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"The JFK Ambulance is a Fake"


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Hi Barb,

I'm glad this is getting some publicity in the media.

Below my typed signature is a letter I wrote to Steve Davis, President of Barrett-Jackson Auctions, LLC--the outfit conducting the auction of this so called "Kennedy ambulance", obtained from an apparently well-to-do third party, who stands to make a pretty penny off its sale. Those who may share my irritation at the memory of President Kennedy (and the mis-use of the iconology of this event) will perhaps excuse the somewhat sarcastic “edge” to my communication to the president of this company.

I do hope that this item is withdrawn from auction, or, if auctioned, characterized as what it really is (or appears to be): what Paul Hoch has characterized as a "twin"--a restored vehicle of the same make and model as the vehicle which met Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base at about 6 PM, on November 22, 1963: that, and nothing more.

Since it has now been discovered (by Steve Lichtman, of the Professional Car Society, and as explained in the article you've linked to) that based on Kennedy Library Records, the original vehicle was crushed, under the aegis of the Kennedy Library--crushed at a Boston junkyard, on June 26, 1986, with beautiful color photographs to document that event--this vehicle cannot possibly be "the real deal." (Of course, there are those who will argue that the Kennedy Library crushed the "wrong" vehicle, and that this is the genuine article.)

As I said at the end of my letter to Mr. Davis, I hope these auctioneers have good "E & O" (Errors and Omissions) insurance, because they may well need it if they go forward with this travesty.

Remember the saying "its as phony as a $3 bill?" Well, that's because (as Mark Twain would have said) there IS no such thing as a three-dollar bill. The same reasoning applies to this so-called "Kennedy ambulance."

By any reasonable interpretation of the available evidence, its a counterfeit.

As to motive, you don't have to be Karl Marx to know the answer to that one: Follow the Money.

(Even Lee Harvey Oswald could have told you that!)

DSL

1/21/1011

Los Angeles, CA

12:10 AM PST

* * * BELOW HERE - - TEXT OF MY LETTER (of 1/19/11) TO STEVE DAVIS * * *

Dear Steve Davis,

I'm not much of a car buff, but your Scottsdale auction has been brought to my attention, and, in particular, the naval ambulance that supposedly met Air Force One when it returned from Dallas on November 22, 1963.

As the author of BEST EVIDENCE--an important book on the Kennedy assassination, which was a Book of the Month Club selection, a NY Times best seller, and a book which stayed in print (through four separate publishers) for 17 years, I have a keen interest in these events (and in that ambulance).

Chapter 16 of Best Evidence --devoted to events pertaining to that ambulance--describes what happened when that ambulance (carrying Jacqueline Kennedy, and Attorney General Robert Kennedy, and the flag-draped coffin) arrived at the front entrance of Bethesda Naval Hospital at 6:55 PM on the night of November 22, 1963.

I don't want to bore you with the details—they are really not important to this letter—except to say that immediately after the ambulance dropped off Jacqueline Kennedy and RFK, there was considerable confusion during the next hour, in connection with the delivery of the coffin to the rear entrance, where the morgue was located. In fact, the Navy used two ambulances during the next hour—one being "the decoy"—and that entire story (why a "decoy" was used, and what happened in the hour before the coffin was delivered and the autopsy began)—is what my chapter 16 is all about.

Anyway, when I heard about your auction, and learned that the documentation offered in support of the authenticity of this vehicle was a letter from one Admiral Hogan, who was NOT the Surgeon General at the time [he was, two years earlier—dsl], I immediately became suspicious that this ambulance being auctioned was not in fact the genuine article, but rather some "twin" that was restored, and that someone was now seeking to make money by foisting this vehicle on the public as "the real deal."

No doubt if it was the genuine vehicle, it might command a price in the hundreds of thousands of dollars; but if it is inauthentic, then what we have here is not just a "restored" vehicle, but a crime.

I pointed out to others pursuing this matter that if this vehicle proved to be inauthentic, then it wasn't just a matter of someone having fabricated a letter from "Admiral Hogan". But that, in addition, the forgery went deeper: that whoever did this had to fabricate a false naval identification plate and affix it to the vehicle.

