While I absolutely love politics, one of my other major passions is cars. If you point to a car across a parking lot, I can tell you exactly what it is, nine times out of ten. Another fun trick I like to do with friends, is have them show me their car key, then wow them by figuring out what kind of car it is on the first or second guess. So when cars and politics collide, I am a happy person. One specific car fits within both criteria. President Obama’s presidential limousine is one heck of a car. Nicknamed “The Beast” by the Secret Service, the vehicle is designed to protect the President from nearly every conceivable attack. It is pretty interesting to see the transformation of the official vehicle that carries the president, over the years.
For obvious security reasons, the Secret Service does not divulge much information about the car. Most of what is known about the vehicle is purely speculation. But it is likely that most of it is true, as experts have reviewed the car, many times over. Here are just a few of the prominent features of the vehicle.
- Bulletproof glass
- Five inch thick, military grade armour
- Leak proof fuel tank, impenetrable to explosions
- Low profile windows
- Run flat tires, that allow the vehicle to travel after being punctured
- State of the art communication equipment
- The ability to seal the car like a bank vault
- A separate oxygen supply
- A stash of the president’s blood in the trunk
- Speakers through which the outside crowd can be heard (because the vehicle is so airtight)
- An Eaton Twin Vortices Series 1900 supercharged engine
- Tear gas emitters in the front bumper
- Infrared cameras to drive in the dark
- A firefighting system in the trunk
- Only the Secret Service knows how to open the doors
- The driver of the vehicle can turn the car 180 degrees around in seconds
- The driver also has a shotgun under his seat, if needed
The vehicle is always American made. The current model is based upon a modern Cadillac, but does not resemble one specific Cadillac model. Previous presidents have used Cadillacs or Lincolns. Presidential limousines were often uncovered until President Kennedy was assassinated. Beginning with President Johnson’s limousine, the vehicles became fully enclosed and armoured. When President Obama travels, his motorcade generally contains 45 vehicles. By comparison, Prime Minister Stephen Harper rides in a Lincoln Town Car, with around 7 vehicles in his motorcade. Obama’s motorcade also contains a Chevy Suburban which is his backup official vehicle. When Obama makes trips to other countries, “The Beast” always comes with him, as well as a team of mechanics. Below are photos of previous limos, as well as two videos on Obama’s current model. You can see how they have become beefier throughout the years.