Leonid Brezhnev hoons Nixon's Continental!

Well, kind of. Boy, wouldn't that have been a hell of a tale? (A hell of a historic Youtube video: the Zapruder Film of hoonage.) But in 1973, Richard Milhous Nixon handed the keys to a brand-new Lincoln Continental sedan to Leonid Brezhnev, as a token of mutual understanding and not mutally-assured destruction, perhaps not realizing that the Soviet Union's General Secretary of the Communist Party was a car enthusiast himself—you have to be, to willingly own a Citroën SM.


So when Nixon got in the passenger's seat, he probably should have foreseen what happened next.

From Nixon's memoirs:

"He got behind the wheel and motioned me into the passenger seat. The head of my Secret Service detail went pale as I climbed in and we took off down one of the narrow roads that run around the perimeter of Camp David….

At one point there is a very steep slope with a sign at the top reading, 'Slow, dangerous curve'…


Brezhnev was driving more than 50 miles an hour as we approached the slope. I reached over and said, 'Slow down, slow down,' but he paid no attention. When we reached the bottom there was a squeal of rubber as he slammed on the brakes and made the turn….

'You are an excellent driver,' I replied. 'I would never have been able to make that turn at the speed at which we were traveling.'


Diplomacy is not always an easy art."

The Lincoln survived, and now resides comfortably in a the Riga Motor Museum in Latvia.


We tell you this story to tell you another one. Jalopnik alum Murilee Martin dives into the Richard Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, California, and finds all manners of stately Ford products, including the Mercury woodie wagon he used to campaign for the Senate in 1950. There's also the matter of Nixon's 1967 armored Lincoln, which is a lot cooler than the K-Car limo he used in retirement. For a while, everything came up Milhous.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter