Matthew Alice: Who, specifically, was driving the car when JFK was assassinated? What was his name? What happened to the car? How about the items that were in JFK's pockets? And his suit? Just need to know. — Matthew A. Janulewicz, San Diego
Please, we don’t want to know why you just need to know. Some things are better left untold, I suspect. Anyway, the man driving the 1961 custom X-100 Lincoln Continental convertible (with removable bubble top) was William Greer, born in Ireland, now retired in Waynesville, North Carolina. According to a 1983 Associated Press interview, Greer joined the Secret Service in 1946 and was the driver for Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and such visiting dignitaries as Khrushchev, Churchill, Queen Elizabeth, and Heile Selassie. He retired in 1967. President Johnson had the car overhauled, reupholstered, repainted (from dark blue to black), and it was given an armored top. Johnson used it during his administration. It’s now in the Henry Ford Museum in Michigan. A Florida collector of Kennedy memorabilia built a replica of the original limo. Oliver Stone rented it from him for the movie JFK.
Pieces of the Lincoln’s original upholstery were framed and presented to people close to the president. One of the pieces is now owned by the king of Kennedy collectors, Robert White, a Baltimore man who claims to have 15,000 items from JFK’s life, including a Rose Kennedy bathing suit and Jack’s and Jackie’s passports. White knows lots of Kennedy insiders from whom he acquires his memorabilia. He has JFK’s watch and wallet from the day of the assassination, the briefcase he brought on the Dallas trip, and the U.S. and presidential flags that flew on the limo’s fenders. White also owns the uniform worn by the police officer who arrested Lee Harvey Oswald. Kennedy’s suit was cut off him as he entered the Dallas emergency room, and, best I can find out, was not salvaged.