Operations

‘Godfather of Soul’s’ Limo to Be Auctioned

LCT Staff
Posted on January 5, 2005

PHOENIX – Soul singer James Brown's rare 1959 Chrysler Imperial limousine, used by the "Godfather of Soul" in the 1970s, will be on the auction block this month.

Only one of 12 ever built, the limo is powered by a 331- cubic-inch FirePower Hemi engine and is valued at $45,000 to $55,000. It ferried Brown and his entourage of up to eight people when he owned it in the 1970s.

It's one of two famous limousines that will be offered Jan. 28 during RM Auctions' Vintage Motor Cars sale in Phoenix, RM Auctions spokesman Rob Myers said. More than 120 other vehicles will be up for auction at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa.

A black 1962 Lincoln Continental ordered for President John F. Kennedy and nicknamed the "Kennedy Bubbletop" could fetch up to $1 million. The bubbletop feature provided security while allowing crowds to see him.

The limo was the preferred transport of first lady Jacqueline Kennedy and it ferried a variety of dignitaries, including Pope Paul VI, President Lyndon B. Johnson, Vice Presidents Hubert Humphrey and Spiro Agnew, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos and the Apollo 8 astronauts.

"To offer one historically significant limousine is special, but two of this caliber is quite a distinction," Myers said. "The Kennedy legacy and mystique is still an enormous attraction for collectors and the limo is perhaps the most significant piece of presidential automotive history ever offered at auction.

"The Brown Imperial is another desirable and handsome investment for any collector or music enthusiast," Myers added.

The bubbletop limo and its sister car, the Lincoln convertible limousine in which President Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, were built by Hess & Eisenhardt of Cincinnati.

Three other vehicles on the auction block are also expected to eclipse the $1 million mark, including a 1962 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato Coupe (one of only 19 ever built), a 1953 Ferrari 250 MM Pinin Farina Competition Coupe and a 1934 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Coupe.

For more information, call (800) 211-4371.

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