General Motors published the first photos of the Barack Obama’s new ride a week before his inauguration as the new president of the United States. The latest Cadillac Presidential Limousine is a completely new design, succeeding the DTS Presidential Limousine that debuted in 2004 and was used by George Bush. Predictably, GM has not revealed any specific details on the President’s new wheels besides the fact that it “includes many of the brand’s signature design elements.”
“Cadillac is honoured to again provide a new Presidential Limousine,” said Mark McNabb, North America vice president, Cadillac/Premium Channel. “This is a great American tradition that we’re delighted to renew with an all-new car featuring the best of Cadillac’s dramatic design and technology.”
History – Cadillac and the U.S. PresidencyCadillac has built limousines and special vehicles for U.S. presidents, diplomats, ambassadors and foreign dignitaries since the early 20th century, an iconic aspect of the brand that continues today.
Cadillac’s central role began during World War I, when many Cadillac engines and cars were transferred to military and government service because of their superior durability and power. One of the first chief executives to use a Cadillac was President Wilson, who rode through the streets of Boston during a World War I victory parade in 1919. A lavish 1928 Cadillac town car was used in the Calvin Coolidge administration.
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 vehicles were 21.5 feet long, weighed 7,660 pounds and 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.
President Eisenhower, known as a car buff, rode in one of the first Cadillac Eldorado models ever produced during his 1953 inaugural parade. The Eldorado represented a high point in automobile design history, as it had the first wraparound windscreen, a feature quickly adopted on other new production models.
In 1956, the Queen Mary II and Queen Elizabeth II convertibles replaced the original series. The vehicles were slightly smaller, but like their predecessors, were fully armoured and featured state-of-the art communications. Moreover, the vehicles were fitted with narrow rims inside the tyre in case the tyres were shot out. The Queen Mary II and Queen Elizabeth II served not only President Eisenhower, but also Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. Both vehicles were retired in 1968.
The Ronald W. Reagan administration was delivered a 1983 Cadillac Fleetwood limousine and a Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham – Presidential Series was delivered to the William J. Clinton administration in 1993. Unlike previous models that typically were Cadillac cars adapted and modified by independent limousine companies, the 1993 Presidential Brougham was designed, developed and manufactured totally within General Motors and Cadillac. This included an extensive set of security measures to maintain confidentiality, a process that continues today.
Currently, the 1983 Cadillac Fleetwood limousine resides at the Ronald W. Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, Calif., while the 1993 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham is at the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Ark.Cadillac has produced two presidential limousines this decade that remain in service. The first was a Deville Presidential model delivered to President George W. Bush in 2001. In 2004, President Bush debuted a new DTS Presidential model. It was the first application of a new design that launched later that year for the production DTS full-size sedan.