This Was The First President To Ride In A Car

These days, the president's car is a technologically-advanced, tricked-out machine designed with the goal of maintaining the president's safety at all costs. According to Luxury Launches, the presidential limo — a Cadillac, in case you were wondering — is basically bulletproof, bomb-proof, and even has medical equipment on board should the POTUS become injured or suffer a medical emergency. 

However, the president hasn't always traveled in a luxury automobile designed just for the person who holds the office, primarily because the job of President of the United States has existed for two and a half centuries, while the "horseless carriage" has only been around for about half of that time. Indeed, the first 24 presidents never got the chance to ride in a car, and it wasn't until after the turn of the 21st century that presidents riding in cars became a part of daily life for those who hold the office.

William McKinley was the first president to ride in a car

The first president to ride in an automobile was 25th president William McKinley, according to the archives of the Bill Clinton White House. It seems that the ride was not an official presidential activity, and indeed, from accounts of the event, it appears he had to be sweet-talked into setting foot in a horseless carriage. Further, the entire thing was done in private, according to Connecticut History. Specifically, as The Tribune Chronicle reports, the car was a Stanley Steamer, and inventor F.O. Stanley himself reportedly tried to soothe McKinley's fears about riding in the contraption. As it turns out, his fears were justified: the POTUS would later tell a friend that he wasn't feeling it at all. "Stanley's overoptimistic, I think, when he says those things will someday replace horses," he's rumored to have said.

The next presidential administration, that of Theodore Roosevelt, would solidify the automobile as a part of the president's life and image. He famously rode one through the streets of Hartford, Connecticut during an exposition about electricity, and the rest, as they say, is history.