An exciting hour-long documentary devoted entirely to the JFK Presidential Limousine will be airing on the SPEED channel during the month of November. Pamela McElwain-Brown's essay "SS-100-X" from CAR CRASH CULTURE (Palgrave/2002) was used as the basis for the assassination section. Vaughn Ferguson's widow Catherine is interviewed in it, as is Pamela McElwain-Brown. The program covers the gamut from the limousine's development at the Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Michigan and Hess and Eisenhardt in Ohio, through the Kennedy years when it was used as their parade limousine in motorcades in the US and abroad, as well as discussion a discussion of the post-assassination treatment of the limousine. Here is the schedule for "Behind the Headlights: Presidential Limo".
From the halcyon days of June, 1961, when the newly-designed car was delivered to the White House, complete with a permanent privacy window in the center partition area, to September, 1961 when the Secret Service ordered numerous changes made to the limo, including the redesign of the center partition area and the removal of the privacy window, to the fateful motorcade in Dallas on November 22, 1963, this elegant vehicle was an integral part of the life of President Kennedy. This car is witness to his murder. This limo, not Dealey Plaza, is the true scene of the crime. Everything about this car is vital to an understanding of what happened to President Kennedy and why. The clues and evidence in this car and the sequence of events involving it help to clearly define the stragegy behind the assassination and the cover-up that followed it. The events revolving around this car subsequent to the assassination, including the destruction of evidence and rebuild appropriately called the "quick fix" provide valuable information regarding the aims and strategies of the conspirators. The car, as it exists today, in its spot of honor at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, provides tangible proof that the assassination of President Kennedy was a complex event, involving far more than one lone-nut gunman firing from a sniper's nest. As you examine the data and photos on this page, ask yourself the question, "Why did this happen?" and answers will begin to emerge.
PRIOR TO 11/22/63
This photo was taken in mid-1961. It is from the JFK Library collection. Notice the configuration of the metal frame, and the Continental logo in the side panel window. Compare it with the configuration of the frame in the motorcade photo at the top of this page. Look at the vertical line in the center of the metal frame area. Does this represent the privacy window? How does it compare with the color photo farther down the page of the limo as it is today. How does it compare with the black-and-white copy below?
The privacy window looked like this in June, 1961, courtesy of bthe JFK Library. This photo was part of the publicity package for the limo at the time of its delivery to the White House. The press release of the Ford Motor Company for the Presidential limo, verifyies that the car that became SS-100-X, the primary crime scene of the assassination, was delivered to the White House with a privacy window.
Why was a privacy window installed in the Presidential limousine SS-100-X when it was delivered to the White House in June, 1961 and why was it removed three months later? In September, 1961, the entire center partition area was removed and redesigned, based, apparently, on the recommendations of the Secret Service. The privacy window was taken out, and a removable metal frame was designed with glass side panels to hold the rest of the bubbletop in place. On the day of the assassination, the metal frame was in place, but the bubbletop was in the limo's trunk. Apparently, this configuration was used in case a sudden downpour should start (the early morning had been rainy). Ironically, the bubbletop, though not bullet-proof (nothing on the car was at that time) might have deflected some of the shots, made focusing on the target harder, and contributed to saving the President's life. Vince Palamara has determined that JFK did not order the bubble top off, but that Sam Kinney took responsibility for that fatal mistake.
In 1962 a second Lincoln Continental limousine was designed by Ford in conjunction with Hess and Eisenhardt; this one was built for Jackie, and was called SS-297-X. Although it was not a stretch limo, this car in many ways resembled SS-100-X.
DALLAS LOVE FIELD
This is a video capture of Jackie at Love Field just before she enters the limo SS100X. Notice that she has two bouquets in her arms -- roses and something light (that has a distinct resemblance to a 'lamb chop' puppet). She was given the roses by Dearie Cabell, as she walked away from the plane; the white flowers may have come from onlookers at the fence where Jackie and JFK shook hands prior to entering the limo.
However, video footage of Love Field shows that Jackie sits in the limo, then smiles up at someone who may have given her something else. It seems smaller than the white bouquet of flowers pictured above. She moves it from one hand to the other, then sets it on the seat.
Altgens 1-6 thumbnail and photo.Look closely at the photo. Next to Kennedy's left fist is a reflection ofConnally - is this a reflection from the small side window onto the front windshield? Look also at the small yellow circle; is this the purse of a woman on the sidewalk or something more sinister? This photograph, though half-toned, from the 11/23/63 Cleveland Ohio Plain Dealer, was uploaded onto the news wires immediately after the assassination.
