation of Continental.

  • Actually great collection at all because it is providing a lot of information about the Presidential Lincoln Continental Limo which I was looking forward to know. A big thank for posting this collection in this website at all. Take it up and inform like this…

  • slobi

    is it for sale ?

  • CSM

    That contemporary Sony headunit is very, very disappointing.