Many U.S. presidents—Democrats and Republicans—have used customized Lincoln automobiles as presidential limousines. Interestingly, Lincoln's history as a presidential limousine came after the company was sold to Ford Motor Company by co-founder Henry Leland, who had named the company for a man he much admired, President Abraham Lincoln.
In 1924, two years after Ford Motor Company purchased Lincoln, the Lincoln Model L had the distinction of being the first car that was used by—and was a favorite of—a U.S. president: Calvin Coolidge.
Another Lincoln soon found its way to the White House following the retirement of the "Sunshine Special." The 1949 Lincoln Cosmopolitan was the first all-new Lincoln to be produced after World War II. It featured a modernized independent front suspension and a new V-8 engine that reinforced its appeal to customers. The White House ordered a customized fleet of limousines of this reliable luxury vehicle in February 1950.
The 1961 Lincoln Continental was one of the most enduring Lincoln designs of all time. It had clean, classic, sharp-edged styling that remained a Lincoln look for two decades. The 1961 model was one of the few automobiles ever awarded a medal for excellence by the Industrial Design Institute. The Continental’s doors had a famous and distinctive "center opening" design.
A stretch version of the 1961 Lincoln Continental, complete with retractable footstands for the Secret service, was developed and delivered to the White House for use by President John F. Kennedy. Following President Kennedy’s assassination, the vehicle was retrofitted for greater security and used until 1977.
A 1968 Lincoln Continental, with 1969 trim, was used by President Richard Nixon, and a 1972 stretch Lincoln Continental was used by Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. Later, a 1989 Lincoln Town Car was ordered and modified under President Reagan and was used by President George H.W. Bush.