Presidential State Car (United States)

Presidential State Car (United States)

The Presidential State Car is the official state car used by the President of the United States. Analogous to the President's use of an airplane designated "Air Force One", the automobile—traditionally a limousine—is informally known as "Cadillac One".

Current model

The current Presidential State Car is a 2006 hand-crafted, armored version of the stretch Cadillac DTS (DeVille Touring Sedan) built on a GM four-wheel drive platform.cite news |first=Neil|last= McDonald |title=By George, a Caddie that's bulletproof |work= The Daily Telegraph (Australia) |publisher= |date=2007-08-24 |accessdate=2008-02-05] The vehicle was custom built by Centigon (formerly O'Gara, Hess & Eisenhardt). [cite news | author=The Associated Press | title=British company agrees to buy Armor Holdings | url= | work=The Enquirer | date=8 May 2007 | accessdate=2007-05-22] It was first used on January 20, 2005 during the second inauguration parade of George W. Bush. The Secret Service refers to the heavily-armored vehicle as "the beast". [cite news | author=Sheryl Gay Stolberg | title=Bush in Europe was a man on the run | url= | work=International Herald Tribune | date=11 June 2007 | accessdate=2008-01-29]

The limousine is airlifted for domestic and international use primarily by U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III. On domestic trips, Cadillac One displays the American and presidential standard, which are lit by directional flood lights mounted on the hood. Red and blue emergency lights are built into the front grille, and the vehicle is fitted with strobe lights in the front headlights and rear brake lights. When the President performs a state visit to a foreign country, the presidential standard is replaced by the foreign country's flag.

Previous presidential limousines

President William McKinley was the first president to ride in an automobile, but it was not until the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt that the first government-owned automobile was used, a white Stanley Steamer. Roosevelt's successor, William Howard Taft, was the first president to use a presidential automobile that was permanently stored in the White House garage. [Michael L. Bromley, "William Howard Taft and the First Motoring Presidency, 1909-1913", New York: McFarland & Co. 2007] President Woodrow Wilson favored cars over horse-drawn carriages, and was one of the first chief executives to ride in a Cadillac during a World War I victory parade through the streets of Boston. In 1921, President Warren Harding was the first to ride to his inauguration in a car, a Packard Twin-Six; and a lavish 1928 Cadillac town car was used by his successor, President Calvin Coolidge. In 1938, two Cadillac convertibles dubbed the "Queen Mary" and "Queen Elizabeth" were delivered to the U.S. government. Named after the great ocean liners of the time, the 21.5 ft (6.55 m), 7,660 pound (3,470 kg) vehicles were equipped with a full ammunition arsenal, two way radios, and heavy duty generators. Durable and reliable, the two "Queens" served Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, and Dwight D. Eisenhower. The Secret Service would later use custom-bodied 1956, 1976, and 1983 Series 75 convertibles as follow-up command cars into the 1990s.

On December 8, 1941, the day after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the Secret Service used an armored limousine, originally belonging to Prohibition-era gangster Al Capone, to transport the President to Congress to present his famous Infamy Speech. The car had been confiscated by the Department of the Treasury following Capone's conviction for tax evasion and had been stored in a Washington, D.C. impound lot until its ironic final duty. [Wright, Mike (1998). "What They Didn't Teach You About World War II". Presidio Press. ISBN 0-89141-723-0 p.145]

The first car specially built for presidential use was the 1939 Lincoln V12 convertible called the "Sunshine Special" used by Franklin D. Roosevelt. It remained in use until 1950. The vehicle was donated to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, where it is on permanent display.

A 1950 Lincoln Cosmopolitan called the "Bubble Top" was introduced, and used by Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy and once by Johnson. It was retired in 1965 and is now located on permanent display at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. President Eisenhower, who was known as a "car buff," had ridden in one of the first Cadillac Eldorados during the 1953 Inauguration Day parade. The vehicle was unique as it had the first one piece "wrap-around" windshield, which quickly became a standard in domestic and foreign automobiles.

The John F. Kennedy limousine was a 1961 Lincoln Continental convertible, also with a Plexiglas bubble top in the event of inclement weather. The vehicle was custom built by Hess and Eisenhart of Cincinnati, and was known as the SS-100-X. The Secret Service had the car fitted with a 1962 grill for aesthetic reasons.

