President Barack Obama’s limousine made headlines when it failed to arrive when the President landed at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. Some candidate for the Darwin Awards accidentally filled it with regular gas instead of necessary diesel fuel, and the car — affectionately known as “The Beast” — broke down and had to be towed away. Ooops. Luckily, the nearby Kingdom of Jordan had a replacement vehicle and was kind enough to fly it over in a special plane. But what’s inside the presidential limousine… and what’s under the hood?
According to Wikipedia, “The Beast” entered service in January 2009 and was made by General Motors based on the Cadillac DTS. The price tag for this double-deluxe model is under wraps, but has been tentatively estimated at $300,000 (though Wikipedia editors note that the source of this estimate is unverified). A similar incident happened in May 2011, when the limousine got stuck while driving out of the American Embassy during his 2011 visit to Dublin, Ireland.
The Wikipedia entry lists ten amazing features that put the once-futuristic Detective Dick Tracy to shame:
- An automotive night-vision system with an infrared light source, so the President can travel undetected in the dark;
- Seating for seven people — two reserved for the President and a guest in the very back, three rear-facing passenger seats in the back, and two in the front;
- A console-mounted communications center with high-speed Internet connectivity (online gaming, anyone?);
- A folding desk for the President, between the two rear seats;
- a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III for airlifting the limousine to domestic and international locations, so it is available to the President at all times;
- A specially-trained Secret Service agent/driver who can perform a J-Turn in case of trouble. This elite maneuver involves turning 180-degrees in seconds to evade pursuers;
- The Limousine Control Package — a voice and data device that is operated by the White House Communication Agency and linked to WHCA Roadrunner (an SUV in the rear of the President’s motorcade). The LCP is stored in special compartments inside the vehicle;
- Fuel efficiency of eight-miles per gallon — perhaps it needs a few solar panels on the roof;
- Holders for two flags on the hood (the U.S. flag and Presidential Standard flag for domestic trips, or the U.S. flag and the foreign country’s flag for state visits); and
- A Washington D.C. license plate number 800 002. This writer thinks it should be 666, because, after all, that is the number of “The Beast.”
But wait, there’s MORE … the Discovery Channel’s “Secrets of the Secret Service” managed to discover 10 more features that the Secret Service refuses to even talk about (as lovingly detailed in the video below):
- Foam sealed gas tank that can take a direct hit and still not explode;
- An airtight seal against biochemical attacks;
- An oxygen supply and fire fighting system in the trunk (does someone have to go out and get them?);
- Bottles of the President’s blood type;
- 8-inch armor-plated doors as heavy as the door to a 757 airplane cabin;
- Remington shotguns kept “close at hand”;
- A body made from layers of steel, aluminum, titanium, and ceramic;
- Fancy front bumper accessories including bumper night-vision camera and tear gas cannons;
- Front tires that “keep rolling, even when fully punctured” and …
- Bullet-proof windows with ballistic glass.
The folks at the Discovery Channel went particularly gaga over the bullet-proof windows with ballistic glass — or “transparent armor.” Although the Secret Service “refuses to say anything about them,” the International Armoring Corporation in Ogden, UT shares the same technology for tricking out custom SUV’s for paranoid rich people. IAC’s Founder and CEO, Mark F. Burton, was happy to showcase his product, which has layers of heavy glass and a thick, flexible inner layer of plastic that “catches” bullets, and embeds them in the window, so passengers don’t get sliced and diced by shards of glass. Burton then demonstrated his product’s effectiveness by shooting into the windows from less than 20 feet away five times. Boy, that must’ve been fun!
Here’s the video:
“Israel Welcomes Obama, Applauds Speech, But Tows His Limo (VIDEO)” by Elisabeth Parker
|Elisabeth Parker is a writer, Web designer, mom, political junkie, and dilettante. Come visit her at ElisabethParker.Com, “like” her on facebook, “friend” her on facebook, follow her on Twitter, or check out her Pinterest boards. For more Addicting Info articles by Elisabeth, click here.|