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Old January 21st, 2013, 02:56 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default The New Beast

I've had the TV coverage of the Presidential Inauguration and just noticed something new: the new Presidential Limousine. It has door handles!

The last few iterations of what is known as "the beast" by the Secret Service (it's really a heavy truck made to look like a regular car) have looked more and more tank-like, and one notable "feature" was that the back doors operated by some secret, hidden mechanism. The new ones have regular door handles. It makes them look a lot more friendly and a bit less "Darth Vader".

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Old January 23rd, 2013, 09:41 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I didn't watch any of the inauguration, but on a sort of related note...

I recently watched a show called The Lost JFK Tapes: The Assassination, and as they showed the Kennedys arriving at Love Field that fateful November day, the voice-over talked about the decision not to put the bubble-top on the limousine. I wanted to freeze time, and somehow figure out a way to time travel back to 1963 to tell them, very emphatically, PUT THE TOP ON!!
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 10:24 PM   #3 (permalink)
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The bubble top wasn't bullet resistant at all.
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 10:34 PM   #4 (permalink)
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The bubble top wasn't bullet resistant at all.
Really? I thought it was. Maybe my chronically brain fogged brain is confusing it with the PopeMobile.
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Old January 24th, 2013, 01:50 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Lots of people just assumed that it must have been bullet resistant because it was made of plastic, and plastic was a somewhat mysterious substance back in 1963. It wasn't the kind of plastic that could catch a bullet though.

Apparently the bubble was intended to keep the President more visible when it was raining. The problem was if the sun came out, it got real hot inside, and the limo's A/C couldn't keep it comfortable enough. The car was a convertible from the start, so it was usually used "topless" even though it had the plastic bubble, the regular cloth convertible top and a solid "formal" top, none of which were bullet resistant. Not very bright, considering that the Secret Service spent $200,000 in 1961 dollars to armor the bottom part.

After the JFK assassination it was fitted with a permanent armored top, and put back into service. Apparently LBJ wasn't bothered by sitting in the same seat where his predecessor had been killed.
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Old January 24th, 2013, 06:46 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I didn't watch any of the inauguration, but on a sort of related note...

I recently watched a show called The Lost JFK Tapes: The Assassination, and as they showed the Kennedys arriving at Love Field that fateful November day, the voice-over talked about the decision not to put the bubble-top on the limousine. I wanted to freeze time, and somehow figure out a way to time travel back to 1963 to tell them, very emphatically, PUT THE TOP ON!!
Have you read 11/22/63 by Stephen King? Great book!
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Old January 24th, 2013, 06:48 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I've had the TV coverage of the Presidential Inauguration and just noticed something new: the new Presidential Limousine. It has door handles!

The last few iterations of what is known as "the beast" by the Secret Service (it's really a heavy truck made to look like a regular car) have looked more and more tank-like, and one notable "feature" was that the back doors operated by some secret, hidden mechanism. The new ones have regular door handles. It makes them look a lot more friendly and a bit less "Darth Vader".
Did you see how thick those doors were when they opened them? Wow.
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Old January 24th, 2013, 03:47 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Did you see how thick those doors were when they opened them? Wow.
Oh yes, they've been that way for years. They reportedly weigh as much as the doors on the average jumbo jet. And, like jet doors, the ones on the Presidential limousine have an airtight seal when they're closed. Numerous reports say that there are oxygen tanks in the car that keep the limo under positive pressure to keep out any biological, chemical or radioactive hazards that might be in the air during a terrorist attack.

There is one weakness though.

Secret Service Protective Detail Rule #1: don't high-center the President's ride.
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Old January 24th, 2013, 07:26 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Have you read 11/22/63 by Stephen King? Great book!
No, but I've heard it's really good. One of these days...
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