The 1961 vehicle was notorious for its inadequate cooling of the rear of the passenger cabin while the bubble top was in place, particularly in sunshine. In order to prevent excessive heat and discomfort to the passengers, the top was often removed prior to parades, as was the case in Dallas on November 22, 1963. The car was retrofit of armor plating, added a permanent sedan roof, new interior, improved air-conditioning system, electronic communications equipment, bulletproof glass, a new paint treatment and cosmetic alterations to remove damage incurred during the assassination, among other changes. The car is also on display at the Henry Ford Museum. [cite web | author= | title=Presidential Limousine: Kennedy | url= | publisher=Henry Ford Museum at The Henry Ford | date= | accessdate=2008-01-29]

The Johnson Administration also used three 1965 Lincoln Continental Executive Limousines. Two limousines for the President and one for Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, as well as a 1968 "stretch" Lincoln to be used in Washington, D.C., and Austin, Texas. This vehicle is on display at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum.

The X-100 was modified again in 1967. Later, under President Richard Nixon, the large one-piece glass roof was replaced with a smaller glass area and a hinged roof panel. It remained in service until 1977 and resides in its final configuration at the Henry Ford Museum.

President Nixon ordered a 1969 model limousine, through Lehman-Peterson of Chicago. This vehicle also had an added sunroof so that Nixon could stand upright when appearing before parade-goers if desired. This vehicle was equipped with several features, such as retractable hand grips and running boards, options later copied by Hess and Eisenhart. This car is now located at the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, California.

In 1974, Ford supplied a 1972 Continental model that was stretched to 22 ft (7 m), outfitted with armor plating, bullet resistant glass and powered by a 460 in³ (7.5 l) V8 engine mated to a C-6 3-speed automatic transmission. This limousine was used by Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, and is on display at the Henry Ford Museum. This model was also altered a number of times during its history, including a replacement of front end piece to update it to a 1978 grill. This was the limousine that Reagan was about to enter during his assassination attempt in 1981.

In 1983, the Reagan administration received a Cadillac Fleetwood limousine, which resides at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, California. This limousine was first used in February 1985 for President Ronald Reagan's birthday parade in Dixon, Illinois. This was the last GM car equipped with the Turbo Hydra-Matic 400 3-speed automatic transmission. George H. W. Bush used a 1989 modified Lincoln Town Car. This car has a 460 Cu. in. EFI V-8 out of a Ford F-250 Heavy Duty pickup truck and an E4OD 4 speed automatic transmission. One model is on display at the George Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas.

A Presidential Series Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham was delivered to the Clinton Administration in 1993. The Cadillac vehicles were designed, developed and manufactured at General Motors. No sunroof or running boards were installed in order to minimize external threats. This limo had a 454 cubic inch (7.4 liter) Chevrolet V-8 Engine mated to a 4L80E 4 speed automatic transmission, which was the same as GM used in the 1993 Chevrolet C2500 heavy duty pickup Truck. The 1993 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham is located at the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Arkansas.

A 2001 Cadillac DeVille limousine was delivered to the Bush Administration and was replaced by the current 2006 Cadillac DTS.

Presidential motorcade

Since 2001, when the president travels out of town, his motorcade has consisted of about 35 vehicles. Approximately the first half of the motorcade is called the "secure package", which would break off from the rest of the group in an attack. The remainder of the motorcade is staff and reporters, an ambulance, and more police cars at the end. [cite news | author= Christopher Beam | title=What's in a Presidential Motorcade? | url= | work=Slate | date=29 November 2006| accessdate=2008-01-29] While the limousine itself is maintained by the Secret Service, motorcade support vehicles are maintained by the White House Military Office.cite web|url=|title=The President's Motorcade|accessdate=2008-04-19|date=Fall 1998|publisher=The White House (Clinton Administration archived version)]

The presidential limousine is sometimes taken to overseas stops where secure transportation is needed. Sometimes, the president uses transportation that is already in the country, either military or in the U.S. embassy motor pool. At times, the president travels in the Presidential Suburban, one of two Chevrolet Suburbans with the presidential seal on the sides.cite web | author=Ambassador Donald Ensenat | title=Ask the White House | pulisher=The White House | url= | date=18 January 2007 | accessdate=2007-05-22]

Motorcade elements

Motorcade composition differs according to mission threat level.