The typical configuration for a through-and-through windshield bullet hole include (1) a hole larger than the size of the ammunition, (2) white frothing around the hole and (3) spider cracking extending from the hole to perhaps the edges of the windshied. None of these things are evident in the "spiral nebulae" of the Altgens 1-6 -- the hole, later described by observers (one high on the windshield, one low on the windshield, adding to the confusion) was supposedly just big enough to 'put a pencil through it'. What ammunition would make a hole the size of a pencil? Possibly a BB or pellet gun, but not much else. Also, Anthony Marsh's has some interesting insights in an analytical article .
Those who put forth that the Altgens 1-6 shows a "through-and-through" hole in the windshield fail to account for the attributes of the defect in the Altgens 1-7, taken a few seconds later as SS-100-X sped toward the Triple Underpass. This photo, also uploaded onto the newswires within a half-hour of the assassination, shows a defect near the rear-view mirror, showing a bit of white frothing, but no indication of a through-and-through hole, and certainly no spider cracking. (The Altgens 1-7 closeup is the top photo; the other two are CE350 and CE 349)For additional information on the possibility of a through-and-through windshield bullet hole and the "hole is a hole" theory, click here..
THE SECRET SERVICE AND THE DESIGN FLAW OF SS-100-X
What were the Secret Service men in the limo doing during the assassination? Greer, at the wheel, turns around to look at JFK two separate times, and at Z-313 (Zapruder fatal head shot) he is looking right at the President. Kellerman, in the front passenger seat, appears to turn around at the first shots. Kellerman is facing forward when the fatal shot is fired. Has he used his mike to communicate with the lead car? Has he asked that the nearest hospital be alerted? What SS protocol should have taken place between the two men at that time? What should have been done to protect the passengers in the back of the car? Kellerman was Greer's superior on this assignment; he should have been telling Greer what to do. From all reports, Kellerman said nothing until after the fatal headshot. In addition, because of the design of the limo, not only could Kellerman not vault into the back seat to protect JFK because of the center partition and the jumpseats, but, although he claimed he heard JFK speak (which Jackie and Nellie denied) Kellerman was unable to communicate with the passengers, nor they with him. The design of the car and the lack of initiative on Kellerman's part to direct Greer immediately to pull out of line resulted in the near-immobility of the limo, thus facilitating the fatal head shot.
As the shots were fired, Jackie turned to look at JFK, and in the process the red roses began to slide to the floor. By the time the limo passed Jean Hill and Mary Moorman (of the famous Polaroid) only the lavender-white flowers (and possibly the other small white object) remained on the back seat. Jean Hill commented at the time that she thought she saw a "fluffy little white dog" on the back seat between them; her husband and even the WC ridiculed her for that. However, she was correct. She saw the white flowers on the seat.
What was the reason for pursuing the possibility of the privacy window? In Mrs. Kennedy's Warren Commission testimony she referred to this windshield. Read her testimony and determine if you believe her words should be taken literally or not. The significant design flaw of SS-100-X -- the 'stretch' section including the center partition area, were well known to the Secret Service, even upon delivery of the car in June, 1961. Only three months later the limo was restructured and the privacy window removed. And yet, acknowledging the difficulties of communication between passengers and SS agents in a configuration with the top down must have been acknowledged by the SS. And yet, the car was still used as a parade vehicle while the SS knew it was unsafe in an open configuration.
What would the implications of Mrs. Kennedy's testimony? One is hinted at during Mrs. Kennedy's Warren Commission testimony: the driver, Greer, and Roy Kellerman, in the front seat, were unable to communicate with Mrs. Kennedy. Mrs. Kennedy said that the reason she couldn't hear Kellerman was because of the "windshield," and yet she was also hesitant. Is she to be believed or not? Was she recalling having been driven in the limo when the privacy window was installed and had been confused? Was she trying to make a point about the carelessness of the Secret Service?
PRESIDENTIAL LIMOUSINE CRITICAL TIMELINE
11/21/63 SS-100-X was flown to San Antonio on C-130 [612373 of 76th Air Transport Squadron, Pilot is Capt. Thomason] and then to Dallas. 100X was not used in Houston or Ft. Worth. It is sequestered in an underground garage at Love Field.
