Big Al's Presidental Limo


Just hours after Pearl Harbor was bombed on Sunday, December 7, 1941, (Hawaii was attacked at approximately 8AM local time; approximately 2PM in Washington DC). The Secret Service found themselves in a real quandry concerning President Franklin D. Roosevelt's security.

The next day, Monday, at 12:30pm, in the House of Representatives, President Roosevelt was to deliver his now famous "Day of Infamy" six-minute address to a joint session of Congress and a nationwide radio audience. And although the trip from the White House to Capitol Hill was short, agents weren’t sure how to transport him safely when no one was really sure who, what and where was safe from attack.

At the time, Federal Law prohibited buying cars that cost more than $750, and there was not enough time to obtain clearance from Congress to surpass the dollar limit. However, one member of the Secret Service discovered the U.S. Treasury had seized Al Capone’s bulletproof car when he was sent to jail in 1931.

Fortunately, the car was still available and locally accessible.  The Secret Service cleaned it, made sure it was running perfectly, and had it ready for the President the next day.  As a result, Al Capone's 1928 Cadillac V-8 Town Sedan became the first Presidental limo in December 1941.
Mechanics reportedly cleaned and checked each feature of the Caddy well into the night of December 7th to insure that it would run properly the next day for the Commander-in-Chief. And run properly it did. It had been painted black and green to look identical to Chicago’s police cars at the time. To top it off, the gangster’s 1928 Cadillac town sedan had 3,000 pounds of armor and inch-thick bulletproof windows.

 It also had a specially installed siren and flashing lights hidden behind the grill, along with a police scanner radio.

"Previous Owner."


The car sold at auction in 2012 for $341,000.

The Garagistry Team