Obama: Pimp My Ride

Illustration: John Lawson/Getty Images (All diagram text is reprinted at the bottom of the article).

During the presidential campaign, Obama purchased a Ford Escape Hybrid and ditched his less efficient Chrysler 300C. And come inauguration day, Obama will be driving in another hybrid ... sort of. The new presidential limo will be, according to CNN, the “Mother of All Hybrids -- part car, part truck and, from the looks of it, part tank.” It’s code name? Stagecoach. But the car itself won’t actually be green.

From the CNN report:

"The limousines of yesteryear were designed just well enough to provide protection to get the president out of the situation," says Ken Lucci, CEO of Ambassador Limousine Inc. and owner of two Reagan-era limos. "In today's case, they [the Secret Service] expect a prolonged attack, and they expect an attack that is a lot more violent than [with] a weapon you can hold in you hand." "It literally is a rolling bunker," he says. "It just happens to have wheels on it."

Spy pictures of the heavily armored car, being produced in conjunction with the embattled General Motors and the Secret Service, have already begun leaking onto the Internet revealing that it looks more like something from a Mad Max movie than a presidential carriage. And while it may be a black car, environmentalists the world over are asking why it can’t be green.
There are certainly comparable vehicles Obama could use. As the Times of London reports, “While security is paramount -- the car is built to survive roadside bombs as well as gunfire -- there are hybrid four-wheel drives on the market, such as Ford’s Mercury Mariner, which some critics believe could have been adapted for the president.”

Watch a video about the new limo, also being dubbed "The Barackmobile" and "The Beast":

And for those presidential historians out there, here’s a photo gallery of presidential limos throughout history. Take a look at Roosevelt’s ride. It actually was green.

As promised, a verbatim transcription of the illustration's text-box features:

  • PETROL TANK: Armour-plated and filled with a specially designed foam which prevents it from exploding even if it suffers a direct hit.
  • REAR COMPARTMENT: Seats four passengers with glass partition - only Obama has a switch to lower it. Windows larger than on previous presidential cars. Panic button installed for Obama to summon help.
  • DOORS: Armour plated, eight inches thick and the weight of a cabin door on a Boeing 757 jet.
  • CHAUFFEUR: Trained by CIA to cope in the most demanding of driving conditions.
  • DRIVER'S WINDOW: Tough enough to withstand armour piercing bullets. The only window that opens - by just three inches so the driver can pay a toll or talk with secret service agents running alongside.
  • BODYWORK: Combination of duel hardness steel, aluminum, titanium, and even ceramic to break up possible projectiles.
  • DRIVER'S COMPARTMENT: Standard steering wheel, but dash board contains a communications centre and GPS tracking system.
  • TYRES: Kevlar-reinforced, shred and puncture-resistant, with steel rims underneath, enabling the car to escape at speed even if tyres are blasted away.
  • CHASSIS: A reinforced five inch steel plate runs under the car for protection in the unlikely event of a bomb being placed underbneath.
  • DEFENCE ACCESORIES: Equipped with night vision cameras and pump-action shotguns. Also armed with tear gas cannons. Bottles of the president's blood kepy on board in case he needs and emergceny transfusion.
  • REAR SEATS: Obama's seat has an executive package featuring a foldaway desktop, laptop computer with wi-fi, state of the art satellite phone and direct line to the vice-president and the Pentagon.
  • BOOT: Holds oxygen supply and a firefighting system.


  • Price: about $450,000
  • Length: 18ft
  • Height: 5ft 10in
  • Engine: 6.5 litre diesel engine
  • Max speed: 60mph
  • 0-60 mph: 15secs
  • Fuel consumption: About eight miles to the gallon