Barack Obama will ride in an all-new Cadillac Presidential Limousine after his inauguration as the 44th President of the United States today.
He will use the vehicle, nicknamed the Beast, on the 1.7-mile journey from the Capitol along the parade route to the White House. It reportedly has armour eight inches thick, tear-gas cannons and Kevlar-reinforced tyres that resist attack. For security reasons, most of the details remain confidential.
Since the 1930s, the job of providing transport for the President and members of his administration has alternated irregularly between Cadillac, one of troubled General Motors' marques, and Ford’s luxury brand, Lincoln. Ford has not supplied the White House with limousines since 1989.
The latest Cadillac Presidential Limousine, nicknamed "The Beast", is a completely new design, succeeding the DTS Presidential Limousine that appeared in 2004. Although it incorporates styling from contemporary Cadillacs, the heavily armoured limousine has been tailored to exacting specifications befitting its high-profile role.
For largely functional reasons, such as optimal outward visibility, the car is slightly more upright than its predecessor. The rear passenger area includes an extensive executive compartment with ample seating space, outward visibility and useful mobile office features. Much of the finishing is hand-cut and sewn.
An embroidered presidential seal is positioned in the centre of the rear seat back panel, as well as on each rear door trim panel. The rear doors are also adorned with presidential seals, while the US flag is mounted on the right front wing. The presidential standard flies from the left front wing when the president is on board. At night, the flags are illuminated by on-board spotlights.
Extensive testing of all components included the car's security performance.
“Cadillac is honoured to again provide a new Presidential Limousine,” said Mark McNabb, North America vice-president for Cadillac. “This is a...