and the Beast
When is a car called a Beast? When it is
carrying the President of the United States.
It is code-named “Stagecoach” but given its weight, wheelbase and
bunker-like level of protection, President Barack Obama’s new limo has
been nicknamed “the Beast.”
The First Car, which the whole world saw at President Obama’s
inauguration on January 20, is a veritable battle tank wrapped in
This being America, they didn’t obviously want to ferry the President
in (a German) Mercedes S600 or a BMW 7 Series.
Although General Motors and the Secret Service jealously guard the
vehicle’s specs and secrets, you can bet Obama’s ride is the toughest,
most sophisticated car anywhere. It is the road-going equivalent to Air
Here are some interesting stats on his ride around town. By the way,
the car will be ferried to any world capital that he visits and don’t
think they have got only one of these: There are 25.
* The ballistic glass windows, said to be about five inches thick,
can block a .44 Magnum round at point-blank range, withstand a bomb
blast and even stop high-powered bullets fired from military assault
The body is sheathed in military-grade armour as much as 8 inches
thick on the doors (each of which weighs as much as the cabin door on a
Boeing 747. The armour reportedly is a mix of dual-hardness steel,
aluminium, titanium and ceramic.
* Based on GM’s heavy-duty truck platform, the DTS is well over seven
* Limo One is thought to get only 10 miles per gallon in the city.
The good news: That’s a three mile-per-gallon improvement over the Caddy
used by George W. Bush.
* The black caddy includes an advanced GPS and communications system,
as well as its own internal air circulation in case of chemical attacks.
* The body is covered in military-grade armour - made of steel,
aluminium, titanium and ceramics — as much as eight inches thick on the
doors, each of which weighs as much as the cabin door on a Boeing 747.
* With its plates reading “USA 1,” the car rides around on 19
1/2-inch Goodyear Regional RHS truck tyres, specially designed to keep
going even if they go flat. The cabin is believed to feature a sealed
air recirculation system to protect its occupants from chemical attacks.
The limo is the latest in a long line of Cadillacs to join the First
Fleet over the years.
“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 Secret Service Office of Protective Operations, said in a
Although presidential limos have a lifespan of about a decade, the
Commander in Chief gets a new one about every four years.
Hand-me-downs are used to carry the vice president and visiting heads
of state. The only bog-standard thing you will find inside the car is
Despite being at least as secure as a hardened missile silo, GM says
Caddy One features the same hand-sewn leather interior found in the
Cadillac CTS. And that 10-disc CD player is also no different from the
The President will have fully encrypted satellite phones and Internet
access at his fingertips.