A rare piece of Americana goes on sale this month, when one of the vehicles that carried the body of President John F. Kennedy after his assassination hits the block at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction, which begins on January 17.
The 1963 Pontiac Bonneville ambulance was used to collect the president’s flag-draped coffin from Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland upon its return from Dallas. Kennedy’s wife, Jackie, and his brother Robert accompanied the president’s body as it was transported to Bethesda Naval Hospital for an autopsy.
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After the car was retired from service, it was sold as surplus and held by a single owner until it was sold again last year. The ambulance remains in its original condition, complete with U.S. Naval livery, a battleship gray paint job and a simple interior fitted with a stretcher, jump seats and two oxygen tanks. It was one of 15 similar vehicles purchased by the U.S. military in 1963.
The ambulance is being sold without reserve and, given the unique history of the car, it is hard to estimate its value. One of the Lincoln limousines used at the Kennedy White House was sold at the RM auctions this past August in Pebble Beach, California for $390,000. The vehicle that Kennedy was riding in when he was shot is on display at The Henry Ford museum in Michigan.