U.S. History. Movie history. The ultimate Cadillac parade car. You won’t find a more majestic, attention-grabbing, and glamorous way to motor.
When Oliver Stone filmed the movie “JFK” in 1991 starring Kevin Costner, he needed to recreate the White House presidential parade car, “The Queen Mary.” The Queen Mary was a 1956 Cadillac Fleetwood 75, SS-678-X Presidential Parade Car, in use by the Secret Service during the Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson presidencies. It was directly behind the president’s 1961 Lincoln that fateful day in Dallas.
The Queen Mary was one of two White House limos built by Hess and Eisenhardt of Cincinnati, Ohio. They were based on a Cadillac commercial chassis with a wheelbase of 158 inches. At 21 feet long, they weighed 7,000 pounds and came with pistol holders, an extra-large siren, and oscillating light and run flat tires. They reportedly could reach speeds up to 115 miles an hour, powered by Cadillac’s famous 365 inch, 305 horsepower V-8 engine. Both Queens were retired from public service in 1968.
Although this is a reproduction of the original Queen Mary II, (whose twin sold a few years ago in excess of $750,000), it is an extremely close approximation of the White House car. The Cadillac is equipped with running boards and chromed grab handles for the Secret Service, a working over-large siren, flashing red emergency light, and flag standards. The chrome flag staffs are incredibly stout and can withstand speeds in excess of 40 mph while carrying a flag. The flags themselves are perfect. Unlike most historical vehicles which carry two American flags, this car comes with the authentic Presidential Standard, which is impossible for civilians to buy today.
This movie car, being as such, does not have a working convertible top or side windows. Otherwise, it is a fully-functioning automobile. Purists will note a few additional slight differences with the White House car: slightly oversized grab handles, whitewall tires, rear fender skirts, different running board treatment, etc. Yet to the vast majority of collectors and the public, the car is nearly identical to the original (and vastly less expensive). Moreover, the quality the conversion is very good. You’ll find no jagged metal or simple hatchet work. As befitting a major motion picture, all the modifications are neat, workmanlike, and professional. The car, originally a Series 75 closed limousine, was professionally braced to become a convertible. It has the sturdiness and assuring solidity of a proper convertible.
Performance-wise, this Cadillac is a dream to drive. She starts easily and has loads of power for her girth. The power steering is effortless. The massive brakes, all recently refurbished (including a newly restored Tredlevac system) stop the car quickly and without drama. The clock and radio do not function, but all other electrics work as prescribed. The siren lets out a massive wail, and the red light flashes pleasingly. This Cadillac will be the star of any parade or motorcade.
New chrome bumpers, trim, and goddess hood ornament are likewise graced with new gold emblems front and rear. The paint is good driver quality–not perfect. It does have many small blemishes, blisters (and two dings) which are hard to capture on film. The car is rust free and the undercarriage is very, very nice. The entire interior has been redone in the past 50 miles with new upholstery and carpet. The jump seats have also been reupholstered.
The Queen Mary: movie car, White House history, and ultimate parade car. It’s ready to haul dignitaries, newlyweds, or simply to take the whole family (with seating for eight) down to the ice cream shop.