Tuesday, January 25, 2011

$132,000 for JFK Ambulances

The 1963 Pontiac Bonneville Ambulance
One of the historic cars and is a "piece of U.S. history", The 1963 Pontiac Bonneville ambulance That purportedly carried President John F. Kennedy's body after his assassination, purchased by a collector for $ 132,000 at auction.
The U.S. Navy ambulance featured in iconic photos taken on the night of Nov. 22, 1963, showing the newly widowed first lady, Jackie Kennedy, looking dazed and with her husband's blood still on her dress. She stood next to the car, holding her brother-in-law Robert F. Kennedy's hand, as they watched the dead president's casket being loaded into the ambulance.

The Barrett-Jackson auction house put the car up for sale over the weekend, advertising it as the same one in the photos. The ambulance met Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington on that night nearly 50 years ago. It ferried JFK's flag-draped casket to Bethesda Naval Hospital for his autopsy and later to the U.S. Capitol, where the slain president's body lay in state.

But doubts have cropped up over whether the car could be a fake. The website Jalopnik.com has published findings from historians who say the real ambulance was crushed for scrap metal in 1986.

Auto enthusiast Addison Brown, who bought the gray retro ambulance at a car auction in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Saturday, said she's convinced the vehicle is authentic and feels fortunate to own a "piece of history."

"[There is] absolutely no doubt in my mind," Brown told Reuters. "If they couldn't find a flaw, nobody will," she said, referring to the auction house's assurances that it verified the car's authenticity.

Brown said she would keep the car in her own collection for now, but may eventually offer it to the Smithsonian Institution. "It belongs somewhere people can see it and experience it," she said.

The head of the Barrett-Jackson auction house, Steve Davis, said he's not surprised that questions have swirled around the JFK ambulance.

"Almost everything surrounding the Kennedy assassination is shrouded in controversy, and there are conspiracy theories everywhere," Davis told The New York Times. "It's not surprising that there is disagreement here."

A regular 1963 Pontiac ambulance is worth only about $10,000, McKeel Hagerty, who specializes in insuring classic cars, told Forbes magazine. So the JFK ambulance's sale price indicates that even though there are questions about its authenticity, even possible connections to the Kennedy legacy still make it valuable.

Whether or not the ambulance is the exact car that ferried JFK's body, it fetched a much higher price than another Kennedy-related vehicle that went up for auction recently. Last summer, a Checker Marathon taxi believed to have been Lee Harvey Oswald's getaway car sold for $35,750, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Original Sources : http://www.aolnews.com/2011/01/25/john-f-kennedys-ambulance-sells-for-132-000-at-auction/
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