Okay, so you’ll never get to drive it, or ride in it, or maybe even see it (except on television). Shoot at it with a high-powered rifle and the bullet will bounce off. Let fly with a rocket-launcher before the Secret Service take you out and Cadillac One will barely be dented. But it can’t be ignored.
Unlike some previous US Presidents who made do with hand-me-downs, Barack Obama got a new limo built by Cadillac — marque of first choice since Congress funded a White House car pool a century ago. President Wilson paraded in a Caddy to mark the end of World War I. Convertibles nicknamed Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary after famous ocean liners loyally served Presidents Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower. Ronald Reagan used a Fleetwood, Bill Clinton preferred a newer Fleetwood Brougham and George W Bush had a Cadillac DTS.
Since the awful events of 9/11, security mania has swept the States and the new Presidential ride — codenamed ‘Stagecoach’ —reflects that. With sophisticated communications it’s the earthbound equivalent of Air Force One and has been described by the Secret Service as the most technologically advanced protection vehicle in the world’. Exactly what that entails is a matter of speculation.
This handsome black ‘armoured personnel carrier with tinted windows’ is said to be completely bulletproof, capable of withstanding an explosive blast and have an in-built oxygen supply to repel chemical attack. It looks not unlike an over-stretched Cadillac DTS but is built on a General Motors truck chassis with a large diesel engine to haul the weight, allegedly about 8 tons.
The armour plating is up to 20 cm (8 in) thick, whilst the anti-ballistic glass is 13 cm (5 in) thick. Oh, one vital secret has leaked out — Cadillac One has a 10-disc CD player.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
GM spokesperson: ‘One of the specifications is that we don’t talk about specifications’ (true)
GM spokesperson: ‘If I told you the facts, I’d have to kill you’ (false, but the figures are a closely guarded secret)
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Don’t think anyone will get to snoop around Cadillac One when it is decommissioned, after working down the political pecking order over time. The car won’t finish up in the Henry Ford Museum alongside other Presidential limos, but will be destroyed on the orders of the Secret Service to preserve its secrets.