So, if the vehicle was a "twin" and not the genuine article, this would not longer be some kind of prank, but serious fraud, involving the falsification of a "naval ID" for a military vehicle. I don't know exactly what laws would be violated, but surely a most elementary analysis would indicate that, if the mails were used, we are immediately talking about conspiracy, mail fraud, etc.

Of course, this was all somewhat hypothetical until the events of the last 24-48 hours.

Attached is a scan of a color photograph --obtained by Steve Lichtman (of the Professional Car Society) from official files at the Kennedy library--showing that this specific naval vehicle was destroyed by crushing on June 26, 1986, at a Boston junkyard, after approval was sought to do so from the Archivist of the United States.

Also attached is a JFK Library chronology of the key events pertaining to the destruction of this vehicle.

The person who assisted the government archivists in pursuing this matter is the aforementioned Steve Lichtman of the Professional Car Society; and these documents were just sent to him in the last 48 hours. ( You can reach Steve Lichtman—who is on the Board of Directors of the Professional Car Society, at [private info deleted--dsl.)

Now that it is—for all practical purposes—proven that the original ambulance was destroyed on June 26, 1986, it appears evident that the one being auctioned cannot be authentic.

But more than that—it seems to me at least, and based on the evidence offered in support of its authenticity, that it is all fabricated.

This means that the Hogan letter is a forgery.

It also means that the naval ID plate affixed to this vehicle is a forgery.

Specifically, that means that someone went to the trouble of counterfeiting this naval ID plate, and then affixing it to this vehicle.

While I wouldn't want to say that fabricating a naval ID plate was in the same league as counterfeiting United States currency, it is certainly not a proper thing to do, and is very possible illegal.

Since I am not a lawyer, and have never worked in a prosecutor's office, I do not know how many individual crimes were committed in connection with the fabrication of this vehicle, and its fraudulent presentation as being genuine. Certainly, there is conspiracy, and intent to defraud, and perhaps there are other laws that were violated since someone went to the trouble of falsifying the naval ID plate, which is (or was) after all, government property.

Perhaps, if you would call the FBI, or the Department of Justice, they might have people who could advise you on this matter--i.e., on the subject of just how many illegalities were committed here, that resulted in this bogus vehicle sporting all this bogus "authentication."

Of course, if —despite all the evidence of in-authenticity (not to mention deliberate fraud)—the auction of this vehicle still goes forward, I would think that the seller would have serious legal exposure.

What I do know is that anyone who went to the trouble of fabricating all this evidence, has little respect for history; and, specifically, the iconology connected with a major event in this country's history: the assassination of President Kennedy.

Anyone who had respect for history, or for the seriousness of this event, would never set out to create a counterfeit vehicle, plus the bogus documents and naval ID plate that attest (falsely) to its authenticity.

I do hope this item will not be auctioned—and that perhaps you will consider reporting the details to the authorities who might conduct an investigation to identify the perpetrators of this fraud.

Sincerely,

David S. Lifton

Author, BEST EVIDENCE

Edited by David Lifton
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According to ABC15.com of Phoenix/Scottsdale:

Barrett Jackson is holding a press conference (today) at 11:30 a.m. MST.

ABC15/KNXV in Phoenix called Barrett Jacskon, but they did not release any information

regarding the JFK ambulance or what the press conference will address.

http://www.abc15.com/dpp/news/region_northeast_valley/scottsdale/jfk-ambulance-at-scottsdale-auction-fake

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In the video he claims this ambulance took JFK from Andrews to the White House... in fact even the news caster repeats that.

It gets corrected but...

Was there another ambulance, this ambulance maybe, that took him from Bethesda to the White House the next morning?... or is this simply mis-speaking?

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Hi Barb,

I'm glad this is getting some publicity in the media.

