Because average Americans aren’t the only ones who love cars, here are a few Commanders-in-Chiefs who had a major dose of #CarLove. And it’s just in time for the State of the Union…
While we believe that George Washington, an accomplished horseman, would’ve had a really cool car had they existed during his lifetime, the first president to take a spin was William McKinley. Our 25th president rode in a “Stanley Steamer,” appropriately named after its inventors (the brothers, Francis and Freelan Stanley) and its mode of power (a steam-engine). But pretty soon, gas-powered cars replaced steam-power on roads everywhere.
Theodore Roosevelt took things further than McKinley. While TR preferred four legs to four wheels, he was still the first to ride in a car in his official capacity as president. That happened when he visited Hartford, Connecticut in 1902 and toured the city from a Victoria automobile.
William Howard Taft should be remembered for at least two things. First of all, he’s the last sitting president to sport a mustache. Secondly, and arguably more importantly, Taft moved the nation’s highest office into the technological age when he scrapped the White House horse stable in favor of cars.
While presidents rode in cars over the next few decades, it took another Roosevelt for things to get more official. In 1939, during Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s administration, the first car specifically built for the Commander-in-Chief rolled off the assembly line and onto Pennsylvania Avenue. It was a Lincoln V12 convertible, dubbed the “Sunshine Special.” Since then, presidential state cars have been a staple of motorcades, official visits and are nearly as recognizable as the oval office itself.
Interestingly, President Obama’s car marks a big difference between what presidents have ridden in for years. Unlike previous Cadillacs, his “Ground Force One” is a large, armored bus. The motorcade has evolved too. Today, between ten to forty vehicles can flank the presidential state car. Wow. Talk about an entourage!
What do you think about the President’s car? Is it time they switched to something a little greener? Tell us!