In 1901 President William McKinley took a short ride in a Stanley Steamer. He was the first sitting President to utilize an automobile but certainly not the last. Automobiles soon became an integral part of presidential travel. Although Theodore Roosevelt continued to use a horse-and-buggy to protect his “image as a rough-riding horseman,” the secret service shortly began to use automobiles following behind the carriages for protection.
During President William Howard Taft’s time in office, he converted the stables into garages and purchased four automobiles for presidential use including the Pierce-Arrow pictured below.
Presidents continued to use consumer vehicles for travel until the attack on Pearl Harbor. At this point it was determined that presidential cars needed defense features such as bullet proof glass, flat proof inner tubes, and a compartment for machine guns. Up until 1961 Presidents enjoyed a lot of fresh air. Franklin D. Roosevelt especial enjoyed his convertible Lincoln which was dubbed the [...]