Monday, December 24, 2012

Ho, Ho, Ho! Santa Arrives in the Car of Presidents!

John Holly Williams Collection -- LLF Library

John Holly Williams Collection -- LLF Library

"SANTA CLAUS ! What would a Christmas parade be without him? Santa is being escorted by Boy Scouts. No other information is available." -- Library caption.

The second photo featuring the same car -- a 1949 Lincoln Cosmopolitan two-door convertible -- is from a 1951 "unknown parade" in downtown Brookhaven. (This is most likely a 4-H parade from the summer of 1951.)

While no disrespect is intended: FORGET Santa Claus (who, by the way is probably the skinniest St. Nick I've EVER seen) -- the CAR is the real star here! 

This luxury vehicle was a rarity back then and would be quite valuable to collectors today.  It was known as "the car of Presidents" -- the White House ordered 19 examples, according to this link

Only 1,230 Lincoln Cosmopolitan convertibles were manufactured in the 1949 model year. The base price was $3,948, while a more family-oriented car, a Ford Tudor for example, sold for roughly $1,500. 

The car is a stand-out for other reasons. The model year 1949 was the first year post WWII of significant changes in car design, with streamlining and elimination of "pontoon" fenders. This car was heavy, weighing well over two tons, but the engine made up for it. Top-end it was fast, at 102 mph, it was the fastest car out there, though acceleration was understandably sluggish.

As for Brookhaven's own, the horn on the driver's side front fender, the only one I've seen in my research for this post, is most likely an option that was known as "Frenching" back in the day.
For car enthusiasts, here is a link to stills of a restored 1949 Cosmopolitan convertible in green.  To view a photo of President Truman's specially built 1949 Cosmopolitan, please see this link and also learn what not to do when a "loser" Presidential candidate asks for a courtesy car. (Read the blogger's disclaimer for some chuckles as well.) 

Probably the most intriguing bit of information in these two parade photos comes from the front license plate.  A close-up look and a search of the internet indicates that it says, "Harold's Club or Bust, Reno Nevada." 

Without knowing anything about the owner, I will not speculate as to how he came to buy this "car of cars."  To learn more about Harold's Club, which was the world's largest casino at the time, please click on this link.

If anyone recognizes this awesome automobile, or happens to know who the owner was, please leave me a message here or on Facebook. As always, if you recognize anyone in the 
photos, names and dates and other information are welcomed! 

And, Ho, Ho, Ho! Merry Christmas, Y'all!

This is the earliest photo I could find of this car, taken on April 1, 1949, during a 4-H Parade downtown Brookhaven.  That it was used by the 4-H Club of Heucks Retreat might help narrow down just who owned this vehicle.


  1. how can i freind request you on facebook?

    1. Shannon, I don't put my email address or Facebook information here because of trolls and spammers. If we have a mutual friend on FB, please find me that way.