New Presidential Limo Black, Not GreenWhile the new presidential limousine features plenty of technology, none of it will be of the hybrid-electric variety. President-elect Barack Obama will travel around town in the new presidential limousine, which will also make its debut in the inaugural parade on January 20.
The vehicle, built by General Motors, has some of the interior design elements of the Cadillac vehicle platform, like hand-cut and hand-sewn interior surfaces and other standard Cadillac features, although the company insists that the vehicle is completely unique and doesn’t borrow too heavily from any of its commercially produced product lines. Other vehicle features, like eight inch-thick doors, are strictly presidential.
The vehicle uses a conventional diesel drive-train and the company won’t say what the mileage estimates are, but analysts believe that the limousine has a very low fuel-economy rating. The tradition of a presidential limousine goes back years, but the Secret Service has been responsible for presidential transportation only since the death of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Lyndon Johnson was the first president to ride in an armored limousine, following the death of John F. Kennedy.
In the past, retired presidential limousines ended up in museums. The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI has a large collection of presidential rides, including the Lincoln limousine in which President Kennedy was riding when he was assassinated. The museum also has the Lincoln limousine that transported President Reagan to the hospital after he was shot. That same vehicle was also used by Presidents Nixon, Ford and Carter. In addition, the museum’s collection includes a Lincoln limousine used by Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson, a Lincoln built in 1939 for use by President Franklin Roosevelt, and a horse-drawn carriage, built in 1902 and used by President Theodore Roosevelt.
A museum retirement won’t be waiting for the current presidential vehicle, however. The 1972 limousine was the last presidential car to be preserved. All presidential vehicles are now destroyed after retirement for security reasons. The image featured with this article is not the new presidential limousine. Sneak photos have been published in recent days, but the vehicle, in full presidential livery, won’t be seen in the open until the inaugural parade.
Visit the Henry Ford Museum site to see more information about the presidential vehicle collection.
Photo: Ivaylo Georgiev