One of the most anticipated moments of Election Day was President Barack Obama’s arrival for his acceptance speech. One television commentator said it might be shortest processional in history since the president’s motorcade traveled only a few blocks in downtown Chicago to the McCormick Center.
The short travel distance nonetheless includes plenty of security vehicles, including the current presidential limousine — a 2009 Cadillac. It’s often called The Beast.
According to the manufacturer, Chevrolet, the 2009 Cadillac presidential limousine is the first not to carry a specific model name. The vehicle’s exterior many current Cadillac styling themes, but does not resemble any particular production vehicle.
The body is modification of the immediately previous DTS-badged Presidential limousines, but the vehicle’s chassis and driveline are sourced from the Chevrolet Kodiak commercial truck. Other components of the car includes Cadillac Escalade headlights, side mirrors and door handles. The reas includes the taillights and back up lights from the Cadillac STS sedan.
With a variety of special features — a vast night vision system, a supply of the president’s blood type, a seal again biochemical attacks and an intricate communications system, the car is valued at an estimated $300,000 and averages about 8 mpg.
President Obama’s limousine may be the most technologically advance, but presidents dating to William McKinley in the early 1900s have had presidential cars.
Article Last Updated: November 7, 2012.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.