Ever wonder what the collision of Escalade headlights, a custom Caddy grille, an STS rear-end, and little mini-windows with coke-bottle thick oculars all lumped together on a stretched...uhh...maybe DTS, maybe Escalade chassis would look like? Probably not. But President-Elect Barack Obama will be ferried about in such a beast when he takes the helm as Commander-In-Chief and desperately needed Agent of Change next week.
1993 Presidential Limo
GM has done lots of Presidential limos, but I don't recall one looking quite as ungainly as the newest effort. The most attractive of the recent crop to my eye was Clinton's 1993 Fleetwood Brougham. The new one seems in opposition to the new administration's mantra of "change," what with its blue-hair DTS styling cues. One can only speculate as to what chassis propels this armored vehicle, but I'd put my money on a lowered, lengthened Escalade chassis with some version of the 6.2-liter V-8 with variable-valve timing to push all that heft around.
GMC TopKick medium-dutyEnlarge Photo
The folks over at Jalopnik, however, claim their sources have advised them that the new vehicle is actually based on the medium-duty GM TopKick truck chassis. But the Secret Service is not releasing any details. If the TopKick rumor is true, you can forget any hope fuel efficincy or a reduced carbon footprint, though perhaps they can run it on biodiesel if an oil burner is rumbling underhood (doubtful). A clattery diesel wouldn't yield a very presidential sound, to be sure, but it would do a great job of pushing around the avoirdupois of an industrial-grade truck chassis, all that armor plating, multi-layered glass, and the armada of computers and communications equipment concealed within.
Regardless of awkward looks or out-of-sight curb weight, we just hope the thing is more secure than ever before. People do crazy things in desperate times, and with the jobless rate above seven percent, we can't be too careful concerning presidential safety in 2009. We imagine that GM, who have a vested interest in protecting a president who's largely on the side of preventing their bankruptcy, have put armored protection systems into this beast at a level never witnessed before.--Colin Mathews