JFK limousine on display at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, M - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

JFK limousine on display at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan

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DEARBORN, Michigan - Every American born before the 1960s remembers where they were the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

It happened 50 years ago in Dallas, Texas.

But did you know an important piece of history from the assassination is parked just a few hours away from Youngstown?

We've all seen the film from that day, the President and First Lady riding in the presidential limousine in Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas. Shots were fired and America changed forever.

Today that same limo is on display at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.

The limo started as a stock Lincoln Continental, off the assembly line in Detroit in 1961, before being modified as a limo for the Secret Service by a firm in Cincinnati, Ohio.

So how was the museum able to acquire such a priceless artifact in the first place? It turns out they've owned it since the day it was built.

"The White House actually leased these limos from the Ford Motor Company. The Secret Service had a very modest budget in those days. They could not afford to buy this car which cost roughly $200,000 back in 1961, that's $1.5 million today," said Matt Anderson, curator of the Henry Ford Museum.

If you're thinking the car doesn't look exactly like you remember it from film footage of that day, well, you're right. After the assassination, the limousine was completely rebuilt in 1964 and used by four more presidents after JFK.

"The biggest most obvious change after the assassination was they put on a permanent roof. The original car did have removable plastic panels that could be put on there to protect from weather but they weren't bulletproof. This car has bulletproof glass all around the sides and the bulletproof glass does not come off," Anderson said.

Titanium armor was placed all around the car. You'll also notice it's now a different color.

"Whereas when Kennedy knew it, it was a deep midnight blue. That color was chosen because it showed up well in the black and white televisions of the time. Black would have been murky but the blue really popped," Anderson said.

Lyndon Johnson also wanted a color change because blue would have been too tied to the assassination.

"I don't think any of us would question that November 22, 1963 was a genuine moment where everything changed. The 60s as we think of them; Vietnam, the counter culture, civil rights legislation, that all begins after Kennedy dies. This car is certainly one of the primary surviving artifacts of that moment," Anderson said.

The Henry Ford Museum has eight acres worth of planes, trains and automobiles under one roof. Among its most popular items, the actual chair President Abraham Lincoln was shot in and the actual bus Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat in back in 1955.

But it's this one piece of history that seems to get the most attention from visitors. It may look a little different these days but its place in American history is eternal.

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