SPRINGFIELD >> Jim Warlick of North Carolina is an avid collector of John F. Kennedy mementos. As a youngster, he started collecting Kennedy items. He won the auction to own the Lincoln Continental white convertible that President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, his wife Jackie and former Texas Gov. John Connally rode in before the fatal day in Dallas when Kennedy was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963.
He was amazed at his luck.
“When they gave it to me, I had cold chills. When I won the auction I couldn’t believe it, to win the last car he was in alive. When he got out of this car, it would be the last time he would ever get out of a car. I am so proud to have it,” said Warlick.
The white 1963 Lincoln Continental was used to transport the Kennedys and Connally from a breakfast and speech at the Hotel Texas ballroom through the streets of Fort Worth to Carswell Air Force Base, where they boarded their short flight to Dallas on the morning of Nov. 22, 1963. Many photos show the Kennedys in the car, Jackie dressed in her pink Chanel suit and pillbox hat, driving through Fort Worth and arriving at the base.
Warlick received the car in October 2013 but has shared the car with many through the American Presidential Experience. The car traveled to Fort Worth during the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination.
It is being housed at Springfield Ford on Baltimore Pike until July 20. After, it will be on display at the Democratic Convention’s Political Fest along with other presidential items. The Political Fest is a one-of-a-kind festival celebrating political history, government and the road to the White House. It will include multi-media and interactive displays, historical objects and special guest appearances. The Political Fest is geared towards children as well as adults. Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and the chairman of the Democratic Convention will cut the ribbon on July 22. The Political Fest runs through July 27.
America Presidential Experience is a traveling presentation of exhibits that brings to life the American presidency.
There will be an actual Boeing 707 fuselage replica of the Air Force One from Ronald Reagan presidency, a replica of the White House’s Oval office, Kennedy memorabilia, and 12 replica gowns from the First Ladies including Jackie Kennedy and Nancy Reagan.
Warlick believes that the car belongs to Americans and wants to offer ownership to 1,000 people at the convention. The car has the original seats and key. It was restored by Lincoln specialist Baker Restoration of Putnam, Connecticut.
Buyers will receive a certificate which gives then title, a plaque, a key to open the car and a color photo. It will always be housed in the museum in Las Vegas and travel as part of the American Presidential Experience but gives other Americans a chance to own a part of history. “We all own American history,” said Warlick.
For now, Delco residents are getting a taste of history right in their own backyard. Steve Amabile, general manager at Springfield Ford, was born after John F. Kennedy’s reign as president but is impressed by the display of the Lincoln Continental at his dealership.
“It’s pretty awesome. It’s a part of history right here, realizing that they sat in that same seat,” he said as he pointed to the photograph on display. “That’s them in the car.
“A little eerie, too,” he admits.
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