• Thu. Jun 30th, 2022

The armored car manufacturer that retrofitted JFK’s limo is shutting down

ByRandall B. Phelps

Mar 10, 2022

Cincinnati – An armored vehicle manufacturer that customized the limo in which President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 is to shut down operations.

The O’Gara Hess Eisenhardt Armoring Company filed a notice last week saying it will lay off all of its employees in Fairfield, Ohio, and close permanently.

The military contractor with a long history of building armored cars for world leaders and celebrities dates back to the late 1800s. The company said it had been trying for months to raise enough money to stay open, but that it no longer had enough capital to continue paying its workers.

The company, known as Hess & Eisenhardt in the 1960s, beefed up Kennedy’s presidential limo after it was built by Ford Motor Co. at its Wixom, Michigan plant in 1961.

The limo was cut in half and lengthened 31/2 feet at the Hess & Eisenhardt plant in Cincinnati, according to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, where the car is on display.

Among the modifications added were removable transparent roof panels, a hydraulic rear seat that could elevate the President, and steps for Secret Service agents.

Kennedy, at the request of local politicians, ordered the removal of the reflective glass shield atop the limo for his visit to Dallas on November 22, 1963.

After Kennedy’s assassination, the limo underwent further modifications at Hess & Eisenhardt and was returned to the White House in 1964, according to the Henry Ford Museum.