President Obama shopping for a new ride

Presidential limo on street
Photo credit: Secrets of the Secret Service

It appears it’s time to replace the old “Cadillac One” limo – also known as “The Beast” – the limo that transports President Obama here and abroad. After all, it is a 2009 model, and after the breakdown in Israel recently, it’s time for an upgrade.

The Beast reportedly weighs in at 7.5 tons, and blends Cadillac components with the guts of a Chevrolet Kodiak commercial truck — and of course heavy armor, according to NBC News.

NBC News described a few of the options included in a presidential limo:

The armor includes 8-inch plates capable of stopping an improvised explosive device, or IED, and 5-inch multi-layer windows that make the doors as heavy as those on a 757 jet. The car is sealed against biochemical attacks.

Although details of the presidential limo are classified for security reasons, various reports say that it features James Bond-style options, including a night vision system. It also carries communications gear and, in the trunk, a blood bank matching the president’s type.

Special loops replace door handles, which allow Secret Service agents to hold on when running alongside the car. Goodyear run-flat tires fit into extra-large wheel wells.

No one knows which car maker will end up with this year’s contract for the president’s new ride, because that too, is a secret. But Ford, Chrysler and GM have alternated as presidential limo providers since 1939.

“We at Cadillac consider it a great honor and responsibility to carry on the tradition of presidential cars,” Cadillac spokesman David Caldwell told Motor Trend. “There’s absolutely nothing we would say directly about the future. The Presidential Limousine is built to an exacting set of specifications – and one of the specifications is that we not discuss inner workings of the project.”

No word yet on the cost of the project, but Business Insider estimated The Beast’s price tag at over $300,000.

According to Wikipedia, The Beast gets about 8 miles per gallon, presumably around town. Let’s hope the next limo will be a little more fuel-efficient.

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