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Jalopnik Challenges Authenticity of “JFK Ambulance”; Barrett-Jackson Sells Vehicle for $132,000 at Auction

January 23, 2011 by  

While not about original props and costumes from movies or television, this story is of interest in that it involves a public auction and public challenges over the authenticity of a high value item offered for sale – an ambulance said to have carried the body of President John F. Kennedy following his assassination in 1963 (Barrett-Jackson Lot: 1277 – 1963 PONTIAC BONNEVILLE AMBULANCE). 

In this case, news and opinion website jalopnik.com (essentially a Gizmodo-style website about cars) published articles Thursday and Friday challenging the authenticity of an ambulance offered for sale by the famous car auctioneer, Barrett-Jackson.

The news site called out the ambulance as a fake, and later published a detailed analysis based on work from the Professional Car Society as well as responses from the auction house.

The full story can be found at Jalopnik:

Barrett-Jackson published statement on Friday on their news website, but as of the writing of this article it appears to have been removed (though can still be read via Googe cache).  Below is an excerpt from their 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.

The Scottsadale Republic published a third-party account of the dispute between Barrett-Jackson and Jalopnik on Friday, the even of the auction, quoting Barrett-Jackson Chairman Craig Jackson stating “[w]e are not pulling this car” and suggesting the website staffers “go back to blogging in their basements“.

Per the Scottsdale Republic story:

A research librarian at the Kennedy library in Boston, who was not authorized to speak on the record, on Friday said library officials “were satisfied that the ambulance in question was destroyed.”

The full article can be found at azcentral.com:

Jason DeBord

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