Cadillac’s newest Presidential Limousine debuted at President Obama’s 2009 inaugural parade. Known as Cadillac One, or simply The Beast, this purpose-built, heavily armored car retains many of its technical secrets. For reasons of national security, much of what you are about to read is based on pure speculation. Still, it is safe to assume this is the most technologically advanced and safest vehicle ever created.
Bulletproof glass, airtight seals, onboard oxygen generation, and high-tech electronics, communications systems, and countermeasures are a given. The thing that intrigues us about this car, however, is the rumor that it’s got a Duramax diesel engine.
The Diesel Advantage
Recently, when President Obama attended an environmental summit in Europe, he was ridiculed because of his diesel-guzzling entourage. When asked by the press why President Obama couldn’t have ridden in an electric or hybrid vehicle to the meeting, the Secret Service responded by saying the president’s security is non-negotiable.
The reasons our top officials choose diesel power over anything else include its energy density (delivers longer range), the fuel’s reduced volatility (so it won’t explode like gasoline), and the fact that diesel fuel is found all over the world.
Mil spec: Cadillac Presidential Limousine
- Manufacturer: General Motors
- Length: 18 feet
- Height: 5 feet 10 inches
- Weight: 20,000 pounds
- Frame: Based on the medium-duty Kodiak truck chassis (heavily armored, reinforced, and with V-shaped underbody structure)
- Top speed: More than 60 mph
- Fuel economy: 8 mpg (estimated)
- Armor: 5- to 8-inch steel, titanium, aluminum, and ceramic
- Wheels and tires: 19.5-inch Hutchinson runflat wheels and 19.5-inch Goodyear Regional RHSs
Presidential Limousines Past
President Reagan had two Cadillac presidential limousines and they were the last ones modified by outside limousine contractors—today they are all done in-house. Currently, the 1983 Fleetwood limousine resides at the Ronald W. Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, California.
Here, President Kennedy is shown in this Cadillac Fleetwood 75. This was the first presidential limousine to be fitted with narrow rims inside the tires.
President Eisenhower stands up in the back of this Cadillac Eldorado convertible during his inaugural day parade. Cadillac supplied presidents with transportation all the way back to 1907 with President Taft’s Model G.