Jackie Kennedy's 1960 Ghia Imperial Limousine

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Jackie Kennedy attends an event at the National Gallery. Her distinctive 1960 Crown Imperial limousine by Ghia can be seen in the backgound (11 May 1962).

First Lady Jackie Kennedy attends the opening of the Tutankhamun exhibit, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC. Letitia Baldridge, Mrs. Kennedy's Social Secretary, is seen emerging from the limousine (3 November, 1961).

Jackie Kennedy is greeted by President Lyndon Johnson in front of St. Matthew's Cathedral before the funeral of President John F. Kennedy. Behind this poignant scene, one can see Mrs. Kennedy's 1960 Crown Imperial limousine by Ghia. Next to the Imperial is a 1963 Cadillac Series 75 limousine (24 November, 1963).

Jackie Kennedy leaving St. Matthew's Cathedral with Robert Kennedy after the funeral of President John F. Kennedy. Her personal 1960 Crown Imperial looks especially elegant when compared to the 1963 Cadillacs in the background (24 November, 1963).

Mrs. Kennedy walking up the steps of the Capitol during the funeral of President John F. Kennedy. Her beautiful 1960 Crown Imperial Limousine awaits her return. The riderless horse, Blackjack, can be seen in the foreground. Note the boots placed in the stirrups backwards, symbolic of a fallen warrior. Blackjack performed this duty for funerals of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Herbert Hoover and Lyndon Johnson (24 November, 1963).

Photographer, Abbie Rowe, National Park Service/John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library, Boston.
Special Thanks to Library Archivist Jim Hill.


For Mrs. Kennedy's use, the White House leased a 1960 black Crown Imperial Ghia limousine. Mrs. Kennedy was often photographed near this car. And it was, in fact, the lead limousine in President Kennedy's funeral procession.

Chrysler described these elegant vehicles in its advertising as follows:

"The styling theme of the Imperial line has been set against a background of sweeping length. Front end appearance is distinguished by a grille of unique texture, and refinement of detail has been executed in medallions, tail lights, and other ornamentation in keeping with the quiet dignity of this custom-crafted automobile.

The doors extend into the curve of the roof line and blend smoothly with its contour to add an original styling note and provide generous door openings for ease of entry and exit.

The distinctive stepped rear canopy is covered in black leather to match the black exterior paint on the limousine.

Two unique designs of interior trim arrangement have been specially created for the Crown Imperial Limousine. Available in either gray or beige, the designs are executed in the finest quality broadcloth. Glove grade milled leather, cabinet woods, and tastefully styled metal mouldings are used to accent the basic design. Sheared mouton carpeting in matching gray or beige covers the passenger compartment floor. Eight-passenger seating is provided by jump seats which fold flush with the compartment partition when not in use.

All chauffeur compartments are finished in narrow-piped black leather, and the floor is covered with fine nylon carpeting in matching black. Luggage compartments, too, are completely carpeted."

The car leased to the White House was uniquely fitted with a black interior exclusively for Mrs. Kennedy.



- - - UPDATE 2018 - - -

Chris in LA brings us this update:
From what I've read, the car hasn't been seen since the funeral. Since it was leased from Chrysler by the White House, it wasn't Jackie's per se, only used by her (and photographed quite a lot, thankfully) while JFK was in office. I've never seen any evidence it was later used by Lady Bird, so it seems the car was leased expressly for Mrs Kennedy.
Presumably it went back to Chrysler Corp., which means almost anything could have become of it, good or bad. But I like the idea that it's been secreted away and preserved (and not Tulsarama-style) somewhere since 1963 and that someday it will surface. :)

Joe Machado also has this update:
The car still exists and I almost bought it, back in the early to mid 80's from a Mr. Gleekley. He had the fins removed and 1967 Lincoln tail light trim added. He said he did not like the fins. Anyway, I have a Video I took of the car when I went to see it in Palm Springs. Then I found out it was at Moss Motors in San Bernardino, Calif. instead. I have not looked at the video since then... Now for the rest of the story... I last saw it at a Grubb Steaks Parade in Yucca Valley in about the early to mid 90's. It was done correctly. I do not remember the new owner. But it was saved.


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