Pimp My Rolling Presidential Fortress.

Barack Obama presidential limo

Barack Obama and the First Lady will be transported the 2-mile distance down Pennsylvania Ave. tomorrow, as part of the inaugural procession, in the dashing black vehicle, above.

The new presidential whip fulfills a processional tradition of escorting the new leader of the free world in a new, secure ride. The car was fashioned by a grateful Cadillac, which, as part of GM, was sure able to use the work.

“Cadillac is honored to serve and renew this great tradition,” said GM spokeswoman Joanne K. Krell. “And it is entirely appropriate that an American president has at his service a great American vehicle.”

But though it’s a Cadillac, the car is “not a direct extension of any single model,” Krell added.

“The presidential vehicle is built to precise and special specifications, undergoes extreme testing and development, and also incorporates many of the top aspects of Cadillac’s ‘regular’ cars — such as signature design, hand-cut-and-sewn interiors, etc.”

Presidential inaugural limo, side view

Asked about what special protective elements have been built into the vehicle, shown here from the side, in order to safeguard what has been, without doubt, the most threatened President-elect in American history, Krell replied,

“I am really  prohibited from actually talking about the safety features of the car.”

In a press release, Nicholas Trotta, assistant Secret Service director for the Office of Protective Operations, was no more illuminating.

“Although many of the vehicle’s security enhancements cannot be discussed, it is safe to say that this car’s security and coded communications systems make it the most technologically advanced protection vehicle in the world.”

Of course, as everybody knows, retirees like to talk, and Joe Funk, a retired Secret Service agent who, during part of his time with the Service, drove President Clinton, is no exception. According to CNN, he thinks

Obama should expect two seemingly contradictory feelings when riding in the presidential limousine. …

“I think he will be surprised about how when he’s in the limo, it’s a cocoon,” Funk said. “The everyday noises will be gone, and he will be totally isolated in this protective envelope.”

“At the same time, I think he will be surprised at the communication capabilities, how the phones, the satellites, the Internet — everything is at his fingertips,” he said. “So at one end, you are totally removed from society. The other side of the coin is that he can have any communications worldwide at a moment’s touch.”

Maximum clarity on the Service’s safety concerns, though, arrived in the person of Ken Lucci, CEO of Ambassador Limousine Inc., which owns two presidential transports from Reagan’s administration.

“The limousines of yesteryear were designed just well enough to provide protection to get the president out of the situation. In today’s case, they [the Secret Service] expect a prolonged attack, and they expect an attack that is a lot more violent than [with] a weapon you can hold in you hand.”

“It literally is a rolling bunker,” he says. “It just happens to have wheels on it.”




#1 Fikisha Cumbo on 01.19.09 at 12:50 pm

Interesting reading Harry. What an isolationist life


#2 Lena L. West on 01.20.09 at 2:57 pm

They call it “The Beast”.

I guess they have their reasons.

#3 Johnnie on 01.20.09 at 11:47 pm

It’s being reported that the secret service has dubbed the car “the Beast.” They’re saying GM built it, but I’d bet it was really Hess & Eisenhardt that did the conversion.

#4 Jaguar Mary on 01.24.09 at 8:04 pm

I love that he’s in a Caddy. Super cool old school. ‘Nuf said!

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