Below my typed signature is a letter I wrote to Steve Davis, President of Barrett-Jackson Auctions, LLC--the outfit conducting the auction of this so called "Kennedy ambulance", obtained from an apparently well-to-do third party, who stands to make a pretty penny off its sale. Those who may share my irritation at the memory of President Kennedy (and the mis-use of the iconology of this event) will perhaps excuse the somewhat sarcastic “edge” to my communication to the president of this company.

I do hope that this item is withdrawn from auction, or, if auctioned, characterized as what it really is (or appears to be): what Paul Hoch has characterized as a "twin"--a restored vehicle of the same make and model as the vehicle which met Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base at about 6 PM, on November 22, 1963: that, and nothing more.

Since it has now been discovered (by Steve Lichtman, of the Professional Car Society, and as explained in the article you've linked to) that based on Kennedy Library Records, the original vehicle was crushed, under the aegis of the Kennedy Library--crushed at a Boston junkyard, on June 26, 1986, with beautiful color photographs to document that event--this vehicle cannot possibly be "the real deal." (Of course, there are those who will argue that the Kennedy Library crushed the "wrong" vehicle, and that this is the genuine article.)

As I said at the end of my letter to Mr. Davis, I hope these auctioneers have good "E & O" (Errors and Omissions) insurance, because they may well need it if they go forward with this travesty.

Remember the saying "its as phony as a $3 bill?" Well, that's because (as Mark Twain would have said) there IS no such thing as a three-dollar bill. The same reasoning applies to this so-called "Kennedy ambulance."

By any reasonable interpretation of the available evidence, its a counterfeit.

As to motive, you don't have to be Karl Marx to know the answer to that one: Follow the Money.

(Even Lee Harvey Oswald could have told you that!)

DSL

1/21/1011

Los Angeles, CA

12:10 AM PST

* * * BELOW HERE - - TEXT OF MY LETTER (of 1/19/11) TO STEVE DAVIS * * *

Dear Steve Davis,

I'm not much of a car buff, but your Scottsdale auction has been brought to my attention, and, in particular, the naval ambulance that supposedly met Air Force One when it returned from Dallas on November 22, 1963.

As the author of BEST EVIDENCE--an important book on the Kennedy assassination, which was a Book of the Month Club selection, a NY Times best seller, and a book which stayed in print (through four separate publishers) for 17 years, I have a keen interest in these events (and in that ambulance).

Chapter 16 of Best Evidence --devoted to events pertaining to that ambulance--describes what happened when that ambulance (carrying Jacqueline Kennedy, and Attorney General Robert Kennedy, and the flag-draped coffin) arrived at the front entrance of Bethesda Naval Hospital at 6:55 PM on the night of November 22, 1963.

I don't want to bore you with the details—they are really not important to this letter—except to say that immediately after the ambulance dropped off Jacqueline Kennedy and RFK, there was considerable confusion during the next hour, in connection with the delivery of the coffin to the rear entrance, where the morgue was located. In fact, the Navy used two ambulances during the next hour—one being "the decoy"—and that entire story (why a "decoy" was used, and what happened in the hour before the coffin was delivered and the autopsy began)—is what my chapter 16 is all about.

Anyway, when I heard about your auction, and learned that the documentation offered in support of the authenticity of this vehicle was a letter from one Admiral Hogan, who was NOT the Surgeon General at the time [he was, two years earlier—dsl], I immediately became suspicious that this ambulance being auctioned was not in fact the genuine article, but rather some "twin" that was restored, and that someone was now seeking to make money by foisting this vehicle on the public as "the real deal."

No doubt if it was the genuine vehicle, it might command a price in the hundreds of thousands of dollars; but if it is inauthentic, then what we have here is not just a "restored" vehicle, but a crime.

I pointed out to others pursuing this matter that if this vehicle proved to be inauthentic, then it wasn't just a matter of someone having fabricated a letter from "Admiral Hogan". But that, in addition, the forgery went deeper: that whoever did this had to fabricate a false naval identification plate and affix it to the vehicle.

