January 19, 2009 The United States will celebrate the inauguration of its 44th President tomorrow, and the President has a new set of wheels. Continuing a tradition that's almost as old as the automobile itself, President Barack Obama will cruise down Pennsylvania Avenue in an all-new Cadillac Presidential Limousine. The completely redesigned limo replaces the DTS Presidential Limousine introduced in 2004 and while official details of the car's drivetrain, on-board tech and armored capabilities of course remain top secret, speculation has it possibly equipped with five-inch thick bulletproof glass and high strength ceramic armor. We don't expect confirmation on these details any time soon, but it's safe to say that this rolling fortress incorporates the best in protection (and comfort) that modern bespoke automobile production has to offer.
According to the GM release: "The car was designed, developed and tested by specialists who adhered to an extensive set of specifications. It was subjected to an extreme testing regimen to ensure performance that achieves precise functional requirements. In doing so, security provisions were undertaken at all times during development to ensure the car’s functional capabilities are preserved and confidential." As we said, details are scarce.
The new Cadillac One is not based on a particular model, rather stitching together design elements from across the Cadillac range. These include the dual-textured grille found on the current model CTS sport sedan, STS tail-lights, head-lights from the Escalade and side and rear profiles "evocative of Cadillac’s STS and DTS luxury sedans".
The car has roughly the same footprint as its predecessor but is slightly more upright to improve outward visibility. It's also rumored that the chassis is based GMC Topkick truck platform, which would make sense given that it's unlikely to be a lightweight vehicle.
Behind the tinted glass there's all the comfort and luxury befitting a presidential vehicle - upholstery cut and sewn by hand, an embroidered presidential seal in the center of the rear seat back panel and on each rear door trim and an an extensive executive compartment featuring state-of-the-art mobile office features.
Presidential seals also feature on the exterior rear doors and, in one technical detail that has been officially released, the U.S. flag and the presidential standard flown on the front of the vehicle are illuminated by high-tech LED spotlights.
In what is the pinnacle of product placement for Cadillac, the new Presidential Limousine is the latest in a tradition that has seen many U.S. presidents ride behind the luxury marque.
One of the first chief executives to use a Cadillac was President Wilson, who rode through the streets of Boston during a World War I victory parade in 1919. Reportedly a car buff, President Eisenhower rode in one of the first Cadillac Eldorado models ever produced during his 1953 inaugural parade. Two giant (at 21.5 feet long) 1938 Cadillac convertibles known as the "Queen Mary" and "Queen Elizabeth" served Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower and their slightly smaller replacements were used by Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson until they were retired in 1968.
More recently President Ronald Reagan used a 1983 Cadillac Fleetwood limousine, President Clinton a Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham and President George W. Bush a DTS.
“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.”