It is Election Eve 2016 here in America, and the world awaits anxiously to see how this unprecedented election turns out. Here at The Garage, we don’t discuss politics, we discuss cars. In the interest of some badly needed levity, I was inspired by a post from Autoblog that brings up some fun facts about past Presidents and their cars.
Being President of the United States of America is a job I would never want, and one of those reasons is that you don’t get to drive. But before, and after office, when the Presidential limo is passed onto another Commander in Chief, they do in fact drive. So step away from that 24 hours news channel and have a look at the brief, but interesting gallery!
William McKinley holds the distinction of being the first US President to ever drive a car-in this case, a Stanley Steamer. This anomaly of the Brass Age of the automobile, this steam powered car is best known today as one of Jay Leno’s personal favorite cars.
Harry Truman was a life long Chrysler owner. To most members of Generation X and Millenials, this may sound unremarkable as Chrysler works on their identity. But back in Truman’s day, Chrysler was considered to be at the forefront of automotive innovation and engineering. In car circles, Truman would have been considered quite an appreciator of fine automobiles.
Speaking of Chrysler. While an Illinois Senator, Obama owned a Chrysler 300C, the broad shouldered, HEMI powered luxury sedan. While still a Senator, Obama sold his 300C and replaced it with a Ford Escape Hybrid, I’m guessing to appear ‘greener’ with his eye on the Presidency. But as gearheads I think we can all agree this is a far cooler ride.
Biden is Vice President, but he deserves a place in our gallery. That’s his 1967 Chevy Corvette, which he has owned since new. While technically not allowed, Biden has driven his car more than anyone holding his office-three times in eight years. His last spin was with Jay Leno, on a private road course. And yes, he smoked the tires. Another rule about this office? Once he leaves Washington, Biden is required to wait six months before he can drive his baby again.
One of the most popular cars of the mid 1960’s. Clinton owns a 1965 Ford Mustang convertible. While in office, Clinton did actually drive his car. Once. For 250′ in a parade.
George W. Bush
Of all the Presidents in our gallery, Bush is a split personality. When running for office, in office, and after office, Bush has carefully crafted an image of a modern Texan cowboy. And at his Texas ranch, he drives a Ford F-150.
Bush was born in New Haven, Connecticut. He vacations in Kennebunkport, Maine. He went to Yale University. And while at Yale, Bush drove a Triumph TR-4. Connecticut is a ‘blue’ state-in other words, mostly Democrat. As a Republican, Bush did everything he could to distance himself from his past.
Lyndon B. Johnson
LBJ wins the award for quirkiest car. The Amphicar was an odd little German creation built in the 1960’s. It was a car you drove on the road, and as you can see, straight into the water. Jack of all trades and master of none, the Amphicar, however, was both a lousy car, and a lousy boat. But people love them anyway.
Surprise! You would never believe it but it’s true. The Gipper drove a Subaru BRAT at his California ranch.