Ever since the latest presidential limousine, also known as The Beast, debuted in 2009, we've wondered what's underneath that black Cadillac body. We already know a few details, like the fact it isn't a Cadillac at all, but a very heavy duty truck chassis from General Motors with a body that resembles a super-sized Caddy. Autoweek, however, has managed to extract new details from veteran Secret Service agents about the closely guarded presidential limo. Their methods, of course, are classified.

Designed to be a rolling office, bunker and escape pod all in one, the current presidential limo is far different from previous presidential state cars, which were heavily modified production vehicles. As we would expect, The Beast uses thick, military-grade body armor (eight inches on the doors), an armored fuel tank, special run-flat tires with Kevlar lining, an encrypted satellite phone, a fully sealed cabin with its own oxygen supply and a trunk full of weapons and medical equipment that includes a supply of the President's blood type (in case the car gets cut off from the ambulance that's always present in the President's motorcade).

The Beast also comes with a Halon fire-suppression system, night vision and is powered by a V8 engine, which we already knew runs on gas and not diesel, that returns an EPA-unfriendly estimated 3.7 miles per gallon. The Secret Service operates a fleet of 12 limos and each Beast costs $1.5 million. Lastly, AW estimates that the 18-foot-long state car weighs 15,000 pounds, and each Secret Service agent that drives the car must be specially trained to maneuver such a massive vehicle.

Interestingly, the article says that one of the main reasons The Beast is more beastly than its predecessor is that the previous design, which was retired during the George W. Bush presidency, couldn't handle all of the added weight and equipment. In particular, the production-grade transmissions and brakes required frequent replacing. We know the Secret Service is already looking for The Beast's replacement, so we've included below our previously published renderings of what it might look like.


