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  #1  
Old 12-28-2011, 06:40 AM
Gregg D. Merksamer Gregg D. Merksamer is offline
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Default 1970s Lincolns (!?!) featured in Kim Jong Il's funeral

Insomnia, for once, was a useful thing to have at 1 am this morning, since CNN was breaking some truly-surreal Korean Central TV footage (supplied by Reuters) of Kim Jong Il's funeral procession through the snow-swept streets of Pyongyang. While CNN's talking heads focused on the loudly wailing - almost certainly stage-managed - crowds and the North Korean TV narrator's similarly emotional voiceover, the thing that inevitably caught my attention was the high-profile use of 1970s vintage Lincoln Continental stretch limousines as the hearse and two of the primary lead cars. How they ended up serving with a government that the U.S. is still technically at war with is anyone's guess - perhaps they came in by way of their number one trading partner China? - so I'll limit my analysis to those technical details I could actually glean from the TV.

The three Lincoln limos with the biggest role in the cortege were 1975 or 1976models, as established by the full rear fender skirts and the five heavy vertical bars separating the grille into six sections (1977-79 Continentals used a narrower, Mark V-style radiator, while open rear wheels distinguished 1978-up models). As it had no casket compartment, the limo used as the "Dear Leader's" hearse carried his sarcophagus on its roof, where it rested on a two-foot thick bed of white flowers that reminded me of an unswept snow pile thanks to the fuzzy TV footage and blizzard-like conditions. I would estimate this car had a wheelbase stretch of 36 inches or thereabouts, as did the limousine that carried a tremendous portrait of Kim Jong-Il on its roof. The "portrait" limo also sported oval, Mark IV-style opera windows, while a somewhat-shorter 1975-6 Lincoln mini-stretch (perhaps a 12-inch extension) followed behind with a similarly-outsized wreath on its roof.

One of the real kickers was my realization that the Dear Leader's "hearse limo" was definitely armored, as confirmed from the secondary chrome frame surrounding the slightly-open right front window (which fitted to keep the alternating layers of glass and bullet-resistant polycarbonate from delaminating), which was often in plain view at that early point in the proceedings when the "Great Successor" Kim Jong Un was walking beside the right front wheel. Some of the close-ups available at this juncture even show a rectangular coachbuilder's tag right behind him on the passenger side front fender. Though it's only an educated hunch, I would swear this tag had the same proportions as the ones used by Earle Moloney's Illinois-based limousine and armoring concern in the time period when this car was built.

As for other cars of interest in the Pyongyang procession, I also couldn't help but be intrigued a mid-1990s Lincoln Town Car that had been converted into a camera platform, while even the most-casual CNN viewers are certain to be appalled by the sight of several dozen gleaming black, brand-new or nearly-new S-Class and E-Class Mercedes sedans. Only the even-larger contingent of white VW Passat sedans (late-1990s style and possibly Chinese built) that followed the Benzes seemed sincerely proletarian. At least they ALL matched, unlike many U.S. funeral corteges!
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Old 12-28-2011, 08:28 AM
David Smith David Smith is offline
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Looks like the same Lincoln used for his fathers funeral (Kim Il-Sung) in 1994.

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Old 12-28-2011, 09:10 AM
John Royark JR John Royark JR is offline
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At the exact moment I started reading this post, they showed the makeshift hearse on Good Morning America. Very cool. I hope better shots of the coach/limo surface soon. They also mentioned about the people wailing. I thought it was staged too, I heard somewhere some contry actually hires people to do this. Our society is just taught to not display thid kind of grief that when other contries do it it seems over dramatic.
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Old 12-28-2011, 09:26 AM
Kenneth Orr Kenneth Orr is offline
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Default 70,s Lincoln

Strapped his crusty ol'butt to the top of an old lincoln.......no respect 'the Lincoln deserves much better....
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Old 12-28-2011, 09:28 AM
Dwayne Brooks Dwayne Brooks is offline
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I've also been looking for some good images to post of these Lincolns. Looks like 3 were used, the first with Kim Jong Il's large photo on the roof, the second with some sort of ornate decoration, and the third with his casket on the roof...



Surprising close-up image of the Lincoln with Casket atop...


Last edited by Dwayne Brooks; 12-28-2011 at 09:43 AM. Reason: added second photo
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Old 12-28-2011, 10:27 AM
Gregg D. Merksamer Gregg D. Merksamer is offline
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Regarding David Smith's assertion that the stretch Lincoln topped with the funeral bier was the same car used for Kim Il Sung in 1994, the finned-style wheel covers and oval opera windows in the D-pillars actually correlate to the sister car that carried Kim Jong Il's oversize portrait in yesterday's procession. The footage he's posted has usually confirmed that car is armored as well, since it has window frames within the window frames.
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Old 12-28-2011, 11:38 AM
David Smith David Smith is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gregg D. Merksamer View Post
Regarding David Smith's assertion that the stretch Lincoln topped with the funeral bier was the same car used for Kim Il Sung in 1994, the finned-style wheel covers and oval opera windows in the D-pillars actually correlate to the sister car that carried Kim Jong Il's oversize portrait in yesterday's procession. The footage he's posted has usually confirmed that car is armored as well, since it has window frames within the window frames.
I wouldn't use the word "assertion". I said "looks like". Such as the chromed headlamps covers. The few photos I've seen have all been fairly blurry or poor resolution from video captures.

It does appear that they have a few of these Lincolns. I do agree that they are probably Maloney or maybe even Armbruster Stageway limos.
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Old 12-28-2011, 11:50 AM
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John ED Renstrom John ED Renstrom is offline
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the only good thing I can say is these countries take pride in the quality of the car not how new it is. it is not the exception but the norm to find 40 year old cars looking like new. driving on the streets. our sign of wealth here is to replace old with new. throw away a perfectly good car because it old and we don't want to be perceived as not being able to afford better.

that and what other choice did they, have one of there butt ugly trucks. not a lot of stuff over there big enough to do the job.
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Old 12-28-2011, 01:13 PM
Dwayne Brooks Dwayne Brooks is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Smith View Post
I wouldn't use the word "assertion". I said "looks like". Such as the chromed headlamps covers. The few photos I've seen have all been fairly blurry or poor resolution from video captures.

It does appear that they have a few of these Lincolns. I do agree that they are probably Maloney or maybe even Armbruster Stageway limos.
David, I also noticed the special chrome headlight visors instead of standard hideaway headlight covers... yet those chrome visors DO retract. Notice in this photo all 4 headlights are completely unobstructed and the visors have retracted:



*EDIT* the headlight covers are crested in the center and are chrome, they are closed in this close-up :

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Old 12-28-2011, 01:38 PM
Jay Maynard Jay Maynard is offline
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I would be scared to death as I was driving that thing that the casket was going to slide off. A imagine whatever was securing it up there was good enough though. Casket also looks to be oversize, owing not so much to the size of the body but for visual effect.
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