The first six years of Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidential administration was focused on his New Deal recovery programs following the Great Depression. Halfway through his second of four presidential terms, his focus shifted to the increasing turmoil in continental Europe.
It was during this two difficult times in history (the Great Depression and World War II), that Cadillac and its coachworks Fleetwood were tasked with special order 9006 - two virtually identical 16-cylinder open limousines to be constructed on a 165-inch wheelbase platform. The vehicles were 11-inches longer than a standard V-16 Cadillac. Powering the cars were Cadillac's 135-degree, L-head V16 engine offering 135 horsepower from 431 cubic-inches. Each bank had its own distributor, carburetor and manifolds. The engine was six inches shorter, 13 inches lower and 250 pounds lighter than its overhead valve predecessor and had significantly fewer parts. It had a smaller displacement but still produced the same power.
Both of the special order 9006 cars were used by the White House. The two examples were chassis number 5270064 and 5270075 (this cars). The cars reportedly were built with armor-plating, helping the car tip the scales at 8,000 lbs. They were given special running boards, grab handles, communication equipment, special compartments for firearm storage, sirens and lights.
The cars were leased by Cadillac to the United States government and both were used through 1956 as part of the White House fleet to carry Secret Service agents or directly chauffeur the President. One was nicknamed the 'Queen Mary' (this car, chassis 5720075) and the other 'Queen Elizabeth,' a reference to the large cruise ships of the same name.
After FDR's death, the two cars were enlisted for use by the Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower administration. In 1950, Truman took delivery of two Lincoln 'Bubbletop' limousines, but both Cadillacs remained in the official fleet. Unlike in modern times, the cars were not flown to their destinations, but were driven across the country to meet the President as he arrived by airplane.
During the time the Cadillacs were in service for the president, they were often updated and rebuilt by Cadillac as necessary. Both cars had their bodies removed from the chassis, and every component were examined, including the running gear. After World War II, the V-16 engines were replaced with L-head V8s, which in turn were replaced by 331 cubic-inch OHV V8s in 1952. Currently, both cars still retain their OHV V8s that were installed in the early 1950s.
After the presidential duties were served, the 'Queen Mary' was purchased directly from Cadillac by Mr. Jack Tallman, a third-generation Cadillac dealer from Decatur, Illinois. Prior to the purchase, the car was used through the re-election in November 1956 of President Eisenhower.
The Tallman family has owned the car for over four decades, during which time they have added around 30,000 to 40,000 miles to the odometer.
In May of 1999, Mr. Tallman sold the car at auction to Mr. Al Wiseman. In 2002 it was shown at the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance, where it received an award for the best original and unrestored automobile. Years later, the car joined the John O'Quinn collection.
The car has replica pistols and rifles, as well as two telephones, gun holsters, fender-mounted red siren, step plates, and grab-handles. The 331 CID engine offers 210 horsepower and is mated to a three-speed manual transmission. There is a coil spring independent front suspension and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes.
In 2012, the car was offered for sale at RM Auction's Scottsdale, Arizona auction. It was estimated to sell for $300,000 - $400,000. As bidding came to a close, the car had been sold for the sum of $269,500 inclusive of buyer's premium.