Lyndon B. Johnson's Presidential Lincoln Continental Limo

[singlepic id=3298 w=720 h=700 float=left] 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. [singlepic id=3301 w=720 h=700 float=left] 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. [singlepic id=3302 w=720 h=700 float=left] [singlepic id=3287 w=720 h=700 float=left] [singlepic id=3295 w=720 h=700 float=left] 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” [slideshow id=121] [nggallery id=121]  

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