8 am CST 100X cleaned and washed by the SS
11 am Sorrels goes to the garage to escort Hickey and Kinney in 100X and 679X to the motorcade start. Greer takes over control of 100X and Kinney of 679X.11:03 CST Cabinet plane leaves Honolulo for Japan. 11:45 JFK and Mrs Kennedy are seated in 100X for the motorcade to Dallas. 11:55 Motorcade leaves Love Field Noon - 12:10 100X on Lemmon Avenue 12:19 100X at Main and Live Oak -- 14 blocks from Dealey Plaza. 12:21 100X turns west from Main onto Harwood -- 12 blocks from Dealey Plaza 12:22 100X at Main and Ervay 12:24 100X at Main and Field 12:26 100X at Main and Poydra -- 5 blocks from Dealey Plaza 12:28 100X at Main and Market 12:30:14 Altgens snaps 1-6 photo at Z-255 12:30:22 Altgens 1-7? SS Agent reaches Jackie, Z-396? 12:32 100X passes Trade Mart and overtakes Lead Car. 12:36 100X reaches Parkland Hospital. Nurses Pat Hutton and Diana Bowron run to 100X, pushing 4-wheeled stretcher carts. 12:37 Governor Connally and then President Kennedy are removed from 100X and placed on stretchers. "Roses on the body's chest" The yellow and red bouquets of roses are not seen from Parkland on. It can be surmised they were removed at that time, although a number of petals are still evident in the FBI and SS photos to be taken later. 12:38 Dr. Carrico sees JFK. 12:41 Kellerman phones Gerald Behm in DC. Kinney requests permission from Kellerman to drive 100X to Love Field, and Kellerman grants it. 12:43 Unidentified person gives DPD description of shooter and wheapon in TSBD window. 12:45 JEH phones RFK to tell him his brother has been assassinated. NBC interrupts regular programming to announce that JFK and Governor Connally have been injured in a shooting. Kinney and Hickey put bubbletop on 100X. Apparently, they request a bucket of water, as one it brought for them and is visible in a Stoughton photo. The benign explanation is that the water was used to clear debris from the cowl of the back seat and, the center partition area and the chrome molding around the windshield, in order for the clamps used with the plexiglass roof to take hold. A more malign explanation is that the trunk area was also washed of debris. One way or another, evidence was destroyed by this act. Putting the roof up, and adding the leatherette cover, takes between 20-30 minutes. Hurschel Jacks -- Texas State Highway Policeman is assigned by the SS to prevent photos being taken of 100X, exterior or interior. 12:58 TSBD sealed; Fritz arrives. 12:45 - 1 pm Parkland Witnesses to limo arrival and removal of JFK and JBC -- Hugh Sidey, Tom Wicker, and Don Gardner (ABC). DPD motorcycle officer Stavis Ellis claims to see a 'hole' low in the windshield; his partner Freeman sees one too. When they report this to an unnamed SS agent, they are told 'no, it is just a fragment.' Nursing student Evangelea Glanges says she saw a 'hole' in the windshield; no location was specified. However, in her scenario, once she comments on the 'hole', the SS agent climbs into 100X and drives away. In fact, two agents drove away in 100X. St. Louis Post Dispatch reporter Richerd Dudman says he saw a 'hole' high in the windshield. SA Emory Roberts, who has taken over much responsibility for SS protection, since Kellerman is staying with the body of JFK, discusses with Lem Johns the possibility that the DPD will want to hold 100X as 'evidence'. It is apparent from the SS activities, that they had no intention of allowing this to happen. As with the President's body, 100X will be spirited out of Parkland and back to DC. 1:00 pm JFK Pronounced dead. LHO enters rooming house on North Beckley. DC phone system breaks down. Robert McNamara summons the Joint Chiefs of Staff. CE-399 is found at Parkland Hospital by employee Daryl Tomlinson. 1:02 LHO's landlady sees DPD car stop in front of her house. 1:03 LHO leaves rooming house. 1:09 Officer J.D. Tippitt killed at 10th and Patton. 1:09 (app) 100X and 679X leave Parkland Hospital for Love Field. According to SS records, they did not stop, but went direction to the C-130 Hercules assigned to take them back to DC. 1:22 Tippet slayer description goes out. At TSBD, Truly notices a man missing. DPD finds M/C rifle and three shells in TSBD. 1:26 LBJ leaves Parkland Hospital for Love Field and boards Air Force 1. Approximate time -- Evangelea Glanges sees bullet hole in windshield. SS man, hearing this, jumps into the car and speeds away. 1:33 LBJ board AF1 1:50 LHO seized by DPD at Texas Theatre. 1:52 Gus Rose demands a Texas autopsy of President Kennedy. Instead, SS agents, guns drawn, roll the casket containing the President's body out of Parkland Hospital. 1:58 JFK casket is put into an O'Neill hearse. 2:04 Body of JFK and Mrs. Kennedy leave Parkland for Love Field. 2:40 Lawson speaks with Gordon Shanklin of FBI, Dallas, re arrest of LHO for Tippet Murder -- Curry spoke to Shanklin. 2:47 AF1 leaves Love Field, nine minutes after LBJ takes oath. 3:35 C-130 carrying 100X and 679X departs Love Field. 6:00 AF1 lands at Andrews Air Force Base. 6:? Greer drives ambulance carrying body of President Kennedy, RFK, JBK to Bethesda Hospital for autopsy. According to all reports, Greer stays with the body of JFK at Bethesda until its return to the White House at 4 a.m. the next morning. 