So, if the vehicle was a "twin" and not the genuine article, this would not longer be some kind of prank, but serious fraud, involving the falsification of a "naval ID" for a military vehicle. I don't know exactly what laws would be violated, but surely a most elementary analysis would indicate that, if the mails were used, we are immediately talking about conspiracy, mail fraud, etc.

Of course, this was all somewhat hypothetical until the events of the last 24-48 hours.

Attached is a scan of a color photograph --obtained by Steve Lichtman (of the Professional Car Society) from official files at the Kennedy library--showing that this specific naval vehicle was destroyed by crushing on June 26, 1986, at a Boston junkyard, after approval was sought to do so from the Archivist of the United States.

Also attached is a JFK Library chronology of the key events pertaining to the destruction of this vehicle.

The person who assisted the government archivists in pursuing this matter is the aforementioned Steve Lichtman of the Professional Car Society; and these documents were just sent to him in the last 48 hours. ( You can reach Steve Lichtman—who is on the Board of Directors of the Professional Car Society, at [private info deleted--dsl.)

Now that it is—for all practical purposes—proven that the original ambulance was destroyed on June 26, 1986, it appears evident that the one being auctioned cannot be authentic.

But more than that—it seems to me at least, and based on the evidence offered in support of its authenticity, that it is all fabricated.

This means that the Hogan letter is a forgery.

It also means that the naval ID plate affixed to this vehicle is a forgery.

Specifically, that means that someone went to the trouble of counterfeiting this naval ID plate, and then affixing it to this vehicle.

While I wouldn't want to say that fabricating a naval ID plate was in the same league as counterfeiting United States currency, it is certainly not a proper thing to do, and is very possible illegal.

Since I am not a lawyer, and have never worked in a prosecutor's office, I do not know how many individual crimes were committed in connection with the fabrication of this vehicle, and its fraudulent presentation as being genuine. Certainly, there is conspiracy, and intent to defraud, and perhaps there are other laws that were violated since someone went to the trouble of falsifying the naval ID plate, which is (or was) after all, government property.

Perhaps, if you would call the FBI, or the Department of Justice, they might have people who could advise you on this matter--i.e., on the subject of just how many illegalities were committed here, that resulted in this bogus vehicle sporting all this bogus "authentication."

Of course, if —despite all the evidence of in-authenticity (not to mention deliberate fraud)—the auction of this vehicle still goes forward, I would think that the seller would have serious legal exposure.

What I do know is that anyone who went to the trouble of fabricating all this evidence, has little respect for history; and, specifically, the iconology connected with a major event in this country's history: the assassination of President Kennedy.

Anyone who had respect for history, or for the seriousness of this event, would never set out to create a counterfeit vehicle, plus the bogus documents and naval ID plate that attest (falsely) to its authenticity.

I do hope this item will not be auctioned—and that perhaps you will consider reporting the details to the authorities who might conduct an investigation to identify the perpetrators of this fraud.

Sincerely,

David S. Lifton

Author, BEST EVIDENCE

They are going ahead with the auction anyway! Unbelievable. - Joe Backes

Executives at Barrett-Jackson Auction Company have finally released a statement about the 1963 Pontiac Bonneville they’re selling as the ambulance that transported John F. Kennedy from Air Force One to the Capitol after his death. Subsequent reports have brought into question whether or not this particular ambulance is a fake.

As of now, Barrett-Jackson is standing behind its research and says it will offer the car for sale tomorrow as planned. Here’s the key part from the Barrett-Jackson statement:

Despite all our diligence on this issue, we are unable to either confirm or refute with certainty whether the vehicle offered for sale at auction tomorrow was in fact the vehicle that transported President Kennedy’s casket and his family members. Based on all research and our conversations with experts around the country, we do not believe there is a person alive who can answer this question with certainty.

Here’s the complete statement:

“The sale of this vehicle has received media attention from around the world. It has also generated considerable dialogue among and interest from Kennedy historians and even enthusiasts dedicated to the preservation and study of historical ambulances.

As you know, we work diligently to verify to the best of our ability the representations of consignors on every vehicle we offer for sale. In the case of this vehicle, we applied a heightened level of scrutiny because of its historical significance.

