By on January 20, 2009

I’ve been following the “coverage” of President Obama’s fancy new limousine for some time now. We’ve known what it will look like for a long time, but that’s about. No, really. Anyhow, seeing the car that the Secret Service has reportedly nicknamed, “The Beast” roll down Pennsylvania Ave, dwarfing the Chevy Tahoe to its left, I couldn’t help but be awed. What a vehicle. And really, what a Cadillac. Say what you want about the Art & Science design motif, but the snouts currently hanging off the front of both the CTS and Escalade are handsome. Not only that, but the Beast’s stance is correct. Imposing, solid, American. The proportions look like a Cadillac should (though the actual size is borderline absurd). Farago has been arguing since 2002 that Cadillac needs to forget about lapping the Nurburgring and get back to building big ass cars that are desirable for their big assedness. Oh, but what about the Great Depression 2.0 and herky-jerky gas prices and the environment? All valid points. But, as a brand, shouldn’t Cadillac be building, well, Cadillacs?

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41 Comments on “Question Of The Day: Should Cadillac Build and Sell Obama’s Beast?...”


  • avatar
    Edward Niedermeyer

    Well, we don’t know how fast it laps the ‘ring, do we?

  • avatar

    It looks like an Escalade with longer wheelbase and a trunk in back.

    I don’t want one, but I can see these appearing in a lot of hip-hop videos.

  • avatar
    Rix

    Who exactly would this be targeted to? And what would this do to the CAFE requirements? And why would this drive any better than an Escalade? And for that matter, why drive this rather than an Escalade?

  • avatar
    garllo

    Think they would would make a plug in version???

  • avatar
    ca36gtp

    The last thing we need is Cadillac regressing to its old self. The new, more invigorated Cadillac is fantastic. The CTS-V is possibly the best sport sedan ever made.

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    I agree with the writer’s impression that this is an impressive looking vehicle – much more so than the bastard Deville/DTS limos that debuted in 2001 and 2005. The overall scale of the car is amazing when seen in context with the Secret Service agents walking beside or with the Surburbans behind. It says “Cadillac” the way the Escalade does – a way the CTS, STS and SRX never will.

    One related note mentioned on NBC: Brian Williams said that many of the Suburban support vehicles are older models with the flip down tailgate, which the Secret Service prefers to the new lift gate design in terms of getting agents in/out of the vehicle. I’m surprised they haven’t come up with a custom tail gate.

  • avatar
    pnnyj

    The Presidential limo is cartoonish, but they should have built the Sixteen. That car was big, brash and beautiful, in other words, a Cadillac!

  • avatar
    billc83

    No.

    Ditto on building the Sixteen though…

  • avatar
    ajla

    I don’t know.

    If Chrysler took the Challenger SRT8, gave it a Jaguar XF style interior, re-skinned it to look like a 1971 Imperial LeBaron, called it the LHS and charged $53K for it, would anybody buy it after the initial hype died off?

    I’m leaning towards no, even if Chrysler’s financials were alright.

  • avatar
    MrDot

    “Imposing, solid, American.”

    Precisely why the 300 was such a hit. This is basically a Caddy version of the 300, which isn’t a bad thing. It definitely has more presence than a Maybach.

  • avatar
    skor

    You all think this thing looks like a Cadillac? To me it looks like a late model ZIL with a Caddy emblem epoxied on the grill. Hey Vlad, don’t look now, but Obama jacked your ride.

    http://digilander.libero.it/cuoccimix/Zil4112.jpg

  • avatar
    mtypex

    Now that the government basically owns GM, they can make GM make whatever they want.

  • avatar
    Potemkin

    “as a brand, shouldn’t Cadillac be building, well, Cadillacs”. Amen!

  • avatar
    npbheights

    I vote yes. In civilian dress, that car would be awesome.

  • avatar
    eh_political

    That’s two for Zil.

    They might as well move to a Bradley with a limo painted on the side.

  • avatar
    CommanderFish

    I was a little surprised that Obama didn’t go for a 300 limo, considering he used to own a 300.

    Yes, I know it is actually a Topkick underneath, but you can get a Ram 5500 with a GVWR of 19,500 lbs. (Not to mention a nice 6.7L Cummins diesel under the hood)

  • avatar
    AuricTech

    I can’t see there being much of a retail market for this vehicle.

    That being said, as a limousine, this vehicle impresses, in a way that overly-stretched HUMMERs (of whatever version) don’t. Add lightness (by stripping out whatever armor was added), and Cadillac can use this platform to enhance its presence in the limousine market.

    Once customers of hired limousines become accustomed to riding in Cadillacs, they may well choose to drive Cadillacs. Sure, it’s a long shot, but at least it’s a long shot that doesn’t diminish the brand….

