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Cadillac, Chrysler, Lincoln Continental: How Philippine presidents rolled in style

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Jose P. Laurel’s 1942 Packard Custom Super Eight: One-Eighty Limousine. This car was granted by the Japanese administration to Laurel. This is also the same car used by President Sergio Osmeña because his government opted to channel funds to the devastation caused by the war instead of buying a new vehicle. Photo by JL JAVIER

Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — Inside Quezon Memorial Circle is a contemporary museum that hosts 13 luxury cars of the previous presidents of the Philippines — from Emilio Aguinaldo to Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The National Historic Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) has maintained the cars since 2008, and later signed a memorandum of agreement with the Quezon City government to give them space to display the luxury vehicles. On Aug. 19, 2018, it was formally inaugurated as the Museo ng Pampangulong Sasakyan.

The museum also includes four other “special” vehicles that are deemed important in Philippine history: The 1934 Cadillac V16 of Douglas MacArthur; the “karwaheng Apacible,” the carriage owned by Leon Apacible, one of the authors of the 1899 Malolos Constitution; the 1943 Willys Jeep, the military jeep that Gen. Douglas MacArthur gave Ramon Magsaysay; and the 1960 Rolls-Royce Phantom V of Imelda Marcos.

Perhaps the kind of vehicle these heads of state used is an indication of their leadership — strong, secure, or just plain shiny. Here’s a glimpse of some of the presidential cars in the museum:

Emilio Aguinaldo’s 1924 Packard Single-6 Touring. The Packard 6 is known as one of the top luxury brands of the 1920s. Photo by JL JAVIER

Manuel L. Quezon’s 1937 Chrysler Airflow Custom Imperial CW. During its time, this specific car was said to be the most aerodynamic vehicle in the world. Photo by JL JAVIER

Manuel Roxas’ 1947 Cadillac Fleetwood Series 75 Limousine. This was the first Cadillac used as a state car in the Philippines, and during its era, the Cadillac was known for its powerful engine. Photo by JL JAVIER

Diosdado Macapagal’s 1959 Cadillac Sedan Deville, which is only one of the 100 units that was designated for export. Photo by JL JAVIER

Ramon Magsaysay’s 1955 Cadillac Series 75-23 (center). The same model was also used by the President Chiang Kai-shek. The unit was said to be accorded to him by Chinese businessmen. Photo by JL JAVIER

Ferdinand Marcos’ 1980 Lincoln Continental Mark VI Signature Series. The car had a keyless entry and a digital gauge cluster. Photo by JL JAVIER

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's 1993 Mercedes-Benz S600 Limousine V140. The vehicle is said to be heavily armored and has a protection against sniper fire. Photo by JL JAVIER

The 1934 Cadillac V16 of Douglas MacArthur, which was also used by Manuel Quezon. Photo by JL JAVIER

The “karwaheng Apacible,” the carriage owned by Leon Apacible, one of the authors of the 1899 Malolos Constitution. Photo by JL JAVIER

The 1943 Willys Jeep, the military jeep that Gen. Douglas MacArthur gave Ramon Magsaysay. Photo by JL JAVIER

Imelda Marcos’ 1960 Rolls-Royce Phantom V. This particular car was also used by Queen Elizabeth II, Yugoslav president Josip Broz Tito, John Lennon, and King Olav V of Norway. Photo by JL JAVIER