Rolls-Royce Phantom IV Limousine

One of the rarest cars in existence, the Rolls-Royce Phantom IV Limo is also amongst the most elegant cars ever produced. Based off of the pre-war Phantom III from 1936, the Phantom IV was produced from 1950 to 1956, with only 18 leaving the factory floors. Those that did leave were sold to exclusive positions such as Royalty and other prominent political ranks. Even though there were only a handful of which were manufactured, each model variated had some modification that made it different from another Phantom IV model. Most of the vehicles produced are still preserved in museums and collections today, both public and private. I never would have even known about this car if it were not for my buddy Joey at www.mesatrees.com so this is shout is for him.

In 1937, the Rolls-Royce firm had decided to take on the task of creating a limousine based off of the recent and successful Phantom III luxury car. Prototype testing began in 1939, but was stalled by the outbreak of the Second World War. Testing resumed in 1948, showing outstanding results. In fact, the car was initially known to the manufacturers as Continue reading Rolls-Royce Phantom IV Limousine

Presidential Limousines

Perhaps one of the most recognizable limousines in the world, Cadillac One is also amongst the most important. ‘The Beast’, as it is called, holds the duty of transporting none other than the President of the United States of America himself, Barrack Obama. However, Barrack Obama was certainly not the first President to have a Presidential vehicle; the Federal Government has been supplying government-issued limousines since the 1930s. Starting with President William Howard Taft, the presidential vehicle has evolved to state-of-art technology, from President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s ‘Sunshine Special’ of 1939, to Obama’s ‘The Beast’ 70 years later.

Limousine
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Although it wasn’t until the late 1930’s when limousines were thoroughly introduced into the President’s arsenal of transportation, the idea of a Presidential transport had its roots in the early 1900’s. President William McKinley was the first president to ride in an automobile, and Teddy Roosevelt had his own 1907 White Steamer parked at the White House. After Roosevelt, President William Howard Taft was the first to have a government car assigned to him. Woodrow Wilson even had his own vehicle, preferring a vehicle over a horse-drawn carriage. In 1938, the first of the limos appeared; Cadillac had created two convertible limos dubbed Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth respectively. These went on to serve Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman and even Dwight D. Eisenhower.

After the Cadillacs, the two custom-built Lincoln Cosmopolitans entered the ring, which served as limousines first for President Harry S. Truman. At the request of President Eisenhower himself, one of the limos had a glass roof installed and was nicknamed the ‘Bubble Top’. The car was used by John F. Kennedy (it is important to note that the Lincoln Cosmopolitan was not one of  the limousines Kennedy was riding in when he was assassinated. It was instead a 1961 Lincoln Continental, designated SS-100-X.), and even used once by Kennedy’s successor, Lyndon B. Johnson. The Lincoln Cosmopolitans were retired as Presidential limousines in 1965 and are currently on display at the Henry Ford museum. The succeeding Johnson Administration used three Lincoln Continental limousines, two for Presidential use and one built for Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, whom was the former president of Ford Motor Company.

Throughout the following decades, the Continue reading Presidential Limousines

The Churchill Tank

Amongst the best known tanks of the Second World War is the British Churchill tank. Being one of the most heavily armored tanks of World War Two, the Churchill was initially designed as a trench warfare tank, the British expecting another World War One. After France was occupied by the Nazis, however, the idea of a trench warfare tank was dropped. Yet it still proved to be a valuable tank in the British arsenal, serving on almost every front in the European theater (with a few hundred being sent to the Soviet Union) and even seeing action in the Korean War.
The Churchill tank came from the abandoned A20 project, calling for a large infantry-support tank. However, after the swift invasion of France, the idea of a trench warfare tank was dropped. Construction of the A22 Churchill, allegedly named after the Prime Minister, had begun shortly afterwards. Although the Churchill was still large and slow it was smaller and lighter than the original A20, thus able to perform as a normal tank. Because it had been hastily put together, the tank had little time for testing, and had several mechanical faults. In fact, the tank project was almost canceled as a whole until it proved itself at the Second Battle of El Alamein, changing the course of the North African campaign.
The Churchill tank has Continue reading The Churchill Tank

M3 Lee

The M3 Lee was one of the first American tanks in service during World War Two. The tank was designed in July 1940 and entered operation units by the end of 1941. The United States was looking for a good main battle tank, and the British were looking for a tank that can be quickly built and put into service. The M3, although having good firepower and armor, was difficult to handle due to the setup of the two main guns, a 37mm housed in the turret and a much larger 75mm housed in a pontoon (bulging out of the side, similar to a battleship). This ultimately led to development of the famous M4 Sherman, which eradicated these problems. The M3 did, however, remain in service with the British up until late 1944 in the Asian Theater. Some of the ideas from tanks and armament have found their way into limousines for presidents.

 

By 1939, the entire US Army had only 400 tanks in service, including the obsolete M2 ‘Medium’ tank, which housed only a 37mm cannon as the main gun. This was due to the United States’ pacifist attitude at the time, only providing significant funding to the US Navy. At the outbreak of the war, the M2 ‘Medium’ (not to be confused with the M2 ‘Light’ tank) was obsolete, with its extremely thin armor and light armament in comparison to the German Panzer IIIs and IVs. The United States saw the need for a new main battle tank housing a 75mm cannon. The British also felt Continue reading M3 Lee

An Early Tracked Vehicle

Char B1
https://www.flickr.com/photos/nigel_brown/7340856896

The French Char B1, against all common stereotypes associated with French combat vehicles, was one of the best tanks available in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s. Conceived in the 1920’s, it was initially designed as a self-propelled gun, armed with a large 75mm gun in the hull. However, the idea to make it a main battle tank emerged in designing, so a 47mm turret was added atop the hull. Development for the tank was costly and time-consuming, meaning that production didn’t start until the 1930’s and didn’t begin to equip units until the late 1930’s. Even though it was considered obsolete by then, it still performed excellent against German armor in the Battle for France. Afterwards, seeing the good engineering, the Wehrmacht captured a number of them.

After World War I the French, along with Great Britain, felt that the future of tanks relied on breakthrough tank designs, that is, land battleships with extensive armor, made for crossing trenches and destroying gun positions, all the while supporting infantry. Such was the mindset of all tank manufacturers of the 1920’s. In 1921, work on the Char B1 began, as such a vehicle. In order to be as cheap as possible, the French insisted it be Continue reading An Early Tracked Vehicle