When you first encounter the massive White Model M Steam Car, you’re immediately struck by its size. As you begin to acclimate to its outsized proportions, you begin taking in the random details: the golden presidential seal; the steering wheel within a steering wheel; and the wild assortment of levers. But all of this pales in comparison to the historic significance of the car itself, one which arguably set the stage for much of what was to come with the dawn of the automotive age. Watch the film to learn more about President William Howard Taft’s 1909 White Model M Steam Car, the first presidential limousine.
At first glance, this battered red jeep appears to be little more than an old vehicle showing its age and long since having served its primary function. But once you start to learn the details behind the jeep—its significance, its owner and the special place it held in his life—you begin to gain a far greater appreciation for what you are seeing.
Washington sightseers and old car lovers weren’t the only folks who turned out at the National Mall last week to get a unique automotive spin on U.S. presidential history. Reporters from some of the most recognized names in news were also there to cover this annual Historic Vehicle Association event. Check out what they had to say.
The only thing better than a historic car is an historic jeep—especially if that jeep is Ronald Reagan’s Willys CJ-6.
The best parking spot in Washington is currently occupied by the 1962 Willys Jeep that Ronald Reagan used to drive all over his California ranch.
If President William Howard Taft, the rotund 27th president of the United States, is remembered, it’s usually for his girth rather than being the only president to become chief justice of the Supreme Court. But he also was an early automobile enthusiast and, after a fight with Congress, spent $12,000 on the first White House automotive fleet.