President Obama's well-documented production of a Presidential boner over a Shelby GT500 at the Washington D.C. Auto Show makes for an excellent reason to bring up some fun facts about Presidents and cars.
In fact, to amplify the fun even more, let's do it this way: I'll put ten facts about Presidents and cars here; five will be real, five will be fake. Let's see who can figure out which is which; I'll publish the answers tomorrow. Here we go:
1. The first President to serve at a time when there was an American-built automobile was Thomas Jefferson.
2. The first car a President ever rode in was a Locomobile.
3. The only President to have owned a rear-engine car prior to becoming President was George H. W. Bush (41), who owned a Chevrolet Corvair from 1962-1966.
4. There are eight car company names in Presidents' names, divided between seven Presidents.
5. Dwight Eisenhower was the first sitting President to lay rubber, in a Willys Jeep during a visit to Fort Benning in 1959.
6. The Secret Service operates a refresher driving school for Presidents leaving office, most of whom have not driven themselves for four to eight years.
7. Herbert Hoover held the world land speed record for 24 minutes in 1927, when he was allowed to drive Henry Segrave's "1000hp" Sunbeam at Daytona Beach prior to the record-setting attempt. Hoover clocked in at 161.4 mph, beating the old record of 145.9 mph, just before Segrave set the new record of 203.8 mph.
8. The first car used at a Presidential inauguration was a Packard.
9. President Jimmy Carter had two specially prepared black Chevrolet Chevettes purchased for his official use, to show his commitment to energy efficiency. They were never used, and are now in the Harrah's collection in Las Vegas.
10. President Nixon mentioned his personal car in his famous "Checkers" speech — a 1950 Oldsmobile.