The State Limousine for the most powerful person in the world is without a doubt the single most impressive vehicle modern technology can device. Based loosely on the flagship model of select American car marques, of which Cadillac and Lincoln are the most favoured, the cars, however, are purely customs. The current line are made by Cadillac and informally known as "Cadillac One".
A new version of Cadillac One based on the GMC Topkick is being prepared for President elect Barack Obama. Stylistically, the front overhang has been shortened and has been styled to resemble the Cadillac CTS fascia, albeit with a much wider grille and Escalade headlights. The body also has much more streamlined and cohesive visual appearance than before. It is assault rifle proof with 5 inch glass windows and bomb proof.
The current Presidential State Car is a 2006 hand-crafted, armored version of the stretch Cadillac DTS (DeVille Touring Sedan) built on a GM four-wheel drive platform. The vehicle was custom built by Centigon (formerly O'Gara, Hess & Eisenhardt). It was first used on January 20, 2005 during the second inauguration parade of George W. Bush. The Secret Service refers to the heavily-armored vehicle as "the beast".
The limousine is airlifted for domestic and international use primarily by a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III. On domestic trips, Cadillac One displays the American and presidential standard, which are lit by directional flood lights mounted on the hood. Red and blue emergency lights are built into the front grille, and the vehicle is fitted with strobe lights in the front headlights and rear brake lights. When the President performs a state visit to a foreign country, the presidential standard is replaced by the foreign country's flag.
The base platform is a Cadillac DTS, but little of the original vehicle remains. For example, DeVille's flush-style door handles have been replaced by a loop-type design apparently borrowed from the 1992-99 generation Buick LeSabre, doubling as grab-handles for the United States Secret Service agents running alongside the car. Exterior examination suggests that the head/tail lights, and the wreath-and-crest emblem atop the grille are some of the few stock components.
Similar to its predecessor, the 2001 Presidential Limousine, the stretch Cadillac features an executive leather interior with a rear foldaway desktop, an extensive entertainment system featuring a 10-disc CD changer, and adaptive, massaging cushions. The president sits in the rear, facing a console-mounted secure communications panel connected to five antennas mounted on the trunk lid. The vehicle has a flag of the United States mounted on the right front fender, and a Presidential flag on the left front fender. Flush-mounted high intensity discharge (HID) spotlights illuminate the flags at night. Like a standard Cadillac DTS, the presidential limo is said to have a night vision system, but the camera moved to an undisclosed location.
The exterior is paneled with five inches of ballistic armor, and is said to be able to withstand anti-tank grenade launchers. The underside of the car is also armored. The windows, which do not open, are transparent armor thick enough to block sunlight, which is the reason the interior is illuminated with naturalistic artificial lighting. The doors require automatic systems to open and the car has a run-flat tire system. The limousine is also environmentally sealed against chemical and biological attacks. A four wheel drive system to improve traction might also be fitted.
A secret service communications vehicle (toting most of the communications equipment) and a paramedic-equipped ambulance aides the limousine as a part of any presidential motorcade. The Presidential Limousine uses the call sign "Cadillac One."
Cadillac One is transported everywhere the President goes, and is airlifted on domestic and international trips by Air Force transport planes. Cadillac One remains amongst one of the most distinct automobiles in the world with its imposing frame and the Presidential Seal clearly affixed to the rear doors. When the President travels on domestic trips and working international trips, Cadillac One flys the American Flag and the Presidential Flag. When the President however performs a State Visit to a foreign country, the Presidential Flag is replaced by the flag of that country.
The Vice President of the United States also has his own distinct limousine which is manufactured by Cadillac and it is currently a 2001 DeVille model. It is similar to Cadallic One but instead flys the Vice Presidential Flag and bears the Vice Presidential Seal on the rear doors. It is not known if it too is transported wherever the Vice President goes or only operates in the Washington DC area.
- Like all limousines, Cadillac One is RWD
- It is rumoured that Cadillac One actually sits on a Chevrolet Silverado frame.
Previous Presidential Limousines
One of the first chief executives to ride in a Cadillac was President Woodrow Wilson, who rode through the streets of Boston during a World War I victory parade. A lavish 1928 Cadillac town car was used extensively throughout the Coolidge Administration.
In 1938, two Cadillac convertibles dubbed the "Queen Mary" and "Queen Elizabeth" were delivered to the U.S. Government. Named after the great ocean liners of the time, the 21.5 feet (6.55 m), 7,660 pound (3470 kg) vehicles were equipped with a full ammunition arsenal, two way radios, and heavy duty generators. Durable and reliable, the two "Queens" served Presidents Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower.
On December 8, 1941; in the wake of Pearl Harbor, the Secret Service used an armoured limousine, originally belonging to Prohibition-era gangster Al Capone, to transport the President to Congress to present his famous "Day that will live in infamy" speech. The car had been confiscated by the Department of the Treasury following Capone's conviction for tax evasion and stored in a Washington D.C. impound lot until its ironic final duty.
