The Beast is now five years old and due for a replacement. Since President Obama's eventual successor can't just roll around in any random old hooptie, the Department of Homeland Security is seeking automaker bids to make a new one. Who wants in?
A new presidential limo has been in the works since last year when the government began soliciting contracts for the first phase, which was related to armor development. The car is expected to be deployed by the time the next president takes office in 2017.
Now comes the request for the interesting part: "selection and integration of final automotive components, chassis, interior, exterior, and test vehicle fabrication and automotive component testing." In other words, the car itself.
The administration plans to award the contact by late August, but it's not open to everyone — the contract is limited to "Major Domestic U.S Automobile Manufacturers, who have their primary headquarters located in the United States of America." I wonder if that can even include Fiat-Chrysler anymore?
As The Detroit News notes, General Motors has built the presidential limo for the past 30 years, although Ford has certainly cooked up some memorable examples as well.
Building a presidential limo is no simple task. Though The Beast looks like a sedan, it actually rides on a commercial truck chassis and includes bulletproof glass, five-inch thick armor and has a sealed-off interior to protect from chemical attacks. The limos only last a few years — Obama's has been around since 2009, and it replaced a Cadillac used by Bush starting in 2005.
I'm excited to see who steps up to build the car and what form it will take. And if this guy runs, I know he'll have some helpful suggestions.
Photo credit Wikimedia Commons