(PYONGYANG, North Korea) — Mourners lined the streets of the North Korean capital Pyongyang on Wednesday, crying and wailing as the funeral procession for Kim Jong-Il crawled slowly through the streets. But a curious detail was that the boxy black hearse that crept through the light snow was a vintage Lincoln Continental.
The choice of a U.S.-made luxury car seems odd for a country that preached a belligerent self reliance, reviled America and was put on President George W. Bush’s Axis of Evil list.
Experts at Edmunds.com put the year of the Lincoln at 1976, making the 35-year-old vehicle older than North Korea’s 28-year-old new leader Kim Jong-Un.
Ford, the parent company of Lincoln, did not respond to telephone and email requests for comment.
The choice of an American luxury car for his final ride is consistent with Kim’s tastes, despite his regime’s propaganda depicting the U.S. as evil, dangerous and violent, and his history of antagonizing numerous American administrations with threats of war and nuclear weapons.
Kim was reported to be a big fan of Hollywood movies, with favorites including the slasher flick Friday the 13th and Sylvester Stallone’s action film Rambo. He supposedly owned both in his collection of more than 20,000 films, many of which starred his favorite actress Elizabeth Taylor. Kim was also a known NBA fan. One of his most prized possessions was said to be an autographed Michael Jordan basketball, presented to him by then Secretary of State Madeline Albright at a rare high point in North Korean-American relations.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio
Vanessa Yurkevich, CNN
Emanuella Grinberg, CNN
Michael Pearson and Steve Almasy, CNN
Ray Sanchez, CNN