The first car specially built for Presidential use was the 1939 Lincoln V12 convertible called the "Sunshine Special" used by Franklin D. Roosevelt. It remained in use until 1950. The vehicle was donated to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn where it is on permanent display.
A 1950 Lincoln Cosmopolitan called the "Bubble Top" was used by Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy and once by Johnson. It was retired in 1965. This vehicle is also located on permanent display in the Henry Ford Museum.
President Eisenhower, who was known as a "car buff," had ridden in one of the first Cadillac Eldorados during the 1953 Inauguration Day Parade. The vehicle was unique as it had the first wrap-around windshield, which quickly became a standard in domestic and foreign automobiles.
The John F. Kennedy limousine was a 1961 Lincoln Continental convertible, also with a Plexiglas bubble top in the event of inclement weather. The vehicle was custom built by Hess and Eisenhart of Cincinnati, and was known as the X-100. Kennedy chose to have the car refitted with a 1962 grille for aesthetic reasons.
The vehicle was notorious for not having adequate air-conditioning in the rear of the passenger cabin when the bubble top was in place, particularly in sunshine. In order to prevent excessive heat and discomfort to the passengers, the top was removed many times prior to parades, and in Dallas, November 22, 1963, despite the obvious security risk.
Though it was always assumed that President Lyndon Baines Johnson had the car destroyed after the assassination, the X-100 was turned over to the Secret Service, Army Materials Research Center, Hess & Eisenhart, Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company, and Ford Motor Company for retrofitting of armor plating, a permanent sedan roof, new interior, beefed-up air-conditioning systems, electronic communications equipment, bulletproof glass, etc.; a new paint treatment and cosmetic alterations to get rid of marks from the the assassination; and other changes.
The Johnson Administration also used three 1965 Lincoln Continental Executive Limousines; two for the President and one for Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara.
The X-100 was modified again in 1967. Later, under President Richard Nixon the large one-piece glass roof was replaced, with one which had a smaller glass area and a hinged panel. It remained in service until 1977 and is now at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, in its final configuration.
President Richard Nixon ordered an additional limousine, a 1969 model, through Lehman-Peterson of Chicago. This vehicle also had an added sunroof so that President Nixon could stand up and appear before parade-goers if desired, and was equipped with several features, such as retractable hand grips and running boards. These were later copied by Hess and Eisenhart. This car is now at the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, California.
In 1974 Ford supplied another Continental, a 1972 model which was stretched out to 22 feet long, was armor plated, outfitted with bullet resistant glass and powered by a 460 cu. in. V8. This limousine was used by Presidents Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. This vehicle is also on display at the Henry Ford Museum .
The Reagan Administration received a Cadillac Fleetwood limousine in 1983, while a Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham - Presidential Series was delivered to the Clinton Administration in 1993. Unlike previous models, these models were designed, developed and manufactured at General Motors. Moreover, the vehicles were designed to provide unquestionable protection. Minimizing exposure to external threats, no sunroof or running boards were installed.
Currently, the 1983 Cadillac Fleetwood limousine resides at the Ronald W. Reagan Presidential Library & Museum in California while the 1993 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham is located at the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Arkansas.
The predecessor to the current Presidential limousine was the 2001 Cadillac DeVille limousine. The vehicle was retired when a new vehicle, the 2006 Cadillac DTS was introduced.
No more Presidential vehicles will be put on display anywhere. All vehicles after the 1993 Cadillac Fleetwood used by Bill Clinton will be destroyed in Secret Service security tests.
1939 Lincoln Model K "Sunshine Special" (Harry S. Truman)
1950 Lincoln Cosmopolitan (Dwight D. Eisenhower)
1961 Lincoln Continental X-100 (John F. Kennedy)
1989 Lincoln Presidential Limousine (Reagan-Bush Sr.)
Since 2001, when the president travels out-of-town, his motorcade consists of about 35 vehicles. Approximately the first half of the motorcade is called the secure package, which would break off from the rest of the group in the event of an attack. The remainder of the motorcade is composed of staff members and reporters (driven by volunteers), an ambulance, and a few more police cars at the end. The ambulance in the rear of the motorcade carries a supply of the president's blood type should it need to be used.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 McDonald, Neil (2007-08-24). "By George, a Caddie that's bulletproof". The Daily Telegraph (Australia).
- ↑ The Associated Press (8 May 2007). "British company agrees to buy Armor Holdings". The Enquirer. http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070508/BIZ/705080340/1001/BIZ. Retrieved 2007-05-22.
- ↑ Sheryl Gay Stolberg (11 June 2007). "Bush in Europe was a man on the run". International Herald Tribune. Archived from the original on 2007-06-13. http://web.archive.org/web/20070613215543/http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/06/11/frontpage/notebook.php. Retrieved 2008-01-29.
- ↑ Cite error: Invalid
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