8:05 C-130 carrying 100X and 679X lands at Andrews Air Force Base. Under police escort the cars are driven to the White House garage att 22nd street and M Streets, NW by Kinney, accompanied by SA Taylor. while Hickey, Keiser and Brett drove 679X. U S Park Police motorcycle officers are assigned to accompany the cars. USPP motorcycle officer Nick Prencipe, who is stationed at the West Executive entrance to the White House, is in radio communication with these men; they are saying that there is damage to the windshield of 100X, a 'hole' in the windshield. 9:00 pm SA Keiser, Brett and White House Policement Snyder and Rubenstal guard 100X and 679X in the White House Garage. SAs Geis and Davis examine the windshield of 100X -- the outer surface seems smooth, and damage is on the inside. Paterni and Boring go to Admiral Burkley at White House and request CPO William Martinelli and Thomas Mills to accompany them to the White House Garage. SA Kinney advises SAIC Boring of bone or tissue on floor near jump seat. Nick Prencipe also states that he spoke with William Greer at the White House entrance that evening, and that Greer said that there were "shots coming at them from every direction, one came right through the windshield." Based on this information, Nick goes to the White House garage, recognizes no one there, states he walked up to the car, which was parked in the middle of the garage, top up, under a tarp, and looked at the windshield. He stated he saw no damage near the rear-view mirror, but saw a 'hole' low on the passenger side of the windshield. He stated that he was not aware of any guards around the car or any activity taking place with the car. 10:00 pm "Plastic" cover removed from limo. Admiral Burkley with CPOs Martinelli and Mills of Burkley's office remove 3" piece of bone and a "quantity of brain tissue" from the back seat of 100X. Paterni finds bullet fragment in front seat. Mills finds fragment on front seat right floor. Per Robert Frazier CE 567 was found on the seat right beside the driver and CE 569 was found on the floor beside the right side of the front seat." 5 H 67. Dallas, Texas -- 11:45 pm CST Vince Drain of the Dallas FBI Office takes possession of the M/C. JBC fragments JFK skull bullet fragments. November 23, 1963 1:00 am EST DC Paterni arranges for FBI agents to examine 100X for evidence. SA and ballistics expert Robert Frazier arrives with Cunningham, Bartlett, Killiam and Thomas. They are signed into the White House Garage logs. Bartlett drives 100X out from its bay. Exam details. SA Taylor reports "small hole in the windshield of 100X from which bullet fragments were removed." 3:10 am CST USAF #276 leaves Carswell AFB, arrives 6:30 am EST, returning evidence from DPD to DC FBI along with Vince Drain. 10:00 am EST F Vaughn Ferguson of Ford Motor Company DC Branch inspects the windshield for damage. The car is guarded and under a tarp, and he is not allowed to examine any other part of it at that time. 4:00 pm EST Messrs. Jack Fox and Howard K Norton, of the Protective Research Section photograph 100X (CE 352, CE 353) 4:30 pm EST SA Gonzales contacts SAIC Bouck and DC Paterni, requesting to clean out inside of 100X because of the offensive odor. They are instructed to obtain permission from the FBI, which is done. At that point, flowers, torn pieces of paper, other "miscellaneous debris" is removed from the floor of the rear of the limo and taken to the Washington Field Office by White House Police Officer Hutch. 11/24/63 Ferguson returns to the White House Garage. 100X is no longer under guard. He cleaned blood from the back seat upholstery buttons, but did not try to clean the bloodstained back floor rug. The SS had already cleaned out the car. 11/25/63 100X remained in the White House Garage; logs show two entries for the day. Though both entries related to operations of the Garage (rather than 100X), Army personnel were present from Ft. Meyer supervising the Garage. (The specious statement that 100X was somehow 'beamed' to the Rouge B Building at Dearborn is therefore unlikely.) 11/26/63 In response to Ferguson's call of 11/26/63, Arlington Glass personnel arrive to replace the windshield. According to the White House Logs, they first take five minutes to measure it, then return to install it. Mr. Davis of the SS takes the windshield, which the men have pushed out with their feet. Ferguson doesn't see the windshield again, but SA Kellerman does. This is made into an issue by another researcher; facts indicate that Ferguson had no reason to look at the old windshield again. (Contradiction between Rowley and White House Logs). Carpet that Ferguson has ordered by phone from Hess & Eisenhardt arrives at the White House Garage. H&E records verify that carpet was ordered; Ford Motor Company archives show that there was a question as to where to bill the cost of the carpeting. 11/27/63 Ferguson was at the White House garage and told that the carpeting was in (or 11/28?) he gave the "piece" of carpet, etc, to the upholsterer. 11/29/63 Carpet "piece" completed late Friday afternoon (or 11/30?) 12/2/63 Recarpeted "piece" delivered to Ferguson by Davis of the SS -- he re-installed it. Ferguson also sent the soiled lap robes to Fort Meyer for cleaning. They were returned to the White House Garage the same day. 12/20/63 100X "released" by WC. Sometime between 12/13/00 (Hess & Eisenhardt records) and 12/20/63 (Rowley report) 100X was driven by Ferguson to Dearborn to Engineering Research Division of Ford Motor Company to redesign the car. 12/24/63 100X driven from Ford Motor Company to Hess & Eisenhardt in Cincinnati, Ohio.
