The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is soliciting bids for the design of the next presidential limousine. The DHS is aiming to have the car ready in time for the next presidential inauguration that will take place in January of 2017.
In a statement posted on its website, the DHS explains it is only accepting bids from major automakers who are headquartered in the United States. General Motors, the company that built the current presidential limo, has announced it plans on submitting a proposal that will likely be badged as a Cadillac. Rival Chrysler is said to be preparing a car as well but it has not provided any additional details.
Although Ford has not commented on the call for bids, rumors indicate it might submit a Lincoln-badged limousine in an attempt to restore the brand’s former glory.
GM says developing the presidential limousine is a highly complex and time-consuming process.
“It takes a number of years to develop the car. In the past, they were retrofitting existing vehicles — with this, this is really from the ground up a new vehicle, and we really do it right,” explained GM vice president of design Ed Welburn in a September, 2013, interview with the Detroit News.
The DHS will choose who gets the honor of building the next President’s limousine on August 29th of this year. A number of factors will be evaluated during the selection process including the type of armor used, how it is integrated into the vehicle and the project’s total cost.
President Obama’s limousine is badged as a Cadillac but it shares very few components with a standard production car. Its chassis, diesel engine and transmission are evolutions of the ones used in the Chevrolet Kodiak, a rugged commercial vehicle used as everything from a dump truck to a U-Haul truck.
Tipping the scale at a rumored 20,000 pounds, the Beast’s armor plating is said to be 8 inches thick and its doors weigh as much as those on a Boeing 757 aircraft. Five-inch thick bulletproof windows contain at least five layers to put a damper on any effort by subversives. And those gigantic, nearly bus-size Goodyear tires are Kevlar-reinforced run-flats capable of keeping The Beast on the road for quite some distance if needed.