2009 Cadillac Presidential Limousine: details revealed about Obama’s Beast

Autoweek has revealed more details about the Cadillac Presidential Limousine that President Obama rides around in, both in the US and internationally.

While it looks in photos to be a beefed up Cadillac, this latest Presidential Limousine is actually based off a GM commercial truck platform, most likely the one underpinning the Chevrolet Kodiak and GMC TopKick heavy duty pickup trucks. Previous Presidential limousines were highly modified road-going cars, but later models were so weighed down by the extra protection and equipment that they had to be rebuilt regularly.

On top of this GM’s R&D division has mounted a specially designed limousine body with outer body panels made of fibreglass. It’s bigger than anything produced for general sale, but neither GM nor the US Secret Service have gone on record about the 2009 Presidential Limousine’s dimensions. From photos of it in action it looks to be as tall as the already ginormous Cadillac Escalade and around as long too, at about 5.4m (18ft).

The doors and body are fitted with plenty of military-grade armour plating — so much so that President Obama reportedly struggles to open the doors, thanks to their 8-inch (203mm) thick plating. The fuel tank is surrounded in plating and special foam, which should protect it against most firearms. There’s also bulletproof 5-inch (127mm) thick glass throughout. All up this protection adds significant weight — Autoweek speculates that the limousine weighs around 6,800kg (15,000lb) — meaning that the V8 petrol engine under the hood lives a hard life and isn’t particularly fuel efficient, drinking fuel at an alarming 63.6L/100km (3.7mpg).

An emergency oxygen supply lies under the President’s seat, while the whole interior is sealed off from the outside world, just in case there’s a chemical weapons attack. Cool tech gear includes an encrypted satellite phone that allows the President to perform video conferences with various arms of government. In the boot there’s a small cache of weapons, while the tyres are of the run-flat variety, but with a special kevlar lining to make it even hardier.

Due to the car’s special weight and height characteristics, as well as its special features, Special Service agents have to undergo specific training to drive it. 12 2009 Cadillac Presidential Limousines have so far been built and each costs around US$1.5 million. It’s rumoured that some of the limousines may even be fitted with night vision in case of a blinding attack.

Keen-eyed motoring dweebs will recognise the wing mirrors and headlights from current generation Cadillac Escalade SUV.

Source: Autoweek

Derek Fung

Derek Fung

Derek has a lifelong love for all things automotive, from the dullest Camry to record shattering Bugattis. Prior to starting up Between the Axles he was a reviewer for CNET Australia and the founding editor of its Car Technology channel. [Read more]