DALLAS PARKLAND HOSPITAL
What happened to the limo once it reached Parkland Hospital? Was it put on a flatbed or covered with a tarp until a forensic exam could be conducted by the DPD? No; instead the plexiglass top with a cloth cover were quickly put in place. Take a look at this Stoughton photo. Notice the pail of water next to the driver's door and the towel in the hands of the well-dressed man, SS Agent Kinney. Who are those Dallas policemen? Why isn't the area cordoned off? The water was used to at least wash the areas where the grommets of the roof and cover were attached to the car. The trunk was probably also washed to some extent, so that it could be lifted without the men's hands getting bloodied. This was all contamination of the crime scene. Then, even before JFK was pronounced dead, the car was wisked away from Parkland Hospital to Love Field, where it was quickly driven onboard a C-130 for the flight back to DC. While onboard, according to one of the Air Force crew members, the SS started sifting through the debris, looking for evidence. The plane sat on the tarmac for about an hour and a half after Air Force One and did not leave until 3:30 in the afternoon, arriving at Andrews Air Force Base at 8 p.m. EST. Why was the C-130 carrying 100X and 679X sitting on the ground for so long? What was done during that time? Once 100X and 679X arrived at Andrews Air Force Base, escorts of the US Park Police accompanied the limo and backup car to the White House Garage
DC WHITE HOUSE GARAGE -- THE FBI FORENSIC EXAM
At 9 p.m., upon its return to the White House Garage, agents searched the car once more, finding two bullet fragments in the 'front seat' area -- CE 567 and CE 569. Both of these fragments had evidentiary value; that is, they were large enough to provide information linking them to the "Magic Bullet", CE 399, and, therefore, to Lee Harvey Oswald's Mannlicher-Carcano rifle. These were turned over to the FBI for testing in the famous FBI Crime Lab, one floor of the huge Justice Building, where J. Edgar Hoover and his colleague Deke DeLoach anxiously waited for evidence to be delivered so it could be tested by the lab's teams of experts. A piece of skull was also found in the car, and this was taken to Bethesda Naval Hospital and delivered to the doctors performing the autopsy on JFK. However, during all the time the SS had had possession of SS-100-X -- about twelve hours -- they took no photographs of it, made no notes about its condition, and drew no diagrams. Nothing of evidentiary value was left in the car for the FBI to find. In fact, the three tiny fragments the FBI did find were too tiny for testing; also the "smear" from inside the windshield was relatively insignificant. There was ample time for the SS to put 100-X into whatever condition they considered appropriate prior to turning it over to the FBI. The SS had completed their agenda of effectively 'sanitizing' the primary crime scene.
During the night and early morning of 11/23/63, from 1-4:30 a.m. SA Robert Frazier of the FBI and four of his men formally examined and photographed the car. This was the only forensic exam of the limo, and took place 12 hours after the assassination. These photos, called 'FBI Bulky photos', from the 1200 pages of documents used to create the FBI Summary Report, 62-109060 Bulky-8307X (Box 115, Folder 134), show the condition of the car that night. They are black and white photos, taken without floodlamps, and the detail is poor; the White House Garage was not well lit. These FBI BULKY PHOTOS are: ONE, TWO, , THREE, FOUR, FIVE, SIX
A description of the activities of the FBI exam comes from SS/PRS Agents Taylor and Geiglein who were also present at the White House Garage during the exam. This document, from CD-80, describes the photos that were taken (they were black and white, not color) and the fact that the back seat of the limo was removed.Page One Two Three
A final irony comes in the photos taken by the Secret Service at the White House garage late afternoon Saturday, November 23 by Mssrs. Fox and Norton of the Protective Research Section of the SS. The two dozen roses (12 red for Jackie, 12 yellow for Nellie) had been removed, but in the corner of the back seat, near where JFK sat, a small, forlorn bunch of lavender-white flowers remain in CE353.CE352 also shows the back seat; Here, a zoom of the lavender asters left on the rear seat of the limo.
