William Howard Taft was the first president to completely ditch carriages for cars with the purchase of his White Motor Company Model M. The 40-horsepower 7-seater was the first Presidential State Car.
Packard Twin Six (President Warren Harding)
Warren Harding was the first president to take a car to his inauguration. His ride of choice was a Packard Twin-Six.
1929 Cadillac (President Calvin Coolidge)
Woodrow Wilson was one of the first presidents to ride in a Cadillac in 1918. Later, Calvin Coolidge was transported in a 1928 Cadillac Town Car.
Cadillac "Queen Mary"
Equipped with a full ammunition arsenal, two way radios, and heavy duty generators, a pair of 1938 Cadillacs christened the "Queen Mary" and "Queen Elizabeth" served Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and Dwight Eisenhower.
1939 Lincoln V12 "Sunshine Special" (President Franklin D. Roosevelt)
FDR's "Sunshine Special" Lincoln V12 featured a siren, 2-way radio, extra-wide running boards, and grab handles for Secret Service agents and was the first car built specifically for presidential use.
1928 Cadillac "Al Capone" Town Sedan (President Franklin D. Roosevelt)
After the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt made use of a heavily armored Cadillac that was originally owned by gangster Al Capone until the Sunshine Special could be modified with armor plating, bulletproof glass, and sub-machine gun storage.
1949 Lincoln Cosmopolitan (President Harry Truman)
The 1950 Lincoln Cosmopolitan was the vehicle of choice for President Harry Truman who commissioned a pair in 1950. These vehicles would go on to serve Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson, and John F. Kennedy.
1961 Lincoln Continental SS-100-X (John F. Kennedy)
However, the vehicle that is most closely associated with JFK is the custom 1961 Lincoln Continental convertible, dubbed SS-100-X, in which he was assassinated.
Lincoln Continental Executive
After the assassination of Kennedy, we don't see too many more presidential convertibles. The SS-100-X underwent a number of modifications, getting a glass roof for President Johnson and ultimately a full metal roof with a small sunroof for President Richard Nixon to stand out of.
1972 Lincoln Continental custom (President Richard Nixon)
President Nixon ordered a 1972 Continental limousine. The vehicle featured armor plating, bulletproof glass, and 7.5-liter V-8 engine. This was the same vehicle that President Ronald Reagan was entering in 1981 when an assassination attempt was made.
1983 Cadillac Fleetwood (President Ronald Reagan)
In 1983, Reagan received a Cadillac Fleetwood limousine. The tall greenhouse was wrapped, of course, in bulletproof glass.
1993 Presidential Series Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham (President Bill Clinton)
When President William J. Clinton took office in 1993, he brought with him a custom Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham that was powered by a 7.4-liter V-8 from a Chevrolet heavy duty pickup truck. The vehicle featured the standard armor and bulletproof glass, but did not have a sunroof or running boards for increased safety.
2001 Cadillac DeVille (President George W. Bush)
In 2001, the Bush administration took delivery of an armored Cadillac DeVille...
2005 Cadillac DTS Limousine (President George W. Bush)
During his next term, President George W. Bush ordered a 2005 Cadillac DTS custom. This vehicle featured all-wheel drive and is still used as an alternate presidential vehicle.
"Cadillac One" (President Barack Obama)
The 2009 Cadillac Presidential Limousine is the first State Car to not be based on a specific mass-produced model. President Barack Obama's method of conveyance features the chassis and powertrain of a GMC Topkick commercial truck and a variety of Cadillac stying and body components. Of course, there's about 5-inched of armor plating between the Commander-in-Chief and any would be danger.
Antuan Goodwin gained most of his automotive knowledge the old fashioned way, by turning wrenches in a driveway and picking up speeding tickets. From drivetrain tech and performance to car audio installs and cabin tech, if it's on wheels, Antuan is knowledgeable. Email Antuan, follow him on Twitter, or like him on Facebook.