One of the first and last vehicles contained in most motorcade packages is an electronic warfare Suburban. This vehicle contains barrage jammers to counter electronic guided attacks along the convoy route from IR missiles to IEDs. Barrage jamming works by transmitting a large band of frequencies over a wide spectrum, which is large enough to defeat different emitters on different frequencies. The vehicles can be configured with multiple antennae configurations according to the RF mission jamming requirements. For example, such jammers attack radio receivers used to detonate remote controlled improvised explosive devices, such as cellular and satellite phones, garage door openers, car alarm receivers, and cordless cell phone receivers.

The vehicles are part of the Tigerwall system. It was designed by SPAWAR, the space warfare division of the Navy. SPAWAR was contracted by the Secret Service to deploy the system. It uses long range cameras and on-board RF equipment to identify objects in the sky and provide real-time tracking of their locations and trajectories. The system integrates the data from several sources to provide a graphical view of airborne threats in the immediate area of the traveling motorcade.

Another element of the motorcade package is the follow-up car. It is typically a Chevrolet Suburban that tails immediately behind the presidential limo and contains the protective squad that provides close protection to the president. The vehicle is equipped with retractable running boards and hand holds to allow for quick escape of agents in the event an attack, or an event in which agents are outside the vehicle and need to escape. Each vehicle typically carries five to six agents: a driver, a passenger, two to three agents in the back seat and a tail gunner. The tail gunner sits in the cargo area of the vehicle and guards the rear flank of the motorcade. Depending on the motorcade formation and threat environment, the rear window may be closed or swung open. The tail gunner typically carries an MP5A3 sub machine gun. The number of follow-up vehicles varies according to mission requirements.

Guest limousines

The United States government also operates similarly designed limousines for VIP guests, visiting heads of government, and heads of state.

ee also

* Litter
* Popemobile


External links

* [ The United States Secret Service]
* [ Vehicle order for Presidential motorcade]
* [ Who was the president when the White House got its first car?]
* [ Popular mechanics June 2001 article] about the 2001 Cadillac DeVille persidental limo.
* [ Manufacturer of barrage jamming equipment for motorcades]
* [ Manufacturer of barrage jamming vehicles for the Department of Defense
* [ Information regarding the EW (Electronic Warfare vehicles) from former employee of Advanced Countermeasure Systems.
* [] SPAWAR description of the Tigerwall System used by the USSS
* [] SPAWAR detailed description of the Tigerwall system
* [] Photo of a USSS tail gunner with a MP5

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • United States presidential election, 1992 — 1988 ← November 3, 1992 → 1996 …   Wikipedia

  • United States — This article is about the United States of America. For other uses of terms redirecting here, see US (disambiguation), USA (disambiguation), and United States (disambiguation). United States of America …   Wikipedia

  • United States presidential election, 2012 — United States presidential election, 2012 …   Wikipedia

  • United States Secret Service — Common name Secret Service Abbreviation USSS …   Wikipedia

  • UNITED STATES OF AMERICA — UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, country in N. America. This article is arranged according to the following outline: introduction Colonial Era, 1654–1776 Early National Period, 1776–1820 German Jewish Period, 1820–1880 East European Jewish Period,… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • United States journalism scandals — lists journalistic incidents in the United States which have been widely reported as journalistic scandals, or which were alleged to be scandalous by journalistic standards of the day.Notable reports of United States journalism scandalsCoverage… …   Wikipedia

  • United States — a republic in the N Western Hemisphere comprising 48 conterminous states, the District of Columbia, and Alaska in North America, and Hawaii in the N Pacific. 267,954,767; conterminous United States, 3,022,387 sq. mi. (7,827,982 sq. km); with… …   Universalium

  • United States Constitution — P …   Wikipedia

  • United States presidential election, 1960 — Infobox Election election name = United States presidential election, 1960 country = United States type = presidential ongoing = no previous election = United States presidential election, 1956 previous year = 1956 next election = United States… …   Wikipedia

  • United States presidential election, 1980 — Infobox Election election name = United States presidential election, 1980 country = United States type = presidential ongoing = no previous election = United States presidential election, 1976 previous year = 1976 next election = United States… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.