President-Elect Barack Obama will get an all-new Cadillac limousine when he takes office Tuesday, and it appears, like his increased security detail, it will be the safest presidential ride to ever grace Pennsylvania Avenue.
The new Commander-in-Chief will ride in the back of an extended Cadillac DTS, not unlike the car used by outgoing President George W. Bush while in office. A more conservative design than the rest of Cadillac's Art and Science range, this DTS even goes so far to eliminate the controversial chromed engine vents on the front side fenders, giving the car a more stately appearance.
While no photographs of the interior have been provided, no doubt for security reasons, the specially equipped Caddy is expected to have a all the latest electronics including enough video screens to even get Malia Ann and Sasha excited while giving Michelle a break from the "when are we gonna get there syndrome," not to mention keep the president well informed of the world's goings on while traveling to and from his new abode.
Cadillac hasn't released details as to the new limousines ballistic capabilities, and won't anytime soon, also for security reasons, but it's safe to say that it is based on one of GM's heavy-duty truck platforms, needed to support the weight of all the armour plating needed to withstand potential gun shots, bomb blasts or rocket fire. Other information we've garnered from various unofficial sources report that the floor of the limo is reinforced with five-inch thick steel plate to protect from undercar explosions or a direct hit from above if the car is overturned, while the tires are Kevlar-reinforced to be shred and puncture proof, with steel rims underneath that will enable escape even if no tires are wrapped around them. An armour-plated gas tank features special foam filler that prevents explosion even if it suffers a direct hit, plus the trunk holds an oxygen supply system and firefighting equipment.
The doors are armour-plated too, with eight-inch thick steel making them reportedly weigh as much as the cabin door of a 757 jet. They open up to a passenger compartment that seats four behind a glass partition that only the president can lower to speak with the front occupants. The rear windows are larger than in previous generation presidential limos, and the car's height has grown while its overall footprint remains about the same.
Up front there are defence accessories to assist the trained detail such as night vision cameras, pump-action shotguns and tear gas cannons. Bottles of the president's blood are also kept aboard, if needed in an emergency. The front windshield is capable of withstanding armour-piercing bullets, while the CIA-trained driver's side window is the only one that opens, but only three inches to speak with security detail outside, or perhaps to pay a road toll.
On a lighter note, an embroidered presidential seal has been positioned at the centre of the rear seat back panel, as well as on each rear door trim panel. Presidential seals can also be found on the exterior rear door panels, while the U.S. flag flies from the right front fender and the presidential standard from the left front fender, when the president is traveling inside. LED spotlights illuminate the flags at night.
"Cadillac is honored to again provide a new Presidential Limousine," said Mark McNabb, North America vice president, Cadillac/Premium Channel. "This is a great American tradition that we're delighted to renew with an all-new car featuring the best of Cadillac's dramatic design and technology."
Cadillac has been the ride of presidential preference since President Wilson rode through the streets of Boston during a World War I victory parade in 1919, and of course has been escorting dignitaries, celebrities and other VIPs since the company set its claim as the Standard of the World.