CE 350 is a view the windshield defect, taken during the FBI exam of 11.23.63.
The WHITE HOUSE GARAGE kept logs for two days after the assassination, because SS-100-X and SS-679-X had been given a security detail. The logs were used to record the entry and exit of those who did not have White House Garage credentials. Those who did have credentials, such as SS agents, and FMC Liaison Vaughn Ferguson did not have to log in. According to the White House Garage Logs which consist of two pages that go together sideways the windshield was replaced by two men from the Arlington Glass Company on 11/26/63. This is verified by DC Ford Employee and White House Garage liaison F Vaughn Ferguson who was present when the windshield was replaced.
Check out pages one and two of the fascinating12/18/63 internal Ford Company memo of Vaughn Ferguson (from the Ford Motor Company Washington, DC office, NARA RIF 180-10105-10086), to R.W. Markley, the White House contact. This memo was originally sent to me by NARA by mistake, as its status was 'postponed'. On realizing this error, it was then released, minus the date of December 18, 1963. This memo is valuable in that it places the limo in the White House Garage following the assassination. It, along with statements by Rowley, Taylor, Kinney and Hoover give insight into what happened to 100-X after it was returned to DC; that it was cleaned, windshield replaced, back carpeting replaced and ready for the road by early December, 1963. The "Ferguson Memo" was also the catalyst for the January 6, 1964 letter from Chief Rowley (CD-80) to the Warren Commission.Page One two three fourfive (Support documents to be added soon).
THE FBI CRIME LAB 11.23.63
(This section is under construction and will be amplified and/or corrected as additional information becomes available.)After the assassination evidence began to filter in to the FBI Crime Lab. The Lab, actually a division of the FBI, was in 1963 located in the Justice Building, not far from the White House. It took up an entire floor of the building, approximately 130,000 sqare feet. In the famous Lab, known throughout the country to have the finest state-of-the-art equipment and testing facilities, there were several Units to which evidence was funneled. The first piece of evidence to arrive was the "magic bullet" found on a stretcher at Parkland Hospital in Dallas. It was carried back to DC by SS agent Richard Johnson who flew on Air Force One. At approximately 7:30 p.m. it was delivered to SA Elmer Todd at the FBI Lab. After going through the recording and cataloguing process for new evidence in the FBI Lab it was designated "Q1" for "Questionable Origin", and turned over to the Lab's Firearms and Toolmark Unit and their Lead Examiner Robert Frazier. Mr. Frazier and this Unit would, during the two days following the assassination, become the central to testing of the ballistic evidence used to connect Lee Harvey Oswald to the crimes of murdering President Kennedy and Patrolman J.D. Tippit.
SS-100-X was returned to the White House Garage at 9 p.m. At that time the SS retrieved the two 'front seat fragments'. These fragments were taken to the FBI Lab, where they became Q2 and Q3. During the autopsy, two fragments were given to FBI agents Sibert and O'Neill, who took them to the FBI Lab at approximately 12:45 a.m. after leaving Bethesda Hospital. These fragments were labelled Q4 and Q5. Evidence was flown in from Dallas during the night. There are conflicting reports regarding when the evidence arrived. The rang of time during which they most likely arrived is 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. These items became Q6-13 and K1-3(K means 'known' origin). The only two pieces of evidence from the limo exam were labelled Q14 and Q15. Here is the Lab Report prepared by SA Frazier (BX identifies him here). The limo diagrams were prepared in conjunction with this lab report, which carries the same FBI File Number "PC-78243". This copy of the Lab Report is from Jesse Curry (DPD Chief's) book "JFK Assassination File", pp. 90-94.One, two, three, four, five.
WARREN COMMISSION REENACTMENT
The car was in condition to be used in any re-enactments of the assassination the Secret Service or Warren Commission might hold. That 100X was not used in the re-enactments, and instead inappropriate vehicles were substitued, gives clear indication of the agenda for the vehicle -- treat it as though it is not evidence, and people will forget. Ironically, the data obtained from the re-enactments is irretrievably flawed because 100X was not used. The Warren Commission used an incorrect measurement by pronouncing the clearance from jump seat to door to be 6 inches. The actual measurement, as shown in the HSCA diagram II-19, was 2.5 inches. For that reason (and for the incorrect height differential) the first "Single Bullet" scenario was never proven.
