John F. Kennedy 1964 Cadillac hearse to cross Barrett-Jackson auction block

Last year, a Pontiac professional car said to have transported President John F. Kennedy’s body from Air Force One to the Bethesda Naval Hospital after he was shot in Dallas was auctioned off at Barrett-Jackson‘s 2011 Scottsdale Auction. This year, the auction company has ascended the General Motors ladder to a Cadillac for its 41st annual sale, this example the Miller-Meteor 1964 hearse that transported the fallen JFK’s body to Air Force One.

The hearse will be offered on Saturday, Jan. 21, during the company’s sale from Jan. 15-22 at WestWorld of Scottsdale. This particular car was previously featured in Old Cars Weekly. Read about it here.

“It’s an honor to be able to offer a vehicle of this stature,” said Chairman and CEO Craig Jackson.  “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.”

According to Barrett-Jackson, the hearse is chassis 64Z000050, which was mated to body #64001. It was built by the Miller-Meteor Co. 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, D.C.

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.

Barrett-Jackson is currently accepting bidder applications. For more information on how to own this piece of American history, please visit www.barrett-jackson.com/bid.

Related resources

Read about similar Cadillac Fleetwood Series 75 limousines in this book

1964 Cadillacs were at the end of an era. Read about fins in the book Cadillac: The Tailfin Years

Read about funeral cars in the book Funeral Service and Flower Cars

 

 

3 thoughts on “John F. Kennedy 1964 Cadillac hearse to cross Barrett-Jackson auction block

  1. Paul

    This is the real car, however, when it was restored, many of the original parts of the car were disposed of, and replaced with other than original types of materials. A good example is that the seats have been recovered, however, they didn’t sew them like the originals, nor did they maintain the original design. If you would like to learn more about this historic vehicle, go to http://professionalcarsociety.org , where there is an ongoing thread concerning the true facts surrounding the hearse.

  2. Magnum

    These historically important vehicles aside, it would be hard to find a more pampered and gently-used vehicle than a hearse. Image being important, many funeral homes trade for new cars every few years, and the old ones can usually be had at bargain prices. I’ve seen them converted to campers, tradesman’s carry-alls, daily drivers, etc. Years ago, I saw one in which a clever owner had managed to install Rolls Merlin, and create a real sleeper of a drag car. A local fraternity had one with an open coffin holding a very realistic ” maimed accident victim” dummy. It got a lot of attention when they’d casually leave it parked in public with the velvet curtains pulled back!

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