January 27, 2005 No-one knows exactly what George W Bush's new car can do. At least, no-one who really knows is telling. TV news reports say it's missile-proof, which is probably isn't true, despite unconfirmed reports that the body armour is five inches thick (cos the windows obviously aren't). Indeed secrecy is so tight around the new hand-built Presidential limousine that no-one can say how much it cost, how many there are, or anything more than the following "cleared information."
Cadillac is pretty happy about the new Cadillac - as far as celebrity endorsements go, they don't come any bigger, or more visible or more upmarket than this. The new car that carried President George W Bush during the United States Presidential Inaugural Parade on January 20 was the first public showing of the company's 2006 model - or more correctly, "the new design direction" for the 2006 Cadillac DTS production model expected to go on sale in the third quarter of 2005.
It doesn't really matter - the last Presidential limo was a Cadillac and the next one will be too. It's standard protocol for the head of State to drive a vehicle from their country's most prestigious automotive manufacturer. In Britain, that's a Jaguar, and in many countries it's a shared gig - Peugeot and Renault in France, BMW and Mercedes in in Germany, and in Japan, Emperor Akihito is currently driven in a Nissan Prince Royal and there's a suitably up market Toyota under development.
In America, Cadillac has been building limousines and special vehicles for U.S. presidents, diplomats, ambassadors and foreign dignitaries since the early 1900s.
With a new design and unique construction under the skin, the new Cadillac DTS limousine is handcrafted and dressed in a jet-black clearcoat finish. The vehicle is a considerably longer, wider and taller version of the production model that becomes available later this year. For some reason, the exact dimensions are considered classified.
To maintain national security, the limousines are equipped with state-of-the-art protection and communication systems.
The vehicle interior boasts six-passenger seating with comfort and visibility for all occupants. A rear seat executive package features a concealed, foldaway desktop that can be deployed when conducting affairs of state. The rear seats have an adjustable reclining feature along with the adaptive seat system, which senses the position of the occupant in the seat and automatically adjusts the cushion for added comfort.
Moreover, rear seat passengers can enjoy their own premium sound system complete with a 10-disc CD changer. Wood accents, rich blue leather and cloth complete the executive interior.
An embroidered presidential seal is positioned in the center of the rear seat back panel, as well as on each rear door trim panel. Presidential seals are also affixed to the exterior rear doors.
The U.S. flag is placed on the right front fender, and the presidential standard is located on the left front fender when the president travels in the vehicle. Flush-mounted High Intensity Discharged (HID) spotlights illuminate the flags at night.
The 2006 Cadillac DTS production model is set to make its first public appearance at the Chicago Auto Show in early February and is expected to go on sale in the third quarter of 2005.
History of US Presidential Limousines
One of the first chief executives to ride in a Cadillac was President Woodrow Wilson, who rode through the streets of Boston during a World War I victory parade. A lavish 1928 Cadillac town car was used extensively throughout the Coolidge Administration.
In 1938, two Cadillac convertibles dubbed the "Queen Mary" and "Queen Elizabeth" were delivered to the U.S. Government. Named after the great ocean liners of the time, the 211/2 feet, 7,660 pound vehicles were equipped with a full ammunition arsenal, two way radios, and heavy duty generators. Durable and reliable, the two "Queens" served Presidents Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower.
President Eisenhower, who was known as a "car buff," had ridden in one of the first Eldorados during the1953 Inauguration Day Parade. The vehicle was unique as it had the first wrap around windshield, which quickly became a standard in domestic and foreign automobiles.
In 1956, the Queen Mary II and Queen Elizabeth II convertibles replaced the original series. The vehicles were 21 feet long and weighed 7,000 pounds. Like their predecessors, these vehicles were fully armored with state-of-the art communications at that time. Moreover, the vehicles were fitted with narrow rims inside the tire in case the tires were shot out. The Queen Mary II and Queen Elizabeth II served not only President Eisenhower, but also Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. Both vehicles were retired in 1968.
The Reagan administration was delivered a 1983 Cadillac Fleetwood limousine while a Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham - Presidential Series was delivered to the Clinton Administration in 1993. Unlike previous models, the Presidential Brougham was designed, developed and manufactured totally within General Motors. Moreover, the vehicle was designed to provide unquestionable protection. Minimizing exposure to external threats, no sunroof or running boards were installed on the vehicle.
Currently, the 1983 Cadillac Fleetwood limousine resides at the Ronald W. Reagan Presidential Library & Museum in California while the 1993 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham is located at the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Arkansas.
The predecessor to the current limousine was the 2001 Cadillac DeVille limousine. The vehicle is still in service.