On this day in auto history - August 23rd

Mon 23rd Aug 2021

It was on this day in 1902 when Theodore Roosevelt made history by becoming the first US President to take a public car ride.

The recently-elected Republican Party leader - famed for being a man of adventure - made the historic ride part of his official duties during a parade at Hartford, Connecticut as he kicked off a high-profile tour of New England.

In public, Roosevelt praised the convenience of the automobile ride to the press, claiming it to be an “effective way to shake a lot of hands in a short period of time.”

However, privately he was less impressed. In 1905 he wrote a letter to a friend bemoaning the “objectional features” of motor cars, saying how he regarded them as “distinct additions to the discomfort of living.” Tellingly, when re-elected in 1904, Roosevelt chose to ride in a horse-drawn carriage for his inauguration.

In 1929, ten years after the President’s death, the now-defunct Marmon Motor Company introduced a new vehicle named the Roosevelt, an affordable 4-door sedan with a price-tag of less than $1,000. It was discontinued after just two years!