Ignoring fears for his safety, the late President John F. Kennedy refused to give up his love for riding through crowded streets with the roof down. It cost him his life in Dallas.

In 2018, security surrounding government officials, diplomats, and especially heads of state, is so intense - one would never see a person of political interest parading through a town in a convertible. 

Read More: Seven reasons why Donald Trump and JFK are more alike than you think

Hence the question often arises: why would government aides allow President Kennedy ride around in an open-top car? Well, the answer is that the beloved political figure simply wouldn't have it any other way.

Before he was elected to office, the Massachusetts native would often be found enjoying the views in the back of a convertible come rain, hail, or shine.

According to Canada's The Globe and The Mail outlet, the future President and his pal rode through Europe exclusively in a Ford convertible, after completing their first year of studies at Harvard University, in the summer of 1937.

In 1940, during his stint at Stanford University, Kennedy was often spotted driving through Palo Alto in a green Buick convertible with distinctive red seats.

JFK in a convertible (image: JFK Library)

JFK in a convertible (image: JFK Library)


When he won a seat on Capitol Hill in 1947, his primary mode of transportation was...you guessed it, a convertible.

In 1960, President Kennedy - then one of the most famous men in the world - continued to drive his precious convertibles without a care in the world.

In her memoir Personal History, publisher Katherine Graham remarked, "What still amazes me is that Kennedy drove up our circular driveway alone, in a convertible with the top down."

JFK in a convertible (Image: JFK Library)

JFK in a convertible (Image: JFK Library)

Most remarkably - during a 1961 tour of Paris, Kennedy insisted on driving down the Champs-Elysées with French president Charles de Gaulle. By now it wasn't the fact that they rode in his convertible that amazed people - but the fact that they drove with the top down.... though it was pouring rain.

JFK in a convertible (Image: JFK Library)

JFK in a convertible (Image: JFK Library)

Even in Dublin, Kennedy's motorcade infamously drove up Dame Street on the "wrong side" i.e. opting for the usual American right hand side of the street. (See archive RTE footage here.)


Apparently, when former Irish president Eamon de Valera saw Kennedy stand up in his limousine to wave to the huge Dublin crowds, he remarked "what an easy target" the political figure would have been.

JFK in a convertible (image: JFK Library)

JFK in a convertible (image: JFK Library)


Of course, the most infamous footage of Kennedy riding in an open-top car, unfazed, came during his fateful visit to Dallas on November 22, 1963 (above and below.)
Despite at least two death threats circulating, the president opted to parade through the Texan city in an open top Lincoln Continental limousine - unarmored and not bullet proof.
According to reports, he refused to be flanked by Secret Service agents, who would make him seem "unaccessible" to the people.
Do you think it was foolish for Kennedy to maintain his love for convertibles? Do you think he should have adhered to safety measures? Let us know in the comments below.

President JFK refused to give up his love for convertibles.JFK Library