The Presidential Limousine: Rolling in Style with the Beast
Given the post-9/11 paranoia that has become a staple of our lives, it’s safe to say the President has some of the best security measures available. His ride certainly reflects that mentality. Upon the inauguration of Barack Obama in 2009, the White House garage received a new presidential limo that offered unprecedented levels of protection. Dubbed the “Beast”, this car is the pride of the Secret Service. For years, Cadillac and Lincoln have swapped the privilege of supplying the president with transportation, however this time it was Cadillac’s turn. Built at a top-secret facility, the car actually has truck underpinnings. The massive body sits on a GMC Topkick frame, and even the tires are from GM’s now-extinct medium truck lineup. The body itself shows various styling cues from the STS and the DTS, in addition to sporting Escalade headlights. Armor is perhaps the most important part of a presidential limousine, and in this respect, the Beast checks all the boxes. Multiple layers of armor– everything from composites to Kevlar– cover the doors, roof and side panels. The doors themselves are reportedly eight inches thick– enough to resist damage from an RPG round. The builders envisioned every scenario possible, from chemical warfare to IEDs, to an AK-wielding terrorist. The Beast is well-equipped for anything that could go wrong. Pump-action shotguns are reportedly stashed in secret compartments throughout the vehicle, as well as a fighter jet-style chaff system that is intended to decoy heat-seeking missiles. For medical emergencies, a supply of the President’s blood-type is kept on board, along with the requisite first-aid kit. Tear gas cannons, and the best communications gear available complete the loadout. All this functionality fails to detract from its opulence. Following in the style of Air Force One, the interior of the presidential limo is not over-the-top luxury, but everything is comfortable and of excellent quality. It is reported that the Presidential limousine uses a lot of upholstery from the Cadillac CTS interior, as well as countless custom touches. The cabin is a mobile office, with encrypted communications gear to keep the President up to date on a minute-by-minute basis. However, one area the limousine is not noted for is performance. All that armor and comm gear makes this car extremely heavy. It is unknown what powerplant GM used in this car, as specs are top-secret, but we do know the car only manages a paltry eight miles per gallon. Top speed is estimated to be around 60 mph. Since the car is airlifted to its destination then driven slowly motorcade-style for a few miles, performance is not a key attribute for the Presidential limousine. The President of the United States is the most powerful man in the world, and it’s vital that he is protected at all times. It’s not an easy task, combining safety with style, but the Beast does it well.