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Battle of the Beasts! Biden’s stretched Cadillac squares up to Putin’s Rolls Royce-lookalike

The presidential state car has taken on many guises over the years since the first model in 1939 to the current model that hit the roads in 2018, according to Vanarama.    

Here are the different ‘Beasts’ and some of their key features:  

1939: The first ‘Beast’

The first version of the presidential car that became known as the ‘Beast’ was the Lincoln K Sunshine Special used by President Franklin D. Roosevelt from 1939 until 1942. 

Features included a two-way radio, extra-wide running boards and handles for Secret Service agents to grab and ride on the outside of the car. 

After the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, armored doors, bulletproof cars and machine guns were added to the car.  

1942: The first with protective armor

Built during the Second World War, the 1942 Lincoln Custom was the first presidential car fitted with protective armor. 

The armor made the car 7,000 pounds heavier so had to be fitted with a Bendix Aviation brake servo, to help the driver slow the car down. 

1950: Ford takes over

When Harry Truman was elected president in 1948 he changed the chosen carmaker from General Motors to Ford – supposedly because GM wouldn’t let him use its cars during the White House race.  

Features of the new Lincoln Cosmopolitan included armour-plated bodywork and extra headroom to fit tall silk hats worn at the time. 

The car was modified by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1954 to include the ‘bubble-top’ so people would be able to see him in the car if the roof was up.

1961-1972: JFK’s assassination ends the open-top car 

Four versions of the Lincoln Continental were made between 1961 and 1972.

In 1963, President John F. Kennedy was riding in the car with the code name SS-100-X when he was shot dead, spelling the end to the open-top presidential car and sparking a ramp-up of bulletproof materials and armor plating. 

Surprisingly, the same car was refurbished, before being returned to use for his replacement Lyndon B Johnson to use as his official transport  

1983: Cadillac develops a model 

Cadillac made its first presidential car – the Fleetwood – for President Ronald Reagan.

Features included a raised roof and seats, bulletproof glass and oversized wheels. 

1989: The last Lincoln

President George H. W. Bush commissioned the Lincoln Town Car in 1989, marking the last Lincoln car used as Cadillac has supplied the cars ever since. 

It had an updated powertrain to allow for the extra weight from the fortified vehicle. 

1993: The Cadillac Fleetwood returns

The Cadillac Fleetwood made a return with the addition of communication systems inside for President Bill Clinton to take calls while on the move. 

It could also reach speeds of up to 142 MPH. 

2001: The most high-tech car in the world

The 2001 presidential car – the Cadillac DeVille – is thought to have been most high-tech car in the world at the time with an infrared night vision system. 

It also reportedly carried an emergency supply of blood. 

2005: The car with partitions inside

The one of a kind Cadillac DTS hit the roads in 2005 with five-inch-thick armor panels, windows that cannot be opened, run-flat tires and a glass partition between the driver and the back seat. 

2009: The most technologically advanced protection vehicle in the world

The Cadillac One was the presidential car from 2009 to 2018, and was described as the ‘most technologically advanced protection vehicle in the world’ with five-inch-thick bombproof glass and a sealed interior to prevent against chemical attacks.

It was used for President Barack Obama’ inauguration.  

2018: The Beast

The newest limo – now known as the Beast – used by President Donald Trump is an updated version of the 2009 model and has been dubbed a ‘rolling bunker’.

Features include a foam-sealed fuel tank to prevent it exploding while inside there is also high-tech comms systems and an oxygen and blood supply.  


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