SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The Barrett-Jackson Auction Co. will sell one of the most historically significant vehicles in U.S. history at its 40th Annual Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction, Jan. 17-23, at WestWorld of Scottsdale. The 1963 Pontiac Bonneville ambulance (Lot #1277), which will sell at no reserve, carried John F. Kennedy’s casket from Air Force One, after his assassination in Dallas.
“Not only did the ambulance transport JFK following his untimely death, it’s one of the finest examples of an un-restored ambulance from that time period,” stated Steve Davis, president of Barrett-Jackson. “It’s also, without a doubt, one of the most significant and historical vehicles ever offered for sale.”
The ambulance met Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base in Washington, D.C., following the 35th president’s assassination. It transported President Kennedy’s flag-draped casket, his wife, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and his brother, Robert F. Kennedy, the former U.S. Attorney General, from Andrews to Bethesda Naval Hospital and later to the U.S. Capitol.
The grey ambulance, model 6-3-207G, was built in June 1963. Of 69 ambulances, only 15 were contracted for military use, including Lot #1277. Its U.S. Navy data plate registration number is 94-49196 and shows its assignment to Bethesda Naval Hospital. Following its naval service, the vehicle was retired and sold as surplus.
The ambulance survived nearly four decades in its original, un-restored condition, until it landed in the hands of its current owner a year ago. The consignor was seeking a World War II ambulance when a friend mentioned a more recent ambulance that belonged to a collector in California. Intrigued by the '60s vehicle, he bought it for his collection.
The vehicle was shown at the 2010 Military Vehicle Preservation Association National Convention where it won the Gold Award and has appeared in many publications, including “Supply Line” magazine. It’s currently featured on the Pontiac Online website. It was also documented by the Pontiac Historical Society (PHS).
“The ambulance is not just a historical vehicle, it represents one of most significant moments in the 20th century,” added Davis. “Most Americans remember when and where they were when they heard the tragic news of JFK’s assassination. His death was a turning point and those of us who watched it on TV or witnessed it firsthand were affected. It will be an honor to have a vehicle cross our block that once transported one of our most celebrated presidents in U.S. history.”
The vehicle, as well as the consignor, will be making their first appearance at WestWorld of Scottsdale. For additional information about the ambulance, as well as photos and a video, visit PontiacsOnline.com.
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.
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