A Cadillac owned by late Archbishop of Boston Cushing is up for auction

This 1949 Cadillac was owned by former Boston Archbishop Richard Cushing, a friend of the Kennedy family.
This 1949 Cadillac was owned by former Boston Archbishop Richard Cushing, a friend of the Kennedy family. –Courtesy of H&H Classics

A 1949 Cadillac previously owned by the Archbishop of Boston who was present at several Kennedy family events is heading to the auction block.

The vehicle’s previous owner was Richard Cushing, the third Archbishop of Boston. Cushing served as Archbishop from 1944 until 1970. Pope John XIII made Cushing made a Cardinal in 1958.

United Kingdom-based auction firm H&H Classics will oversee the car’s sale.

“Every now and then one comes across a car that is particularly interesting not just for its engineering or design or any other physical reason but because it casts a light onto our own human history,’’ said H&H Classics agent Martin van der Zeeuw in a statement. “And this is one such car, its very close links with the remarkable, brilliant, tragic Kennedy family, makes it an object of particular and historic interest.’’


The car is a 1949 Cadillac 75 Fleetwood 5-passenger Sedan with 160 horsepower and a 5.4 liter V8 engine. Only 220 examples of this car model were ever made and this is unit 103.

The car features a dark black exterior and a beige and brown cloth interior with a wooden trim. The cabin features electric windows and the car’s original radio.

Cushing was a close friend of the Kennedy family and was present at many of the family’s most important life events. According to a statement from H&H, “research indicates that this car would have carried the Cardinal to all these happy and sad Kennedy events.’’

Cushing officiated the marriage between John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier in 1953, baptized many of the family’s children and delivered the prayer invocation at Kennedy’s 1961 inauguration.

Following Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, Cushing oversaw the religious ceremony for late president’s funeral.

The car includes a letter from Cushing to the car’s second owners, Jeanne Klonel and her son Ronald Klonel of Indiana. The letter, dated 1968, reads “I pray you may enjoy this possession for many more years and that it will carry you safely wherever you go.’’

According to H&H, Cushing regretted not writing a longer note. At the time he was grieving the death of Robert F. Kennedy, who was laid to rest a few days earlier.


The car will head to auction on July 10 in England. It’s estimated value is between £35,000 and £45,000 ($51,000 to $65,000).

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