Since the first stretch limousine was built in Arkansas in 1928, limo service has been a symbol of opulence and luxury. Airport limousine service is used to impress visitors and luxury limo service is a popular way to make a special night memorable, but there is one kind of limo service airport visitors and prom night revelers can’t even touch. The Presidential limousine services are beyond even the wildest imaginations of most.
Since the late 1930s, specially commissioned vehicles have been used by the Federal government for the convenience and protection of our nation’s presidents. Advanced communications equipment, special convenience features, armor plating, and defense countermeasures are always incorporated into the presidential vehicle, which is usually an American made car.
President Theodore Roosevelt was the first to ride in a government owned, designated presidential vehicle. A white Stanley Steamer, it was eventually replaced by a Model M Steamer for Roosevelt’s successor President William Taft. At that time, the White House stable was converted into an automobile garage.
It wasn’t until 1939 that the first specially built car was used by the President. Franklin D. Roosevelt rode in a Lincoln V12 convertible called the Sunshine Special which was equipped with a siren, running lights, a 2 way radio, extra wide running boards, and grab handles for Secret Service agents. However, the Sunshine Special was replaced by a heavily armored 1928 Cadillac 341 A Town Sedan originally belonging to Al Capone following the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Capone car was used until the Sunshine Special was also made bulletproof.
Limo service didn’t become a part of the presidential package until 1950 when two custom Lincoln Cosmopolitan limos were delivered for use by President Truman. Limo service has remained an integral part of the presidential experience since then.
Today’s Presidential Limo Service
The current presidential limo entered service in 2009. A Cadillac DTS, it is more affectionately known as “The Beast.” Though many details about The Beast are classified for security reasons, there are a few things that are known:
- Grips for secret service agents replace the stock door handles.
- The doors are eight inches thick, and the structure is made of titanium, ceramic, steel, and aluminum.
- The car has its own oxygen supply an an advanced fire fighting system.
- It is equipped with night vision cameras, tear gas cannons, Kevlar reinforced run flat tires, and steel wheels that work even without a tire.
- The Beast is sealed against biochemical attacks.
- The trunk holds a blood bank stocked with the President’s blood type.
The Future of Presidential Limo Service
Nobody really knows what’s next, except that presidential limos are likely to bear increasing resemblance to the Batmobile as the years progress. A Canadian hybrid Prius limo was recently invented, boasting six doors and ten seats. Perhaps “green” is the next thing to add to the litany of special limo service features for the presidential vehicle. Only time will tell!
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