A 1963 Pontiac ambulance that purportedly carried the body of President John F. Kennedy after he was assassinated sold for $120,000 on Saturday in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Barrett-Jackson Auction Co. identified the buyer as Addison Brown of Paradise Valley, Arizona. The auction house last week couldn’t confirm the authenticity of the ambulance.
When Barrett-Jackson originally announced the sale, it said the vehicle transported Kennedy’s casket from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland to what is now the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda. He was assassinated in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.
“There is no clear way to know,” Craig Jackson, chief executive officer of Barrett-Jackson, said in an interview on Friday. “We’ve gone through all the investigation and we are leaving it up to the bidders.”
The ambulance that carried Kennedy was transferred to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in 1980, according to the library and other parties. The vehicle was destroyed in 1986 in Boston, said Karen Adler Abramson, the library’s chief archivist. She cited retired library staffers, photographs and documentation as her sources.
“We have strong reason to believe that the ambulance on sale is not the real ambulance.” she said by phone. “I would say if there is a question about its authenticity, it shouldn’t be auctioned.”
The library requested that the ambulance be destroyed because it didn’t want the vehicle to be a morbid souvenir of the assassination, she said.
‘Outpouring by People’
Adler Abramson said there was “an outpouring by people” who raised questions about the ambulance’s authenticity. Those included the Professional Car Society, an antique car club, which posted documents from the library on the Internet.
The auction house examined all documentation, including photographs, vehicle identification numbers, tags and stamping on the car and consulted with outside experts, Jackson said.
The lot was consigned by a Kansas-based anesthesiologist and Pontiac collector without a reserve or minimum, according to Jackson.