Franklin Roosevelt rode to the first of four inaugurations in a 1932 Packard. The Detroit firm provided the basis for many VIP transports in the years between the wars including the 1934 1104 Touring that will visit Amelia in 2019 from the Packard Museum in Dayton, Ohio. It was often the VIP transport of Admirals Halsey and Nimitz and was a particular favorite of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower who appreciated the Packard’s traditional pre-war styling, often choosing it for his formal duties, even after WWII was won. At the end of his first term, Ike used two identical “White House Security Cars”, both were 1956 Cadillac Series 75 “Parade Cars.”
Marshall Tito broke with Soviet tyrant Josef Stalin and became President For Life of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (and the acknowledged leader of the Non Aligned Nations) in 1953. Stalin -- a confirmed Packard man -- tried to have Tito assassinated more than once. Tito’s nine-passenger 1960 Cadillac Series 75 showed that he was amenable to certain types of “capitalist decadence.”
A 345 hp 390 V-8, a refrigerator, automatic transmission, electric windows (including the internal front/rear window divider), an automatic electric/hydraulic convertible top and even a portable electric shaver were part of the huge Cadillac’s “Tito Décor Group”. The long Cadillac was magnificent four-wheel executive transport -- and an insult to the Soviets -- for Yugoslavia’s “benign dictator.”
“The Amelia’s Heads of State class is an eclectic group built for a rarefied demographic,” said Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance founder and Chairman Bill Warner. “Two ‘Pope-mobiles’, Cadillac’s no-limits factory custom for a self-defrocked king, Ike’s 1956 Parade Caddy and an over-the-top capitalist limo for a rebellious communist dictator who had a strong taste for big, powerful American cars.
“The Heads of State class is at the other end of the celebrity spectrum from this year’s ‘Cars of the Rock Stars’ class,” said Warner.