Like the presidential race, Ground Force One stirs debate

Whether you’re celebrating the recent election of the 45th President of the Unites States or you’re so angry that you’re contemplating a move to Canada, take a deep breath and imagine that you’re the new Commander in Chief. Which car would choose as Ground Force One?

We flew that question on the social media flagpole this week, and there were as many opinions as there were campaign promises. From odd to impractical to serious to bizarre, we saw it all – which was a lot like the 2016 presidential campaign.

Donald Bond (“Bond. Donald Bond”) got things started by casting his vote for a luxurious British automobile (of course), a “Rolls Royce Phantom V with the writer’s desk removed from in front of the passengers and replaced with a rack of ARs (assault rifles) and ammo. Sometimes you have to protect yourself because the only person you can trust is yourself.”

Kenneth Lawson suggested the Marauder, an armored vehicle currently in use by the U.S. military. He had one stipulation: “I’m driving!” Daniel Moreland (or perhaps it was Westmoreland?) followed suit by selecting an M-1 Abrams tank, although we hear the leg room in that thing is pretty cramped.

Many of you approached the question from an “out of the box” perspective. Rick Pace, for instance, may have taken into account that the presidential car is commonly referred to as “The Beast.” He chose a well-known monster truck, “Grave Digger,” as his ideal POTUS vehicle. Simeon Tauber turned to George Lucas, a guy who knows a thing or two about specialty vehicles, and suggested a “Star Wars hovercraft.” Thanks for that, Simeon. May the Force be with you.

This head-scratching nomination came from John Coulston: “… Rolls Royce, only on every other Tuesday. Because I would also want … the latest, best electric cars, which will of course be given away absolutely free in a nationwide drawing whenever a new one comes out. This will be (the) only ever make and model that is sold here in the USA!” Now there’s an interesting platform.

Some of you went retro. Among the classic cars mentioned were a 1950 Chevrolet 3100 panel truck, 1955 Cadillac Fleetwood, 1959 Chevy Apache truck, 1965 Lincoln Continental, 1966 Chrysler Imperial, 1966 Ford Mustang Fastback (“with me as the driver,” Davey Short wrote), 1967 Pontiac GTO, 1987 Buick GNX, 1970s Pontiac Trans Am and, yes, even a Ford Pinto. Ivan Sandul posted a photo of a gorgeous 1969 Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman, although he admitted it might not make perfect sense to everyone. “It’s not American, but it’s just gorgeous and it sure makes a statement.”

Jack Shutt and Bill Swiss recommended recommissioning two presidential Lincolns that are currently on display at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich. Shutt nominated President John F. Kennedy’s iconic 1961 Lincoln Continental X-100, while Swiss opted for “the 1950 Lincoln that Harry Truman used.” Actually, Truman’s presidential limo was also used by Dwight D. Eisenhower, so there’s definitely precedent to bring it back again.

In the same vein, Nicholas Eggleston chose “Al Capone’s car that FDR used. I’ll ride in that.” He was speaking of an armored 1928 Cadillac that the government confiscated from the legendary Chicago mobster and was (or wasn’t) used to transport Franklin D. Roosevelt after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941. A Secret Service agent once claimed that it was, but the evidence is conflicting.

Heading in a more modern direction, a number of contemporary vehicles were suggested, including a Cadillac Escalade, BMW M4, Mercedes-Benz S600 Maybach and heavily modified Toyota FJ Cruiser. Robert Watkins, obviously a non-confrontational sort, suggested a 2017 Bugatti Chiron “because it’s faster than a speeding bullet.” (Technically, with a top speed of 261 mph the Chiron is a tad slower than a 1,700-mph speeding bullet. But we get your drift, Bob.)

Keeping with the spirit of this year’s election, there were conflicting suggestions and those who opted for the anti-vote. Gustavo Martinez offered, “GM, the best.” Tony Corey quickly countered with “Nothing from GM.” And Mike Powers begged, “Not a Tahoe!” We’re not sure where that came from, but we appreciate Mike’s enthusiasm.

Perhaps Angel Ruiz got it right by turning to the world of music for answers. Without further explanation, he quoted lyrics from the 1974 hit song “Be Thankful For What You’ve Got,” in which William Devaughn sang, in part: “Though you may not drive a great big Cadillac … Gangsta whitewalls, TV antennas in the back … You may not have a car at all… But remember brothers and sisters, you can still stand tall. Just be thankful for what you’ve got.”