The Beast – Barack Obama Car
When President Barack Obama needs to travel via road there is only one vehicle fit for the job. The presidential state car – nicknamed ‘The Beast‘ by the US Secret Service – is that vehicle and, as its moniker would suggest, it is more like an armoured personnel carrier than a car.
Indeed, The Beast truly is a monstrous machine, assembled by US automobile manufacturer Cadillac from a wide range of heavy-duty and performance vehicles, as well as a plethora of custom components. The scale of the vehicle’s performance, resistance and feature set is immense, with the car capable of withstanding intense explosions, direct arms fire, road-laid mines, chemical weapons and even electronic warfare. Moving on to the offensive, it is outfitted with pump-action shotguns, tear gas cannons and revolutionary Kevlar-reinforced tyres – the latter capable of running on internal steel rims even if the tyres are destroyed.
The official state car is not just a piece of mobile heavy armour to protect the most important person in America, however – it is also one of the most connected places on the planet.
Equipped with cutting-edge in-car Wi-Fi technology, a satellite phone, as well as direct lines to both the vice president and the Pentagon – the headquarters of the US Secret Service – no matter where the president is in the United States, events can be handled fluidly and with immediate effect.
Importantly, while the presidential state car is a mobile fortress, it is backed up on every journey by a motorcade, with a number of Secret Service-driven vehicles surrounding the car at any time. These vehicles are outfitted in a similar manner and, in partnership with agents on the ground, add another barrier between the premier and potential threat.
State car history
The first US president to ride in an automobile was William McKinley, but it wasn’t until the tenure of Theodore Roosevelt that the government officially operated a state-owned presidential vehicle. Roosevelt used a Stanley Steamer, while his successor William Taft rode in a White Motor Company Model M Steamer. While these early-20th-century presidents did ride in cars, it was not until 1921 – with the ascension of Warren Harding – that a car was used in an inauguration ceremony; Harding’s car was a Packard Twin Six. Since then a variety of vehicles have been used to carry the US premier, including a Lincoln V12 convertible, a Cadillac 341A Town Sedan – confiscated off Al Capone, a Lincoln Cosmopolitan and Continental – the latter the model that John F Kennedy was assassinated in, a Chrysler Imperial LeBaron, Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham and Cadillac Deville, among others.
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Facts about Obama’s Car
Bodywork – The bodywork is incredibly thick and made out of layers of dual-hardness steel, aluminium, titanium and ceramic. Together, these can resist incoming explosive projectiles.
Rear compartment – The rear compartment of the vehicle can sit four people and is separated from the front by a bulletproof glass partition. A panic button is installed on the president’s chair.
Boot – The state car’s boot is equipped with a large emergency oxygen supply, comprehensive firefighting system and canisters of the president’s blood type.
Oxygen canister – Underneath the president’s seat lies a canister of oxygen in the case of a chemical weapons attack.
Driver’s window – The driver’s window is the only one in the entire car that opens, and even then it only does so by 7.6cm (3in). This allows the driver to communicate with nearby Secret Service agents.
Arms – The car sports a brace of pump-action Remington shotguns and several tear gas cannons.
Door – Each door weighs as much as a cabin door taken from a Boeing 757 jet due to 20.3cm (8in)-thick armour plates. The glass is bulletproof and bomb resistant too.
Driver’s compartment – The driver’s dashboard contains a state-of-the-art communications centre equipped with a cutting-edge GPS tracking system.
Tyre – The Beast’s tyres are Kevlar reinforced, shred and puncture resistant and have steel rims underneath – the latter allowing the car to run even if the tyres are compromised.
Electronics – The car has built-in Wi-Fi, a satellite phone, direct lines to the vice president and Pentagon as well as a host of night-vision cameras.