Nicknamed "The Beast", the hulking machine is a new model year 2009, modified limousine. According to General Motors, the new "2009 Cadillac Presidential Limousine" is the first not to carry a specific model name. The Obama Mobile was introduced on January 14 with noticeably different styling borrowed from the Cadillac Escalade and STS, while the suspension is most likely related to the Chevrolet Kodiak medium-duty truck.
Mr David Caldwell of General Motors has revealed that the sleek black car would include a hand-crafted interior and "state of the art electronics." The car's high-tech security features include five-inch-thick (12.7-centimeter-thick) bombproof glass, tough-as-nails tires, and a sealed interior that's invulnerable to chemical attack. The armoured limousine has been heavily modified to withstand potential attacks by weapons or bombs. The San Francisco Chronicle puts it in a proper perspective noting, “a half-inch of transparent armor is enough to stop a .44 Magnum round at point-blank range; at a thickness of 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches, the same material can withstand higher-velocity bullets fired from military assault rifles.”
According to spy photographer, Brenda Priddy, and General Motors, the limousine, which has the intricate, dual-textured grille, is also equipped with standard Goodyear Regional RHS truck tires in a 285/70R19.5 size, on 19.5-inch wheels. The rims have a run-flat device (manufactured by Hutchinson Industries). Xenon headlights from the Escalade are installed in the front, while the rear has some STS part. The doors are at least 20 centimeters (8 inches) thick. It carries the US flag on the front fenders and an embroidered Seal of the President of the United States is affixed to several panels in the back.
According to the US Secret Service, the 2009 'Beast' would be a "valuable asset" in providing the President with the highest level of protection. "Although many of the vehicle's security enhancements cannot be discussed, it is safe to say that this car's security and coded communications systems make it the most technologically advanced protection vehicle in the world," Nicholas Trotta, Assistant Director for the Office of Protective Operations said in a statement. The new limousine is the responsibility of White House Transportation Agency.
The Presidential State Car is the official state car used by the President of the United States. It is informally known as "Cadillac One". The current Presidential State Car is a 2005 hand-crafted, armored, and stretched DTS (DeVille Touring Sedan) built on a GM four-wheel drive platform. It was first used on the second inauguration parade of George W. Bush in 2005. But the version to be used by President Obama uses a GMC Topkick chassis, while maintaining the Cadillac exterior. The Secret Service has called the heavily-armored car "the beast."
The President of the United States travels in one of two armoured Cadillac limousines based upon the normal sedan, the Cadillac DTS, with heavy customisation. Lincoln cars have also been used in the past, most notably by President John F Kennedy. The current limousines were custom-built by O'Gara, Hess and Eisenhart, founded in Fairfield, Ohio in 1942. It specializes in armouring limousines for presidents and heads of state.
President William McKinley was the first US president to ride in an automobile. However, it was President Theodore Roosevelt who rode on the first government-owned car, a white Stanley Steamer. Roosevelt's successor, William Howard Taft, was the first president to use a presidential state car that was permanently stored in the White House garage.
Meanwhile, Obama's 2005 Chrysler 300C Hemi was auctioned on eBay with a starting bid of $100,000 and a buy-it-now price of $1,000,000. It has less than 21,000 miles on it and is in like-new condition. He leased the car in 2004 and traded it for a Ford Escape Hybrid in 2007. The car was sold to Tim O'Boyle.
# "NEW LOOK, OLD TRADITION FOR NEW PREZ'S WHEELS". PR Newswire, January 16, 2009
# Aaron Ross "Cadillac unveils its presidential limo for Obama". topnews.us, January 15, 2009
# Luc Gagné, "The history behind the Obama-Mobile". auto123.com, January 15, 2009
# Rajini Vaidyanathan "Obama's 'Beast' of a car revealed". BBC News Online, January 14, 2009