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  • 99 Comments
      justgoawaymad
      • 1 Year Ago
      What? what in this article is new? I'm waiting for the "classified" stuff. waiting......... still waiting. NOTHING in this is new.
      The Wasp
      • 1 Year Ago
      I thought there were only two presidential limos -- I could have sworn there was an article a couple of months ago saying the Secret Service is planning to replace the second of two with a new limo. Also, the price and fuel mileage estimates don't match other public estimates ($300,000 and 8mpg) -- I wonder what the correct figures are. I wouldn't be surprised if $1.5M and 3.7mpg are accurate, just curious.
        justgoawaymad
        • 1 Year Ago
        @The Wasp
        The cost of the car and the cost of the finished(secret service)product are probably way apart. That and 3.7 for a 15K weight car that idles all the time, with duel air systems. Not so far off.
        NightFlight
        • 1 Year Ago
        @The Wasp
        $300K? LOL I would bet this thing is 5 million plus once everything is totaled up, including all the technology and security that is classified.
      erzhik
      • 1 Year Ago
      It's going to be another limo with an Escalade face.. the new Escalade face that is.
      hadskeath
      • 1 Year Ago
      I would love to know what gas V8 engine it has. Has to have mountains of torque. I thinking the old Vortec 8.1 496ci from a few years ago, a 502 crate motor or maybe a specially tuned LS9.
        Jeff Crowell
        • 1 Year Ago
        @hadskeath
        It's known that it's actually a diesel. Thus, a mountain of torque.
        John
        • 1 Year Ago
        @hadskeath
        Its a GM commercial grade gasoline engine with not much in common with the retail engines available. Certainly no LS9 or crate engine.
          The Wasp
          • 1 Year Ago
          @John
          Oh -- sort of like how a commercial grade GMC pickup has nothing in common with a 'retail grade' Chevrolet pickup. If it doesn't match the bore, stroke and basic design of a retail engine, I would be very surprised.
      Lastchance
      • 1 Year Ago
      Interesting point is other countries leaders get by with regular luxuary cars with minimum upgrades, yet our president has to ride in a $1.5 million super limo apc. Goes to show how much our government trust it citizens and how much everyone around the world loves our foreign policies.
        stevenh
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Lastchance
        There has been 4 US presidents assassinated last being JFK in a car and many attempted assassinations of almost every US president most of which have been by US citizens, so Iit makes sense to be protected in all ways. So If I was the government I am not sure if I would trust its citizens especially since everyone can carry a gun and have crazy gun laws ( I speak as an outsider who lives in another country) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_presidential_assassination_attempts_and_plots
          Lastchance
          • 1 Year Ago
          @stevenh
          Any determined person, even in a country with strict firearm laws, could still find a weapon or even make an IED to carry out there deed, if they really wanted to killing the leader. Laws don't stop people who have made that decision. Still in Europe the leaders don't ride in up armored vehicles like the American president. It is very telling that the US president has to ride in basically a luxuary APC.
          Lastchance
          • 1 Year Ago
          @stevenh
          I want to add that if the SS were only worried about a domestic assassination then they would only need a lightly armored vehicle that is resistant to small arms fire and explosives to protect the president. Similar to what was introduced after kennedy was assassinated. What these vehicles are designed for is a full on attack with military grade weapons. Also most assassination have happened when the president was out in public. These vehicles are designed for international visits.
        The Wasp
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Lastchance
        The US is definitely not the only country that uses a substantially-armored car to carry the President. If this cost $1.5 million, I wouldn't even be surprised if there are other countries with more expensive presidential limos.
          The Wasp
          • 1 Year Ago
          @The Wasp
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Official_state_car I don't know the prices of these cars but some of them are certainly worth more than $1.5 million and I suspect some of them cost more than that when new also.
      Smooth Motor
      • 1 Year Ago
      Gee, if you listen to the rhetoric of this administration, shouldn't it be a hybrid or pure EV? Once again, do as I say not as I do.........
        Cayman
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Smooth Motor
        If you read the article you would have noticed this thing debuted in 2009, which was this administration's first year. I'm going to go out on a limb and guess it took more than a year to design, build, test and deploy this thing. So it was done during the previous administrations. I'm certainly not a fan of the current administration, but its amazing how people complain about the trivial non-nonsensical issues while ignoring what's really important. Yes, the President of the United States travels in a different manner than you or I. Do you really think that is surprising or a bad thing?
          reattadudes
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Cayman
          the car was originally ordered in 2003. and for those who somehow think ANY President is involved in ordering one or its specification, sorry to disappoint you. the Secret Service is in charge of all that; no input or decision-making by the Executive branch whatsoever. and the government doesn't PAY a nickel for any of them. they are all leased to the government for the princely sum of $1 per year.
        mapoftazifosho
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Smooth Motor
        When the average rank and file Obama hater is apathetic to the idea of the president being assassinated...you can't always put efficiency over safety. This style of argument by the anti-green crowd is just sickening. The idea that reducing one's use a bit isn't worth doing at all unless you're so insanely committed that you completely give up modern conveniences and live off the land in the middle of the woods. And yet you still would hate on the people that do go that far!
          euro
          • 1 Year Ago
          @mapoftazifosho
          you libs make me sick.
        PTC DAWG
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Smooth Motor
        Just a silly comment.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      Arizonarelax
      • 1 Year Ago
      Um, 3.7MPG? What no Hybird? I see - do what I say not as I do.
        axiomatik
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Arizonarelax
        Design began in 2003 (during Bush administration), the Prius had only been on the market for 2 years, primary purpose is reliability and survivability, yeah, don't expect a hybrid.
        PTC DAWG
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Arizonarelax
        Another silly comment...
      MONTEGOD7SS
      • 1 Year Ago
      Put him in a taxi. Everybody loves him, remember? He should be just fine.
      4gasem
      • 1 Year Ago
      He's got TONS more protection than what's allowed our men and woman put into situations needing this protection daily and he's getting a new one while our men and woman make due with up armored Humvee's until their new vehicle is put through its paces and approved. Hmm...
        Cayman
        • 1 Year Ago
        @4gasem
        Maybe because the loss of a President is far more damaging to the nation as a whole than the loss of a single soldier (as great of a loss as that is). We protect the President the way we do not because we care so much more for him, but because of how disruptive his death, especially his assassination, would be to us.
          johnb
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Cayman
          our system of govt has plenty of safeguards to run smoothly after the death of a single person, including the President. it would be sad, but that's about it.
          Seal Rchin
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Cayman
          Really?????????????
        mapoftazifosho
        • 1 Year Ago
        @4gasem
        Maybe Bushie shouldn't have gone to war with under armored Humvee's...
        The Wasp
        • 1 Year Ago
        @4gasem
        Presumably you're referring to US soldiers/armed forces abroad. Would you have them each drive around behemoth truck-limousines? This thing would get stuck in the desert long before a Humvee would.
          4gasem
          • 1 Year Ago
          @The Wasp
          Yeah, that's what I meant! They all need to be in big black limos.
      collabplan
      • 1 Year Ago
      The fact that you're suggesting that the Beast's replacement could be a Lincoln or Chrysler is laughable.
        carnut0913
        • 1 Year Ago
        @collabplan
        True. Lincoln (Ford) spurned government assistance and Chrysler is now foreign owned. It would have to be a Caddy.
      Tony Akinremi
      • 1 Year Ago
      For all Obama Haters. The Beast vehicle was requested to be changed under The Bush Administration. I believe they wanted a New Beast and also a New Air Force One and Air Force Two (the Helicopter). For what this thing weighs they should just make it look like what it is a Military Humvee. Stop the Pretense.
        methos1999
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Tony Akinremi
        Small correction - the helicopter is Marine One, not Air Force 2
          stevenh
          • 1 Year Ago
          @methos1999
          actually only called AF 1 or M1 when he is aboard, it is call AF2 when the VP is aboard and if it is flying and none of them are on board it goes by the aircraft registration call sign
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