7 Top Secrets About ‘The Beast’ Presidential Limo


The US Presidential Cadillac - universally known as 'The Beast’ - is one of the world’s most daunting vehicles, an 18-foot tank with weapons and specs that would even meet with Q’s approval. 

The limo’s full capabilities are a closely held secret for security reasons, but a few juicy details have leaked out. Intrigued? SPYSCAPE rides shotgun with the Commander-in-Chief.


The US President's vehicle known as The Beast
President Joe Biden’s Beast has a ‘46’ number plate marking the US’s 46th presidency


7 Top Secrets About ‘The Beast’ Presidential Limo

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The US Presidential Cadillac - universally known as 'The Beast’ - is one of the world’s most daunting vehicles, an 18-foot tank with weapons and specs that would even meet with Q’s approval. 

The limo’s full capabilities are a closely held secret for security reasons, but a few juicy details have leaked out. Intrigued? SPYSCAPE rides shotgun with the Commander-in-Chief.


The US President's vehicle known as The Beast
President Joe Biden’s Beast has a ‘46’ number plate marking the US’s 46th presidency


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1. Weapons and defense

The Beast is loaded with Bond-style gadgets believed to include smoke screens and door handles rigged to send a 120-volt electric shock to ward off attackers. It can also reportedly lay down an oil slick to send enemy vehicles spinning out of control.

Pump-action shotguns, rocket-powered grenades, night vision equipment, and tear gas grenades are all said to be on board.

Weighing in at between 8 to 10 tons, the body is made of eight-inch armor plating with armored floor plates to protect from potential bomb blasts. The five-inch thick windows can stop a .44 magnum bullet.

The interior can be sealed in the event of a chemical attack and The Beast’s tires can carry on for miles - even if they’re flat - but it won’t be a speedy escape. Cadillac One, as The Beast is also known, takes 15 seconds to reach 60 miles an hour. 


The US President's vehicle known as The Beast makes its way through traffic
Biden’s Inauguration in 2021 was the mother of all Beast parades

2. There’s more than one Beast 

There are at least two identical Beasts with matching registration plates in every motorcade so attackers can’t be 100% certain which vehicle contains the president and which is the decoy. During President Joe Biden’s inauguration, there were actually seven Beasts deployed in the mother of all motorcades.

Cadillac One is generally updated every few years with new gizmos and gadgets so an estimated 16-20 old models are still knocking about.

The Presidential Beast has been valued at $1.5m but GM is said to have spent $15m on research and development for Donald Trump’s 2018 beast. Gasoline is extra, of course, and the cost adds up as The Beast only gets an estimated four miles to the gallon.


Donald Trump and The US President's vehicle known as The Beast
Former President Donald Trump exits a Cadillac One 2018 model


3. The Beast travels with a fridge full of blood

The Beast carries a supply of blood matching the president’s blood type in case of an emergency. It also travels with its own oxygen supply which can be piped directly into the hermetically sealed cabin in the event of an attack.

The limo can hold up to seven people, so the president is never far from help. Essential staff, including the president’s military doctor, generally follow behind in one of three separate SUVs known as the ‘Control Car’. 


The US President's vehicle known as The Beast where Barack Obama is working
Former President Barack Obama uses the coded communications system in Cadillac One


4. Communications

Almost no sound can enter the cabin because of the armored plating. Exterior sound is picked up with microphones on the outside and speakers inside. Further communications equipment enables The Beast to communicate with specialized vehicles that are part of the motorcade.

Top-of-the-range communications also ensure the US president has the ability to dispatch the codes necessary to fire nuclear weapons from inside The Beast in an emergency.


The US President's vehicle known as The Beast arrives with a large motorcade
President Biden visited the Vatican with an 85-vehicle motorcade

5. Motorcade size

President Biden was skewered for the size of his 85-car motorcade during a visit to Italy to discuss environmental concerns with the Pope. (To be fair, Italy's lockdown rules limited the number of people allowed in one vehicle.)

Generally, there are around 50 vehicles in the motorcade and 100 staff, shifting upward or downward depending on the mission.

Sometimes extra vehicles are added in new positions and the president isn’t always inside the limo. By constantly mixing up the routine, the secret service aims to thwart attackers.


An illustration of the presidential motorcade with The Beast at its core
The basic formation of a Presidential motorcade and The Beast (aka Stagecoach or Cadillac One)



The motorcade is a highly choreographed operation.

The ‘Route Car’ runs minutes ahead of the motorcade. It is a watch car offering intelligence and guidance to the motorcade. The ‘Pilot Car’ does the same, running a minute (or even seconds) in front of the motorcade.

The ‘Sweepers’ - police on motorcycles and in patrol cars - deploy in front of the motorcade, clearing the way and blocking off intersections and highway overpasses.

The ‘Lead Car’ (sometimes a Secret Service Suburban or police car) works as a guide and a buffer.


US president Joe Biden next to the US President's vehicle known as The Beast
Biden brought The Beast to Britain on his first international trip as US president


The President's limousine is generally at the center of the motorcade - known as ‘the secure package’ - but that doesn’t necessarily mean the president is always inside The Beast. There are also 'spare' limos used as decoys.

Behind the package, there are a variety of vehicles that may shift locations.

The ‘ID Car' liaises with other agencies; the ‘Roadrunner’ mobile is the communications center, and; the ‘Hazardous Materials Mitigation Unit’ is ready to respond to chemical, biological or nuclear attacks.

The ‘US Secret Service Countermeasures Suburban’ can reportedly jam any remote explosives through two antennas sending out a huge range of radio frequencies that lock bomb activation signals. It also has electronic warfare sensors that can detect if an RPG or anti-missile tank is launched.

Three separate SUVs follow. In the middle is the ‘Control Car’, with the president’s doctor. On either side there are two other SUVs with open rear-view windows in case the occupants need to open fire quickly. ‘The Halfback’ SUV is prepared to defend The Beast while ‘The CAT car’ SUV is there to fight any insurgents.

An ambulance is also part of the motorcade and the remainder of the vehicles may carry additional secret service agents, the military, and the press. 



6. The Presidential motorcade attracts Beast-spotters

In 2017, a car appeared to be trying to ram former President Trump’s Beast in Missouri, speeding out of the woods just as the motorcade passed. Beast-spotters (yes, there are such people) filmed the ordeal on their smartphones but officials said the incident was simply a case of a car with malfunctioning brakes


7. Handling The Beast is a challenge, even for secret service-trained drivers

In one embarrassing scrape, President Obama’s Beast got stuck as it exited the US Embassy in Dublin, Ireland. A loud bang was heard when the underside of the limo hit the ramp. US officials later denied Obama was in the car, however, dismissing the stuck vehicle as a ‘spare limo’.



Parking an 18-foot Beast can cause headaches as well. In 2009, one driver found himself in a tight spot at Downing Street, the Prime Minister’s London home. The Beast’s three-point turn quickly became a five-point turn in front of the world’s assembled media. 

No wonder special agents regard ‘no motorcade’ as the safest motorcade. They tend to limit rides to 30 minutes or less. Anything more, and the president has the option of the Marine One helicopter or Air Force One jet.

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