Luxury Presidential Limousines; from Pierce-Arrow & Sunshine Special Lincoln to The Beast Cadillac

Luxury transportation has been with us since the ornate carriages used to carry monarchs. Today’s limousines used for special events like proms and special occasion parties like birthdays, holidays and marriages preceded by bachelor and bachelorette parties. Special occasions call for special transportation. The limousine is the epitome luxuriate transportation. The presidential limousine is loaded with armor and bullet resistant glass. Many foreign business executives and government officials also regale themselves with luxurious transportation vehicles.

Where Did Limos Originate?

A limousine is vehicle that has a partition separating the driver from the passenger department. Stretched limousine provides additional passenger space. Circa 1928 the first stretched limousines where built by Armbruster for the big band leaders of the time. Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman had limos to transport themselves and their equipment. Know as the “big band busses”. The stretched limo was also seen in the fleets of hotels, taxis, airlines, corporations and tour companies.

What is in the President’s Motorcade?

In the US most limousines are built by Cadillac, Chrysler and Lincoln. Others are Hyundai, Lexus Mercedes-Benz, total and many more foreign manufactured limousines. The most famous are the presidential coaches used by the US presidents and are US carmaker models only, with the biggest rivalry between Cadillac and Lincoln. President Taft started the trend in 1910 by buying 4 presidential machines. He had the presidential stables converted to garages. He had two luxurious Pierce-Arrows, a Baker Motor Vehicle electric car and a 1911 White Motor Company steam car, the steam powered was his favorite. Come the 1920’s Woodrow Wilson was such a fan of three Pierce-Arrows that he bought one from the government for himself when he left office in 1921. President Warren G. Harding used a limousine for the inaugural parade and was the first qualified driver to make president. President Hoover was bused around by a Cadillac with a V-16 engine. Franklin D. Roosevelt had a Ford Phaeton coupe equipped with hand controls allowing him to drive, and in contravention of a Secret Service directive preventing a setting president to be able to drive. In 1939 Roosevelt obtained a 1939 Lincoln Motor Company with a V-12 convertible. It was nicknamed the Sunshine Special. Lincoln became part of the Ford Motor Car line in 1922 and was their luxury and prestigious models division. This was one of the first armored vehicles as after Pearl Harbor it received on inch of bullet resistant glass and steel armor, metal clad inner tubes for the tires, a radio transceiver, a siren, red warning lights and a compartment for submachine guns and weighed in at 9,300 pounds. In 1950 Harry S. Truman didn’t like General Motors (as the rumor goes) so he went with a Lincoln for is presidential transportation. The government leased ten of the Lincoln Cosmopolitans, nine were hardtops and the tenth one was an armored convertible for Truman. These where 20 feet long, 6.5 feet wide and weighed in at 6,500 pounds. They were powered by 152 horsepower V-8. In 1954 the convertible was equipped with plexiglass top for Eisenhower and was called “the bubble.” Nineteen sixty-one saw Kennedy in a dark blue 1961 Lincoln Continental that cost $200,000 then which about equivalent to $1,700,000 today. The Secret Service assigned it the codename of X-100. It came with a heavy-duty environmental package with AC and heater. Radiotelephones, first-aid kit, fire extinguisher and a siren. After Kennedy’s assassination it got an up rated engine, fuel tank with anti-explosion foam filled fuel tanks, run flat tires made of rubber-coated aluminum, painted black with improved telecommunications gear. Bullet proof glass and 1,600 pounds of armor with glass running in places over an inch thick. It was retired in 1971. The 70’s saw the US Government lease another Lincoln, a 1972 Continental. It was leased and was the car that used by both Reagan and Ford during their assassination attempts. In 1983 Cadillac got the nod for the presidential limos. The Cadillac Fleetwood that was armored with bullet resistant glass. In 1989 Lincoln was up with their Town Car. 1990s saw the Clinton in a 1993 Cadillac Fleetwood. The 2001-2009 George W. Bush’s ride was a Cadillac Deville and was a special model designed by the R&D department of GM and based on the chassis of the Suburban. It had 5-inch-thick doors and the glass was so thick it blocked out certain spectrums of light. Rumor has it that the passenger compartments and driving area were sealed with their own air supply. The run-flat tires where turned by a 454 cubic inch big block Chevy engine. It was estimated to weigh 14,000 pounds. The cars had their own aircraft, a C-5 or C-17 the carries the Presidents Limo, nicknamed the “Beast.” Two of them went with the president if one should break down. The 2009 – 2018 saw a unique limo built by Cadillac and not based on any car model but was custom built from the ground up. It had either a 490 cubic inch Vortec engine or a 400 cubic inch Duramax diesel. The gasoline Vortec seems to get the nod in most car magazines. The tires where Goodyear Regional RHS, used on heavy duty pickups. Estimated to weigh between 15-20,000 pounds. Max speed because of the weight is 60 mph, and it gets somewhere between 3.7 to 8 miles per gallon.

Limousine Services & More in Hazel Park, Roseville, Warren, St Clair Shores, Royal Oak, Sterling Heights, Oak Park, Ferndale, Pontiac, Troy, Birmingham, Rochester Hills, Southfield, Novi, Commerce Charter Twp, Waterford Twp, West Bloomfield Twp & Shelby Township MI | Tri-County area of Macomb, Oakland & Wayne Michigan

Americans love their cars, and the luxury models have carried our presidents for the last 100 years. But luxury limousines aren’t just for Presidents. Call A Limo World to book an affordable luxury limousine for your next night out on the town or special event.

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