Early tomorrow morning, Australian time, one Barack Hussein Obama will be inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States. On his way from the US Capitol to the White House he'll be travelling in an all-new presidential limousine from Cadillac.
Cadillac, as well as Ford's Lincoln luxury arm, have a long history of supplying presidential rides. In earlier, less security conscious times some of the supplied cars were convertibles. And up until Bill Clinton's presidential Caddy they were all showroom standard cars, which were then toughened up and fitted with all manner of communications kit by external coach builders. Since then all presidential limos have been done in-house by GM.
Cadillac, the Secret Service and anyone else with knowledge of the new presidential limo are refusing to say anything concrete about the car, including even relatively basic things like length, width or engine type. What they will tell us though is that it's more upright — for better vision apparently — and there are presidential seals on the rear seat and on the door trim. All types of communication equipment is stored on board and the President will be able to carry out his duties while lounging on the rear seat.
If internet speculation is to be believed, Obama's new Caddy may actually be based on the GMC Topkick commercial truck platform, layered with some serious security/safety tech and a sedan-like body. When we looked at the Mercedes-Benz S600 Pullman Guard last year, we got a peek into just how much tech (and weight) goes into making an armoured limousine. We can expect the new Cadillac to be similarly equipped, with a honking big engine for its hauling armour-plated ass when necessary. Since we're already speculating Topkick platform, let's go ahead and assume either a petrol 8.1-litre V8 or a 6.6-litre turbo-diesel V8 lies underneath the hood. Although it'd be nice to dream that since this is President Obama we're talking about a hybrid.
William Howard Taft
A 1907-08 Cadillac Model G with President Taft aboard — at roughly 300 pounds or 136kg, he is the heaviest ever President of the United States.
Harry S Truman
President Truman (centre) stands in front of a 1947 Cadillac.
Dwight D Eisenhower
A freshly minted 1953 Cadillac Eldorado carrying Dwight D Eisenhower around during his inauguration parade.
John F Kennedy
A stretched 1959 Cadillac Fleetwood 75 with President Kennedy aboard. He was riding in a 1961 Lincoln Continental convertible when he was fatally shot in Dallas, Texas.
From 1983 onwards the actor-turned-president rode in this stretched and modified Cadillac Fleetwood.
William Jefferson Clinton
The first presidential Caddy built in-house by GM, the 1993 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham served President Clinton and now resides at his presidential centre in Little Rock, Arkansas.