Beyond the critical timeline of 100X, which ended late in the afternoon on 11/23/63 when the car was cleaned up for the first time and security removed, there is an incident being put forth by MIDP, involving a supposed windshield-switch on 11/25/63 that took place, not in the White House garage, but nearly 1000 miles away, at an Assembly plant(Building B) in Dearborn Michigan. Click here for questions on the issues raised by this unusual theory, which archivists at the Ford Motor Company and researchers at the Henry Ford Museum have found to be filled with conflicts and errors. The Ford Motor Company has many assembly plants located around the country; many of them are nearly identical to the B Building at the Ford River Rouge Complex. Ironically, the Rouge will open for tours in 2004, so hopefully some of those touting this theory will take time to see where this event was supposed to have taken place. One of the FMC assembly plants is located in Minnesota -- Click here for a tour through the Ford Motor Company Twin Cities Assembly Plant.
Click here or on the thumbnail photo to see a full-sized photo of the limousine SS-100-X as it stands today in the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. As you can see from the large photo, the privacy window is in place. However, look at the metal frame around it and compare that with the metal frame in the motorcade photo at the top of the page. What do you think? I've also added two photos that Pamela McElwain-Brown took of the limo at Dearborn. The first is of the second windshield , the second of the limo itself.
Click here for page one of a newly-released document 180-10120-10021. It presents evidence that the privacy window was installed at the time the limo was delivered to the White House, but then may have been removed in September, 1961. However, the supporting pages to this document refer to the D-2 fix, which supposedly took place following the assassination. What do you think?Page two, Page three, Page four, Page five, Page six, Page seven, Page eight
THE ORIGINS OF SS-100-XSS-100-X was built by the Lincoln-Mercury Division of the Ford Motor Company. It was assembled in their Wixom, Michigan plant. SS-100-X started out as a 1961 Lincoln Continental Convertible. At the Experimental Garage at the Ford Proving Grounds, the car that became SS-100-X was stretched 41 inches and the frame was strengthened to accommodate the additional length and weight. The car was then shipped to Hess and Eisenhardt where it was upholstered. Nothing about the original SS-100-X was bulletproof or bullet-resistant in any way. The windshield was a standard two-ply safety glass windshield for which a replacement could be found at any Lincoln dealership or any automotive glass replacement shop. When it was first delivered to the White House on June 15, 1961 it was 255" long, had a wheelbase of 156", was 78.6" wide and 57" high and weighed 7,800 lbs. Its engine was a 430 cubic inch V-8. The jumpseats were set in and down; exact measurements are not found in any Ford Motor Company or government publication. It had a special short-turn radius (61.9', compared to 64 feet on the 1950 Eisenhower 'Bubbletop' which had been its predecessor), which should have enabled its turning gracefully onto Elm Street (although the 120-degree dogleg turn was supposed to have been forbidden by SS protocols). However, in the Zapruder film (full version, MPI Video) we see the car swing to the right in front of the TSBD. The short-turn radius was of no help here.
Recommended Sites and Resources
For extensive footage of the Presidential Limousines, including SS100X, the JFK Limo, order "Presidential Limousines" through this site and many other valuable books through Last Hurrah Bookstore . Much of the footage comes from motorcades, the rest from the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. The Henry Ford Museum, which has not only the line of Presidential Limousines, but trains, planes and appliances from 1900 on, is a fascinating place for adults and young people to visit when you are in the Dearborn area. The Museum also has research services that you can schedule to visit (and pay hefty copying fees and wait for weeks to receive them) to do research on any Ford-related subjects. They also have research services, for which they charge, available by mail.
"22 November 1963" by Brad Back is a timeline of events on that fateful day. The book draws from many hard-to-find sources of information. Within this manuscript is a frame-by-frame analysis of the Zapruder film. Although the author does show a leaning toward the "driver-did-it" theory, the timeline data is valuable no matter what you believe.
Click here for additional information on this manuscript, including ordering instructions:
Valid research is based on an ability to think independently of other people and sources. A familiarity with the basics of critical thinking and logic are an asset. There are textbooks and online resources available to assist; one example is "A Concise Introduction to Logic" by Hurley, Thompson Learning, 2000. If you have an academic background that involves doing research papers and or oral exams, and using citations for documents, this will help as well, as it is important to allow readers to independently investigate what you believe you have found. Investigate and catalogue all available information. Keeping a notebook log of your research activities, resources, sites, etc, can assist you in easily returning to a point in time to see what has been done. 3X5 cards can help in jotting down different events or information that can then be arranged chronologically or whatever will best suit your issue. It is important to keep an open mind until facts tend to present a hypothesis. At that point, it can be helpful to chose a "working hypothesis" to begin to weigh information for and against. It's perfectly ok to have more than one, and then at some point weigh them against each other. The opposite of this would be to pick one document and try to force all the other information to fit with it. Weigh both witness testimony and other forms of documentation to attempt to determine the probability of something being true. Look for and document the most logical process and alternatives first.
