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Before the twentieth century, the presidents' vehicles were not armored-plated or specially built. Their carriages were similar to those of citizens of wealth. Often they were gifts from admirers.

George Washington had the most elaborate turn out of the presidents for state occasions, sporting a cream-colored carriage drawn by six matched horses "all brilliantly caparisoned." Coachmen and footmen wore livery trimmed with white and brilliant red-orange that Washington had selected long before for his racing silks. George Washington's coach built during his first presidential term was featured in an 1872 commemorative print of a procession held in New York. The vehicle is no longer extant and only a few pieces of the many vehicles owned by Washington have survived.

George Washington's coach carriage.

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President Franklin Pierce preferred an informal coach and often rode through Washington in an "unpretentious one-horse shay." His two-wheeled chaise was built by C. P. Kimball Company of Chicago and presented as a gift to President Franklin Pierce in 1851.

President Franklin Pierce's Two-wheeled chaise.

The Hub, New York, N.Y. Courtesy Carriage Museum of America

Chester A. Arthur was far more conspicuous in his stylish dark green landau. It was drawn by two perfectly matched mahogany bays with flowing manes and tails. The harness was mounted with silver and had dark green kersey dress blankets ornamented with the presidents monogram.

President Chester A. Arthur rides in pomp and fashion in his elegant carriage while vacationing at Newport, Rhode Island, in 1884.

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Grover Cleveland and Mrs. Cleveland kept five matched brown horses in the White House stable for their carriages. Their favorite was the open landau that was taken out for drives in the Rock Creek valley and the surrounding hills of Washington.

Andrew Johnson, James A. Garfield and William McKinley also greatly enjoyed such relaxing excursions with their wives and families.

President William McKinleys personal cabriolet, also termed a victoria, built by C.P. Kimball, 1897.

The Hub, New York, N.Y.

Ulysses S. Grant and Rutherford B. Hayes were the most avid enthusiasts of driving as a sport. No matter what the purpose, the presidents style always was on display in carriages, equipage and livery.

President Grant custom-designed this personal carriage, built by the Wood Brothers of New York City in 1870, to comfortably seat four people. It featured a compartment for food and refreshments under the driver's seat.

President Grant's custom-designed personal carriage.

The Hub, New York, N.Y.

President Woodrow Wilson rode in an open landau during "gasless days" during World War I. After his presidency, as a reminder of his wartime service, he rode in a carriage to dedicate the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery on November 11, 1921.

President Woodrow Wilson

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President Calvin Coolidge rides in a convertible automobile escorted by a mounted honor guard and cavalry escort that adds to the pageantry of his Inaugural Parade, March 4, 1925.

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