As I was watching coverage of the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, I couldn’t help but notice what the elite consider the epitome of luxury one of the world’s most isolated countries: Detroit-made 1970s-era Lincolns.
The Leader’s body was strapped to the top of a mid-1970s Lincoln limousine. Looks to me like it is 1975 or 1976. Another almost identical car was being used for the Kim Jong Il billboard, lest anyone forget that dictators can indeed smile. We suspect one strong breeze or the rush of air from driving a little too fast could have toppled the sign.
As with most public ceremonies in the isolated nation, it was quite the show. It’s interesting to see Kim Jong’s successor, son Kim Jong Un, saluting at the the side of the Lincoln bearing his father’s casket. Like, when is the last time you saw a car with hideaway headlights?
Seeing wealthy North Korean leaders riding around in 40-year-old, but apparently still serviceable cars reminded me of that other Communist outpost led by its own dictator, Cuba. At least the best cars in North Korea are about 10 years newer than the average car in the island nation 90 miles from Florida.
If you want to see America’s presidential limousines that look approximately like the ones they are using today in North Korea, you have to go back six presidents (Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Reagan, Carter) to Gerald Ford.