A Car Fit for a President

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After Giuseppe Zangara attempted to assassinate Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lincoln was asked to build the first customized presidential state car, and they delivered the "Sunshine Special."


It was based on five pages of specifications given to Lincoln by the Secret Service. It was a Series K convertible with security features such as armor plating, bulletproof glass and tires, and a special two-way radio. 

After 11 years of service, the "Sunshine Special" retired in 1950 and was replaced by a Cosmopolitan. It too was specially fitted for the then president, Harry S. Truman. 

The presidential Cosmopolitan went to the next level. It was adorned with gold-plated passenger compartment accessories, a built-in humidor, and even writing sets. Truman's limo was a part of a fleet of nine cars, all of which included special elongated seven-passenger bodies mounted on a reinforced Cosmopolitan frame. 

Nearly every American president has ridden in a Lincoln since 1923, making it truly an iconic car. 

To learn more about this luxury brand, view the Lincoln Custom Gallery, which takes you through the company's fascinating history to its present day innovations. 

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Truman rides a specially fitted 1950 Lincoln Cosmopolitan

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From the publisher

Jay Lauf is a 23-year veteran of the publishing industry with stints on both the editorial and business sides at newspapers, trade and consumer magazines, and websites. Prior to joining The Atlantic in 2008 as VP/Publisher, he was the publisher of Wired magazine.

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