As Donald Trump prepares to move into the White House he will also be getting ready to take a hold of the keys of a monster armed and armoured limousine known “The Beast”.
The new “Cadillac One” will be an upgrade on similar “Beasts” used to transport Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush and will likely prove a unique addition to the billionaire president-elect’s fleet.
Spy photographs of a General Motors test vehicle published by Autoblog late last year sparked speculation the vehicle destined to become the president’s ride in 2017 had been spotted.
New reports suggest it may be unveiled next week.
The images came about two years after the US government reportedly called for American-based car-makers to bid for the contract, which has been held by GM for the past three decades.
In November, Autoweek reported the 4.5 tonne limousine, built on the Kodiak truck chassis, will be plated in armour and be equipped with life support systems and a supply of blood matched to the President.
It will also come loaded with front-mounted tear gas cannon and equipped with a shotgun, according to the NY Daily News.
Its 20 centimetre-thick armour is designed to resist armour-piercing bullets, while the interior has been sealed to protect against chemical or biological attacks. The underside of the limo has also been plated to resist road-side bombs.
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According to reports, it is also likely to feature an updated electronic suspension system that will allow the driver to adjust the ride height to tackle difficult, and potentially embarrassing, run-ins with tricky driveways.
A presidential version of run-flat tyres (ingredients include Kevlar) and reinforced rims add to the headaches for anyone planning to get in its way.
The new presidential Cadillac is likely to cost between $1 and 2 million and no similar model will be placed on sale to the public, NY Daily News reported in what it said was the first official glimpse.
According to various reports, the public may get a first hand look at the new Beast as early as next week.
Like its predecessor, the new limousine earmarked for the soon-to-be President Trump will be flown around the world for official business.
But unlike the presidential plane Air Force One, the new Beast is not expected to be a mobile Oval Office, but with a seven seat lay out it will allow the new US leader to easily conduct talks within its heavily protected shell.