Friday, March 28, 2014

1310 The Secret Service Goes Shopping

The Presidential limo is a 2009 Cadillac.  Sort of.  And it’s time for a new car, a little something for use in 2017 and thereafter.

So, the secret service is going shopping.  But unlike most of us, it doesn’t go through all the usual baloney car buying requires.

Instead of reading Consumer Reports or Edmunds, it takes bids.  And there are laws about that.  The bids have to come from carmakers which both will build it and which have headquarters in this country.  That limits bidders to GM, Ford, Chrysler and Tesla.

The buyer doesn’t go to a neighborhood dealer and start haggling about the price of options.  Slick Spike the salesman in the checkered polyester coat can’t tell them “armor plating only comes with the Deluxe Presidential package which also contains undercoating, windshield VIN engraving, run-on-flat tires and the 10-thousand watt Bose audio system.”

There’s something you have to know about presidential limos.  They're not really cars anymore… though the first dozen or so were.

They are combinations of trucks and tanks with car-like cosmetics… things like grilles and taillights. They weigh between 10-thousand and 20-thousand pounds.  They have windows that are inches thick that laugh at bullets and explosives. They have armor, and seals that repel chemical weapons and fires.  They have windshield wipers better than anything you can get for your car.  They have steering systems that can work a slalom course with ease but without giving up that living room ride.

The New York Times reported that President Obama wanted a hybrid. The Secret Service said no.  Too slow on acceleration.  The Toyota Prius takes about 11 seconds from zero to 60.  An armor plated version would probably take about a day and a half.

So security and speed trump politics and economy.  And should.  Putin may ride a bicycle, but Obama is not going to.

The law raises a question about Chrysler, which is owned by Fiat which is headquartered in Italy but which is run like it were independent, which it isn’t.

Cadillac has been the brand of choice for about 20 years.  Before that, most were Lincolns.  Lincolns have reliability problems. But surely there are people at Ford who know how to build a luxury tank, though not one YOU can buy.

GM is a logical choice because it was recipient of a government bailout. And while that probably won’t factor into the decision, someone is going to make that the cases both for and against Cadillac.

Some questions, now, on the car itself:

Does it have to be black?  Or can the next President have red or yellow or cobalt blue?

How many do they actually build?  There isn’t just one of these cars, they are part of a fleet of identical siblings.

Does it have to have leather seats?  Leather can be slippery.  You wouldn’t want Hillary or Mitt sliding all around that big back seat, now would you?  But cloth is so… cheesy in a car like that.  And fur is out of the question.  That’s only for pimps and ponzi schemers.

And what do they do with the old ones?

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2014

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