  • avatar
    seabrjim

    How Ironic. The only thing missing was the spinners. Seriously, I think the era of excess is over. For good. Bad idea.

  • avatar

    The BEAST is beautiful.

    Cadillac should consider building them and selling them as protection models for other diplomats.

    I’m more interested in the PROTECTION GMC’s positioned both in front and behind it though…

  • avatar

    I’m more interested in the Chase SUV’s

    http://www. youtube.com/ watch?v=eee8utrIRfA

  • avatar
    BMW325I

    I would have the limo built by toyota. God knows what cost cutting GM would do to make an extra buck.

  • avatar
    TheRealAutoGuy

    Ah, yes.

    The Inauguration. Cadillac Style. We even got Aretha!

    This is America. American cars — the way it should be.

    Oh, and Harley-Davidson motorcycles. With sidecars.

    Yes, this is a great country indeed.

  • avatar
    thoots

    Probably the only reason that Lincoln still exists is because Cadillac doesn’t build Cadillacs anymore.

    Yes, Virginia, there are still a number of people who want great-big, heavy, quiet, smooth freeway cruisers. Of the four-door sedan variety, not the giant, hulking SUV variety.

    Sounds like really easy, low-hanging fruit to me. But Cadillac told ‘em all to go take a freakin’ hike. Lincoln snaps ‘em up whole with a car they haven’t had to improve for what, a couple of decades? Sounds like easy money, if “making money” might be something you might want to do….

  • avatar
    Hank

    I bet I know of a few bankers who might want one about now. How about that Lehman Brothers bozo? He’s already been knocked off the treadmill once, you know.

  • avatar
    50merc

    “Farago has been arguing since 2002 that Cadillac needs to forget about lapping the Nurburgring and get back to building big ass cars that are desirable for their big assedness.”

    He’s right.

    “as a brand, shouldn’t Cadillac be building, well, Cadillacs?”

    Yes.

    But it may be too late.

  • avatar
    Packard

    Absolutely Cadillac should be building Cadillacs.

    Cadillacs are supposed to be full sized and luxurious.

    The CTS is fine, far as it goes.

    But it’s a dinky toy, as a Caddy.

    Without a big Caddy, the CTS is just another car, and there is no real Cadillac.

    GM has screwed up serially, introducing one new platform after another – two of the SRX – without replacing the current DTS.

    Stupid move.

  • avatar
    shaker

    AFAIK, the “Beast” monniker has been used by the SS (ahem) for some time to refer to the Presidential Limo, not just this latest version.

  • avatar
    Airhen

    Too bad that it wasn’t built or available earlier, as I’m sure plenty of the Hollywood elitists that are partying right now with Lord Obama (man of the people) would have enjoyed driving to D.C. in one of those Cadillacs. It was tough after all finding parking spots for all of their private jets at Dulles Airport!

  • avatar
    jerry weber

    This custom limo building must be a new use of caddys unused production space. In other times, this project was farmed out to companies like S&S coach works of Ohio. They and a couple of competitors built all the specialty stuff ambulances,hearses, and sometimes convertables. They even made convertable 4 door caddy limos for the secret service to escort the Pres. Caddy was too busy making stock caddys, (even the regular limo was discontinued in 1985,) to make one up models. However, when caddy went total front wheel drive on it’s large cars, lincoln picked up most of the limo business. This new presidential car has to be a chevy truck chassis as no frontwheel drive setup would ever hold it.

  • avatar
    Samir

    Jonny: F**k yeah.

  • avatar
    tedward

    “Farago has been arguing since 2002 that Cadillac needs to forget about lapping the Nurburgring and get back to building big ass cars that are desirable for their big assedness.”

    I don’t get this at all, maybe it’s a generation thing. I feel nothing but contempt and disgust when I look at an old caddie (old as in 70’s till recently). I think that this brand’s inability to produce a car that handled well or actually contained luxury trim was a bigger disapointment and betrayal than anything Buick or Oldsmobile pulled off (maybe because this brand somehow kept it’s prestige), and I always kind of thought it was the worst example of lazy GM engineering. The CTS, although a bit big for my taste, is the only Cadillac in my lifetime that I actually want a little bit. Also, for the first time in my life, people are actually considering a Cadillac as opposed to other cars, when in the past it seems that all I ever came across were Cadillac loyalists or people cross-shopping (also terrible) Lincolns. Maybe they do place too high a premium on outright performance with the CTS-V (actually I definitely agree with that criticism), but I think it’s a necessary backlash, as they really need to prove that their cars are more than glorified parade floats to regain some respect.

  • avatar
    tedward

    But yes, build and sell the hell out of this car, there’s no quality argument for Lexus to make when Caddilac is marketing a car that can take direct RPG hits.

