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JFK's Ambulance - Authentic or a Fake?

Posted 01/23/2011 11:50am by InstAppraisal
JFK's Ambulance - Authentic or a Fake? image

With all of the glory, history, and continued interest in the Kennedys it's no surprise that anything related to them and controversy would still catch the public's attention.  Such is the case with the purported ambulance that is said to have carried JFK's remains after his assassination.

The 1963 Pontiac ambulance was sold at a Scottsdale, Ariz., auction Saturday night for $132,000. The problem is that the ambulance should have sold for closer to $1,000,000, but its authenticity is being questioned and some are claiming that it is a complete fake which has decreased its value and led to a flood of controversy. The main barrage of claims that it's a fake is coming from a website called Jalopnik.com. They claim to have information that proves it's a fake, but auctioneer Barrett-Jackson is claiming otherwise. Barrett-Jackson is now attacking Jalopnik and the battle ensues as to the ambulance's authenticity. It's a an interesting collectible related read which you can find more about here.

For me this brings home that you can be dealing with the most "expert" well-known and trusted appraiser in the world and they too can be be wrong.  When I hear stories about how something is ultimately proven to be a fake even though a world renowned expert said otherwise, I can't think of a finer example than the Getty Kouros.

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Charley's picture
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Submitted by Charley on

I've read that the original JFK ambulance was destroyed by the Navy in the 1980's; this is what I personally believe happened.  If the ambulance was the one used by Kennedy then I think even the military would have known that and it would have ended up in the Smithsonian.  Why they would have destroyed the original one is confounding, but I think the current auction house is trying to "authenticate" and prove this is the one so that they can obviously demand a higher price; that's just my opinion and not based on any inside knowledge.  My gut tells me that if this one was the original then it would be more widely known and it would have been kept in the Kennedy archives as many of his other items were.  When something smells fishy there's usually something behind it, and to me this smells fishy.

Charley

irun4fun's picture
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Submitted by irun4fun on

Authentic or a Fake shouldnt make a difference anyhow should a car be worth that much regardless who rode in it anytime alive or dead are you telling me that perhaps a childhood ambulance ride he may have taken when he was 3 or so with his first broken leg is worth more now?

 I know you only die once ..who knows maybe elvis  also rode in it too

 I would think people just have more money than brains sometimes and see new ways every day to waste it

:-) 

AlexAtlas's picture
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Submitted by AlexAtlas on

It does not have ANY provenance, aka proof, that it's the original one. Still, a nice 60's car. No Kennedy connection however.

Antique Weapons and Militaria Expert from Atlas Arms And Armor

Joe Photo's picture
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Submitted by Joe Photo on

I should have read the link to Jalopnik first before commenting but I would think whoever was selling it would do their own research to prove what they want people to believe.  I would take the VIN number and try to trace it back to what company owned it and compare that with any records that might exist as to who transported the body from A to B.  Records must exist somewhere but finding them would be the trick. Who drove the ambulance? Who escorted the transfer? If you don't have some proof then you really can't talk much of its history.

Lovejoy's picture
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Submitted by Lovejoy on

I fully agree with Joe Photo. It should be pretty straight forward to trace where this car has been, who owned it and when. The driver search is a good idea as well, though chances are he/she might be dead by now, but the remaining family generally will have some history of an event like this.

meliszah.carroll's picture
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Somewhere stored away I have a letter of apology from LAPD to my stepdad for being part of a motorcade that ran 5 red lights. He claims he was part of bobby kennedys motorcade when he was shot in L.A. how do we authenticate.

M

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