The tragic events of November 1963 surrounding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy are some of the most significant in our nation’s history. We are respectful of this fact and are presenting this car for sale with that in mind.

There has been a great deal of discussion about the history of this car at the auction site, in the media, and on various discussion boards on the Internet. Some of that discussion has been very useful in helping both us and the consignor clarify the description of the car. For example, there has been conflicting information about whether the ambulance took the President’s casket and family members from Andrews Air Force Base to Bethesda Naval Hospital and then to the U.S. Capitol building or to the White House. Different versions of these events were even recorded in multiple Associated Press stories in November 1963.

As an auction company, we do not hold ourselves out to be historians, and certainly not experts in the particular history surrounding the unfortunate events of November 1963. There are many people who have dedicated their professional lives to studying the events of this period, and even in that context there remains a great deal of disagreement about many key facts.

As with many other facts related to this topic, the particular details surrounding the history of this ambulance will remain shrouded in mystery for years to come.

For example, there are credible reports that indicate there were two 1963 Pontiac Bonneville ambulances involved in the events of the night of Nov. 23, 1963, with one actually carrying President Kennedy’s casket and family members and the other acting as a diversion.

There is documentation—available for you to review here today—that directly ties the Naval Registration number of the vehicle used to transport President Kennedy’s remains to the physical identification numbers that are stamped in multiple places on the vehicle consigned to our auction.

There are also credible reports—and even photos—that suggest a 1963 Pontiac Bonneville ambulance involved in the situation was ordered to be destroyed in the mid-1980s. Some believe this was the original “JFK Ambulance” while others believe there is not enough proof to link the particular vehicle that was crushed with the one that actually carried the President’s casket.

Since this vehicle was consigned to our auction, we have fielded dozens of inquiries from around the country and reviewed countless documents submitted by interested parties, including our consignor.

Despite all our diligence on this issue, we are unable to either confirm or refute with certainty whether the vehicle offered for sale at auction tomorrow was in fact the vehicle that transported President Kennedy’s casket and his family members. Based on all research and our conversations with experts around the country, we do not believe there is a person alive who can answer this question with certainty.

What we can tell you today is that Barrett-Jackson’s team has physically examined this particular vehicle in great detail. We have confirmed that the historical documentation provided by the consignor matches the results of our physical inspection. For example, we were able to locate and confirm that the engine block does have an engine serial number matching the VIN. We have examined each location of tags and stampings on the vehicle and have compared our findings to the consignor’s documentation. We even located the “hidden VIN” on the vehicle chassis, and confirmed it matched the documentation as well.

These various physical inspections have been performed not just by Barrett-Jackson’s own collector car experts, but also by third-party automotive experts and even members of federal law enforcement.

There will always be a great deal of discussion and speculation around this vehicle and the events surrounding this important time in our nation’s history. We will offer the vehicle for sale tomorrow and invite interested parties to bid with all of this in mind, and based on their own research and examination of the car.”

The car (Lot # 1277, to be sold at No Reserve) is part of the 40th Annual Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction from Jan. 17-23, at WestWorld of Scottsdale.

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The ambulance just sold at Barrett-Jackson for $120,000. Far below what the seller was expecting.

Does anyone know if the same ambulance was used both in bringing the casket from Andrews to Bethesda, and from Bethesda to the White House? These ambulances were part of a motor pool, and it's possible that two different ones were used. I can't find any photos from the White House arrival scene that show the numbers clear enough to tell. It could be that the crushed ambulance was that one if they used two.

Edited by J. William King
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The ambulance just sold at Barrett-Jackson for $120,000. Far below what the seller was expecting.

Does anyone know if the same ambulance was used both in bringing the casket from Andrews to Bethesda, and from Bethesda to the White House? These ambulances were part of a motor pool, and it's possible that two different ones were used. I can't find any photos from the White House arrival scene that show the numbers clear enough to tell. It could be that the crushed ambulance was that one if they used two.

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