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JFK hearse to be part of Boulder car museum, says collector Stephen Tebo

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jfk hearse cropped.jpg
Big photos below.
The hearse that carried John F. Kennedy's body from a Dallas hospital to Air Force One one fateful November day in 1963 is coming to Boulder.

Developer and car collector Stephen Tebo -- not, not that Tebow -- picked it up for $176,000, and he says that one day it'll be part of a car museum he hopes to build in the Boulder area.

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Stephen Tebo.
Don't start lining up for your tickets quite yet. "We're probably talking about five or ten years from now," he says.

Nonetheless, Tebo, who owns many commercial properties in the area and largely funded the Tebo Family Medical Pavillion cancer center at Boulder Community Hospital according to the Boulder Daily Camera, is working hard to stock the proposed facility with intriguing vehicles.

"I've been collecting cars for many, many years," he notes, with the total number now in the vicinity of 400. "And instead of just dispersing the collection at some time in the future, I started entertaining the idea of turning it into a museum, probably somewhere in Boulder or Boulder County."

This notion has helped focus has purchases. "Once you have 25 or thirty Chevys and a couple dozen Fords or Cadillacs, you don't really need another one of those," he says. "So for the past two or three years, I've been carefully buying museum-quality cars," many with celebrity connections.

Examples?

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The fab four with the Rolls Royce now in Tebo's possession.
"I own the 1965 Rolls Royce that was custom-made for John Lennon and that he and the Beatles used in New York City," he says, noting that he purchased it from Yoko Ono. "I own the taxi that was used in the Seinfeld series. I have a Jeep that was owned by Frank Sinatra and he used on his ranch outside Las Vegas for many years. I have a custom car Alice Cooper built for himself; it's signed and authenticated. And I have a Corvette that was custom-made for [painter] LeRoy Neiman that he's autographed and has taken pictures with."

He's also picked up vehicles with historical significance, including "an 1881 stagecoach that was used by Yellowstone National Park to take people from Dillon, Montana over the pass into the park," he says, as well as curios like "a 1926 Buick ambulance and a 1923 Davco milk truck," a classic Dusenberg and "a one-off, custom Pontiac made as a prototype."

jfk hearse.jpg
A larger look at the historic hearse courtesy of auction house Barrett-Jackson.
As for the hearse, Tebo considered the purchase price "totally a bargain. There were news articles saying it could go for as much as $2 million, and I thought it would go for between $500,000 and a million."

Could it be hitting the roads of Boulder soon? Possibly.

"I have a volunteer crew that drives each vehicle every ninety days," he says. "That's the only way you can keep them in good operating condition -- the rubber and the fan belt and the seals and everything."

If you spot one of his vintage rides during such a spin, admission will be free.

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More from our Business archive: "Tesla Motors moves from Boulder's Pearl Street showroom to Park Meadows."


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3 comments
MarkHeitz
MarkHeitz

I wonder what this guy's background is in? It is very cool that he is able to collect so many rare cars though. I know one Ford parts dealer in Austin that was able to take trips all around the world due to his fortunes. Good little story. I hope to visit once this place once it opens. This article had me at JFK's hearse.

Erick
Erick

unbelievable - I wonder where he's stashing 400 cars? .. I agree .. the hearse was a steal.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

I wondered the same thing, Erick, but decided not to ask. Don't want to give thieves any ideas. Thanks for the post.

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