  • avatar

    the 16 was a real Caddy.

  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    Yes, Cadillac should build a factory limousine. A stretched wheelbase, lowered, Escalade with a trunk would work very well.

    The layout of the presidential limo is good, the passenger compartment doors should be well ahead of the rear seat to create a cocoon for the rear passengers (like in a Phaeton, not like in a stretched Towncar). Different levels of security protection could be offered.

    It would satisfy the livery market, would serve as executive transportation in corporate fleets, and could serve as a strong platform for hearses and super long stretched party limos.

    It is shameful that the last factory limousine offered by a Detroit automaker was based on the k-car (not that I wouldn’t kill to get one of those k-car limos in good condition).

  • avatar
    CarnotCycle

    And for that matter, why drive this rather than an Escalade?

    I think this point answers the big-Caddie question. For the “BigPimpin” Cadillac, its the ‘Sclade. No one who buys a Sclade wants another vehicle, and I can’t really see people cross-shopping a Sclade with anything else other than maybe a H2 with the Hilarious Rims package. I think the Prez-limo itself is a ladder-frame underneath it all.

    If I want a Big Pimpin car, the Benz S-series is the ride to own, I think. V-12 bi-turbo in a ~5000lb car that knocks Honda Fits off the road while swaddling its owner in twenty dead cows worth of hides is the kind of ride I believe Lieberman is talking about when he’s thinking of this Cadillac-angle. But that car’s already here with the Mercedes-Benz. Caddie would need a V-12 (LS-series V-12 = sweet!) to really go play in that space, and they don’t have one and won’t have one for years now, if ever.

  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    CarnotCycle:

    A V12 is overrated. The most expensive Bentley available has a Turbo 8. BMW has dropped V12s from the 7-series. The LS would need a new 60 degree block design to make the basis for a good V12. The ZR-1 supercharged V8 is the way to go.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Since most of the spec is classified, it would be sort of difficult to sell it to the public. Pity, as there is proably a market for this sort of bullet proof presidential prestige. Mr. Mugabe – you chariot awaits.

  • avatar
    CarnotCycle

    A V12 is overrated. The most expensive Bentley available has a Turbo 8. BMW has dropped V12s from the 7-series. The LS would need a new 60 degree block design to make the basis for a good V12. The ZR-1 supercharged V8 is the way to go.

    From an engineering POV, a V-12 isn’t “necessary” for anything, though nothing is inherently as smooth or balanced as a V-12. But nothing says you’ve “arrived” like a V-12 horse pulling your carriage. A snazzy Chevy V-8 (even a coup de grace like the ZR-1’s 8) is a little too plebian for the kind of Mega-Caddy contemplated here. The nicest Ferraris always have a 12, ditto for Benz. I am guessing there is no 12 in Bimmers because they’ve got that V-10 to throw in their nicest rides, and that makes a 12 kind of redundant. The Caddy Sixteen was pretty extreme, but I think the Veyron has already demonstrated there are limits between extreme and absurd when it comes to sixteen-poppers.

    For the kind of coin these cars command, (or hope to) they need an engine that is unique to that vehicle. I am taking a guess here, but that Bentley Turbo 8 you mention can probably be had in an Audi for considerably less money, which if I were a Bentley buyer, would piss me off. If you spend that kind of money on a car, it should have stuff you cannot get on lesser priced rides.

  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    CarnotCycle:

    The Bentley Turbo 8 is very similar to the small block Chevy. It is a large displacement pushrod V8.

    However, it cannot be had in anything other than a Bentley (or a pre-BMW Rolls Royce), so that does make it unique.

    The Bentley W12 is the lesser engine that can be had in VWs and Audis.

    Ironically the cheap, tacky, Bentleys are powered by overhead-cam W12s, and the expensive, desirable, Bentleys are powered by pushrod V8s.

    If Cadillac wanted to take on RR or the upper-range Bentleys then it would need a bespoke engine, but that’s not something it can do right now.

    Right Cadillac could produce a very good livery/corporate fleet factory limousine based on the Escalade platform. Similar to the layout of the Presidential limo.

  • avatar
    CarnotCycle

    The Bentley Turbo 8 is very similar to the small block Chevy. It is a large displacement pushrod V8.

    I did not know that Bentley still made their own motor in-house. I figured it was all corporate mothership powerplants at this point. That’s pretty cool, actually. Checking their website it looks like the Arnage will be axed and the Azure will remain with this motor.

    Maybe Caddy can make the DTS Lawyer Edition with a modernized, twin turbo 502…that should do the trick on the ostentatious front.

  • avatar

    “Rich people don’t care about gas prices”


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