A PLACE IN THE HISTORY BOOKS

 A 1963 Pontiac Ambulance with a solemn role in US History

by Bob Wicker                                                                                                                                       Photos by owner John Jensen

 

 

UPDATE:

Since we first published this article, this ambulance received quite a bit of international press prior to its sale at the Barret-Jackson Scottsdale auction In January 2011. The car actually sold twice during that auction and is now owned by a museum in Colorado. Along with the publicity, came much controversy regarding this car. It is now widely believed that this is not the ambulance that carried John Kennedy's body. More can be read about this subject here:

http://www.professionalcarsociety.org/forums/showthread.php?t=4201

 

 

When considering what makes a certain car truly historic, factors such as rarity, performance and popularity are usually considered. But what makes a single vehicle a true part of history, such that it gets recorded and photographed and becomes part of an event that people remember? In the case of John Jensen's 1963 Superior Pontiac Ambulance, it was the car's call to duty on November 22, 1963, that got it recorded in the history books. On that day, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. The same day, his body was flown to Andrews Air Force base near Washington D.C. aboard Air Force One. Once at Andrews, this Pontiac Ambulance transported the President's body to Bethesda Naval Hospital for an autopsy.

 

In the photos below, the ambulance can be seen at Andrews Air Force Base on November 22, 1963

ready to transport President Kennedy's body from Air Force One to the Bethesda Naval Hospital.

 

   

 

Video footage taken that evening can be seen by clicking the link below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A87rZYADjlQ&feature=related

 

This Bonneville was converted to an ambulance in Superior's Mississippi plant on June 6, 1963. It is a model 6-3-207G which is the high headroom ambulance. There were a total of 69 of this series (206 and 207) built, 15 of which were under military contract. The original navy data plate on the dash shows it's US Navy registration as 94-49196. After November 22, 1963. It continued in Navy service and was eventually sold as surplus.

The ambulance has survived all these years in very nice original, unrestored condition. It currently wears only 38,000 miles. John purchased the car about a year ago from a collector. He showed this unique piece of history at the 2010 Military Vehicle Collector Association Convention and won the Gold Award. So, this humble, gray 1963 Pontiac Ambulance continues to earn "A Place in the History Books".

 

 

To learn more about Pontiac Professional Cars (limousines, ambulances and hearses), click on our article HERE

 

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