There is valid research and there is GIGO (garbage in/garbage out). Unfortunately, in many of the forums, and occasionally even at the level of a presentation, there will be information given where the person has not done their homework, gets backed into a corner, and through sheer ignorance puts forth theories that are bizarre. This is part of the environment and the possibility needs to be acknowledged. In some cases even *serious* researchers have been taken in by the persuasive but unfounded claims of someone able to present well. In addition, especially in the newsgroups and forums, you may find those who, for one reason or another, will attack you and whatever you put forth. It is no surprise that after 40 years there are so few answers -- there are some who seem to make it their business, whether for pay or as a vicious hobby, to do little more than try to stop the process cold. Also, there will be instances where you will see different schools of "the opposite of research" -- one being the "na na boo" school, where one person will be lording it over another; in a second, there is the "peek a boo" school, where a person shows bits and pieces of uncited documents and attempts to lure you into reacting as though it were valid research. In the third, there can be ongoing endless ad hominem and strawmen posts, where the person deliberately and repeatedly attacks a researcher, distorts their position, deliberately twist their words and repeatedly refuse to acknowledge what they are doing -- in other words 'pure barf'. Unfortunately, it's all part of the environment. The only hope is to at times define the environment or just step away from the group for a while.
In the worst-case-scenario you may be involved in a research fraud (the polite term is "disinformation"), where 'researchers' know perfectly well that the information they are presenting is without merit, yet they will continue to push it, at times developing an entire 'theory' or book regarding it. They will have a 'club' of other 'researchers' to 'support' them. Frequently, "disinfo fraud" is accompanied by ad hominem (personal) attacks on those who dare to criticize a bizarre theory. There may also be cooertion, leading or tampering with statements of witnesses involved, misuse of documentation, such as refusing to provide cites, producing only a small part of a document, using blackout or redaction, claiming secrecy for the sake of 'one's life work' or a 'future publication'. In truth, all documents can be cited without infringing on any copyright. In fact, documents put forth in a public domain such as a newsgroup or on a webpage should be completely documented so that others may access the same documents and decide for themselves what to believe, should they wish.
Another issue that researchers who are either interested only in promoting themselves or comfortable with really superficial research have is to pick and choose only the documentation that supports their position (whether the position has merit or not) and dismiss everything else. A narrow, or one-sided view of a subject can be persuasive to a naive audience; it can also lead to a form of witchhunt, with the one-sided 'documentation' used to fuel the fire. In order to guard against that (unless you truly want to try to make a name for yourself by destroying someone else's reputation) is to take a 'devil's advocate' position for any research you are preparing to present. Better yet, you can also ask a colleague to do this for you. Ask yourself what else might have happened; turn the situation around and look for alternatives. When you find information that contradicts or weakens your thesis, be courageous enough to acknowledge it and either work it into your presentation or perhaps modify or change your conclusions. There is a lot of muddy water in the JFK research community. However, research that lasts tends to be research that is robust. If you're interested in some of the newsgroup battles I've fought here is a link to Google Groups
Respect your mentors; that means all of the researchers whose finds have benefited the rest of the community, no matter what they believe. Honor your sources -- know what your citation is when you make a reference and do not misquote your sources. Show dignity to those you interview -- respect the age of most of the remaining witnesses to this event, and do not attempt to convince them their recollections must be in error; they were there, not you, and should be allowed their statements, even when they are not entirely correct; the pieces will fit together eventually. Trust nobody and nothing -- allow the facts and information to gradually convince you; reason for yourself. Resist taking flying leaps of faith -- insist on objective verification for anything you choose to believe. Stick with issues and stay away from personalities as much as possible. Remember, there is much information yet to be released. Whatever conclusions we may draw today, may change in the morning. And most importantly, don't take anyone's word for the theories they put forth; do your own research and think for youreslf. Good luck.
This photo of Donne (playing SS agent) and me were taken at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn. Behind us is the Presidential Limousine SS-100-X.The 2003 FoxNews anniversary program JFK: Case Not Closed was extremely well-received, and it was a privilege to be involved with it. It was the sole network (FoxNews) show with a conspiracy base. "The JFK Tech Effect", another program for which McElwain-Brown served as SS-100-X Historian will air on the History Channel, with a fascinating and compelling look at what could have happened on 11.22.63. It is part of the upcoming "Tech Effect" series.
"2002 Limousine Update" was enthusiastically-received at the NID conference, sponsored by JFKLancer. Thanks too for your terrific response to "SS-100-X", my chapter in the exciting book "Car Crash Culture"; it is available everywhere. Here is what one American reviewer had to say -- "Pamela McElwain-Brown’s “SS-100-X,” an exhaustive account of the limo Kennedy was riding in when he was assassinated, is one of the most compelling conspiracy-theory exercises I’ve ever read; imagine the entire national tragedy considered from the perspective of the car." Here is the complete review.