If you’ve ever wondered about the US presidential limousine it is really hard finding info about it. What looks to be a modified Cadillac is anything but. The proportions are wildly off from any production Caddy, yet it looks like one from a distance. Once you see a president or Secret Service by it for scale you realize it is more the size of a truck, which it is. But here we have some secrets of the US presidential limousine revealed.
Open four-door limousines were the presidential cars of choice
Parade limousines that were open four-door limousines were the presidential cars of choice. That is, until November 22, 1963. The day President Kennedy was assassinated it changed. When the Lincoln Continental he was killed in was put back in service it acquired a thick plexiglass top. You could still see the President but he was much better protected.
As presidential limousines progressed they attained more armor. Both Gerald Ford and Ronald Regan were both saved by the added protection. However, Regan was wounded badly enough to require a recovery period. After that, a new type of limo with greater input from the Secret Service was created by General Motors. It was called Cadillac One.
The current Presidential limousine is called the “Beast” for a reason
The current POTUS limousine is called the “Beast” for a reason. For one, it weighs over 22,000 lbs. It was commissioned by President Barack Obama but wasn’t completed until after his presidency in 2018. The Beast before it was completed in 2009 during his first term.
The entire $15.8 million GM contract for the current Beast includes building 12 or more armored limousines. Each Beast runs around $1.5 million give or take. In many ways, the Beast is more like a military truck than a limousine. It has a gang of safety features but also some compromises that make it less practical.
None of the Beast’s sheet metal is from a production Cadillac
There is absolutely nothing about the sheet metal that is from a production Cadillac. The armor-plated doors are eight-inches thick. When they close it forms a 100% seal to lock out any chemical attack. An oxygen tank is hidden in case it is needed. The windows are five fused layers of armored glass and polycarbonate. None can roll down except the driver’s window. It can only go down three inches.
Underneath the body, the Beast rides on a truck frame. It is lined with steel plates in case of roadside bombs. The tires are reinforced with Kevlar eliminating the possibility of being punctured or shredded. If for some reason the tires don’t make it through a dangerous situation the Beast can run on its steel rims. The list of other safety features is long and impressive.
Inside is a fire-fighting system, tear gas and smoke screen dispersers, and pump-action shotguns
Inside it has a fire-fighting system, tear gas and smoke screen dispersers, and pump-action shotguns. Of course, the Beast has cameras, GPS, special phone lines, night vision, can spray oil if chased, and carries bags of the president’s blood. That’s in case he or she may need a transfusion.
There is no information about the engine for the beast. At 22,000 lbs it has to be able to haul like a semi-truck. That’s probably what powers it. The driver must go through extensive training and it is said he or she must be able to maneuver a J-turn. With the size and weight of the Beast, that’s no small trick.