People can decide for themselves whether it is in good taste – a classic can't help its past after all – but a bidding frenzy is expected at Scottsdale in January when Barrett-Jackson sells the 1964 Cadillac Hearse used to transport President John F Kennedy’s body to Air Force One following his assassination in Dallas.
The vehicle will be sold in 21 January at Barrett-Jackson's 41st Scottsdale extravaganza, a year after the same company auctioned the ambulance reputed to have carried JFK's body from Air Force One to the Bethesda Naval Hospital.
Boss Craig Jackson said: "It's an honour to be able to offer a vehicle of this stature. 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 eyes of the world were on this car on that unforgettable day in American history," added Steve Davis, president of Barrett-Jackson. "It's one of the most significant and historical vehicles ever offered for sale."
Some details from B-J:
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, DC.
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.