Autoweek Lifts the Covers Off the Presidential Limo, The Beast

2009 Cadillac Presidential Limousine

It may look like a stretched Cadillac sedan, but it’s not. It’s got armored doors eight inches thick. And there are 12 of them, each costing more than a Bugatti Veyron. The presidential limousine, nicknamed “The Beast,” is an 18 foot-long Cadillac DTS atop a General Motors truck chassis, one with so many safety features that the car nearly breaks the scales at about 15,000 pounds. Autoweek has interviewed a source described only as a “veteran agent” of the Secret Service, who spilled a few details about the armored limo, a vehicle so iconic that the band Nico Vega wrote a song about it.*

A few facts about The Beast that Autoweek uncovered: the trunk is filled with weapons, oxygen tanks for use in the event of a chemical attack, and vials of the president’s blood in case the limo is separated from the ambulance that is always a part of the motorcade. Goodyears connect the 7 1/2-ton monster to the ground, and are Kevlar-reinforced run-flats to combat attempts to render The Beast immobile. Secure communications devices and encrypted satellite phones connect the President to multiple government entities such as foreign embassies and the Pentagon. All Beast drivers must attend a week-long defensive driving course to learn how to navigate the gargantuan automobile to keep the occupants safe. There are more special features on The Beast, which can be found in the article.

There are undoubtedly more safety and security mechanisms than detailed in the article, and there’s a chance that the Secret Service agents protecting the President don’t know about all of them. The article does, however, shine a light on the various systems that keep VIPs protected and safe from harm, and that in and of itself, is pretty cool.

*[Editor’s Note: I have been told that Nico Vega’s “The Beast” is not about the president’s limo, but is still worth listening to anyway. The band will release their next album, Lead to Light, with help from fans who purchased exclusives through PledgeMusic)

Photo courtesy of General Motors

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About Cameron Rogers

Cameron Rogers is the founder and lead writer at Downshift Autos, the only automotive blog on the Internet*. Born in the back of an AMC Gremlin, Cameron vowed to never let this extraordinarily embarrassing detail define him, so help him God. He drives a GTI but absolutely will not shut up about it if somebody asks. He will not hesitate to let people know that no, they shouldn't get a Porsche 911 when a Morgan 3 Wheeler is so obviously the superior choice. He is obsessed with the seats of a Carrera GT and the steering wheel of a Fisker Karma. He once sat in the driver's seat of a Tesla Model S, his greatest accomplishment to date. He is just now realizing that writing an autobiography, however miniscule, in the third person is odd and unnerving. *As of this writing, Cameron has been informed that there are, in fact, many websites and blogs centered around cars and car culture. He regrets his grievous error.

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