The US Presidential car, ‘The Beast’, is counted among the safest and most efficient vehicles in the world. However, during his 2010 India visit, then-President Barack Obama’s limo got stranded on a Mumbai street due to suspected “over-heating”.
Former Secret Service Agent Bill Gage recently revealed how the limousine — also knowns as ‘The Beast’, ‘Cadillac One’ or ‘First Car’ — carrying Obama broke down during his tour of India’s financial capital.
The Secret Service is tasked with protecting the US President, Vice President, and their families besides former Presidents and their spouses.
Gage, who first joined the Secret Service in 2002 and was a Counter Assault Team (CAT) member, pointed out two incidents — the first of which left them stranded near the slums of Mumbai.
“We flew in a day ahead of Obama on that trip. So, we land, and for whatever reason, we had to drive through the slums of Mumbai. We were not going to the embassy, we were staging the car at some kind of embassy off-site. And it was hot, man, that day in India… This was a brand new Limo and this was like, I don’t know, version 3.0 or whatever it was, it was brand new,” Gage said on ‘The Team House’ podcast, available on YouTube.
“Well, dammit, the thing overheated on this Indian road through the slums. It overheats like steam is coming out of the engine. Nobody’s in it, we’re driving an empty motorcade to get to this storage facility, this embassy offsite, and the driver comes on and he’s like ‘guys, I gotta stop, this thing is like redlining it’s so hot.’
“Thousands of Indians are coming around and this is a classified piece of US government property. The CAT team leader, he was like ‘guys, let’s take up positions around the limo so this thing can get cooled off’,” he added.
Gage said the incident got them perplexed as to what to do but managed to get to the place after the car cooled down.
“So, it was about 10 or 15 minutes. And we can’t just start wasting Indian civilians because they want to touch this limousine, but it ended up cooling down enough and we were able to get to this offsite,” he said.
Gage recalled another incident where The Beast’s driver had mistakenly filled the car’s tank with diesel, despite it having a gasoline-fueled engine. Gage also hailed the mechanics for doing “amazing” work to get the car up and running in just a few hours.
“He tried to fill the thing up with gas from an Indian gas station and decided to put diesel in it. And it was not diesel and he pumped probably 10 gallons of diesel…
“He pumped probably 20 gallons of diesel into this brand new Beast Limo and I remember turning to him, his first name started with W, and I was filling up the CAT truck with unleaded, and I remember looking at him, and I was like, ‘hey, W, that’s diesel, man,’ and the panic on his face. He said every cuss word, shutting the pump off. We had to get an Indian tow truck and Obama was supposed to go live, man, in like four hours to this major event,” Gage said.
“… We ended up getting the limo back to the garage in the embassy. We were like, ‘listen, man (the mechanics), we filled this thing up with like five or six gallons of diesel,’ and they were just like so excited. These mechanics, unbelievable, in like four hours took this whole engine apart, drained all the fuel, cleaned the fuel pump. Brand new fuel pump, brand new fuel filter, got this thing up and running, it was amazing to see these guys work,” Sage stated.
The World’s Safest Car
The US President’s official vehicle, The Beast, is considered one of the safest cars in the world. This highly modified Cadillac of General Motors costs approximately $1.5 million.
While the actual specifications of the vehicle are kept secret for obvious security reasons, it has reportedly 8-inch armor plating. The doors with five-inch thick bulletproof windows weigh as those of a Boeing airliner. The underneath of the vehicle has a heavy-duty lorry chassis weighing almost 10 tons.
Reports suggest The Beast can withstand gunfire and explosives and has puncture-proof tyres. It can also provide protection against a chemical attack and special foam surrounds the fuel tank in case of an impact.