There’s nothing quite like riding in an armored limousine with a lot of classified specs. It’s not something most people get to do in their lifetime, but it’s something Sasha Obama just got used to during her father’s eight years in office. Sasha, which is a nickname for her given name of Natasha, is the Obama’s youngest daughter. Her older sister is Malia. They were both just children when their father was elected president, and they are both adults now. Sasha and her sister were very busy during their days as the first family. Their father made many appearances, as did their mother, Michelle. A lot of times, the girls would be there, as well. They attended upscale events, as well as more down-to-earth get-togethers. Sasha was also interested in tap dance and gymnastics.
Both girls were enrolled in piano and tennis lessons, as well as attending school. Now that she’s graduated from high school, Sasha attends the University of Michigan. While she didn’t own or drive Limousine One, and she doesn’t still ride around in it, she spent plenty of time there when she was younger, traveling to various events with her family. The car has also been nicknamed “Cadillac One,” “First Car,” and “The Beast.” It’s code name was “Stagecoach.” It’s the official state car of the United States President, and each president generally gets a new one that they customize to meet their needs. There are also changes made to the car for safety, and a lot of the specifications of the car — such as its top speed — are classified and not made available to the public.
For a long time, presidents just rode in standard cars that hadn’t been modified in any way. Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first president to buy a car, called the Sunshine Special, that was modified to fit the standards of the secret service. The president frequently rode in convertibles and other cars where he received public exposure. Cheering crowds would gather on the road sides to watch the president come through their town. But after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, presidents stopped riding in convertibles and other open vehicles. Since that time, the cars that shuttle presidents around have become increasingly complex. From 2009 to 2018, for example, the presidential car had a hermetically sealed environmental system and bulletproof glass that was five inches thick.
When a presidential car is no longer used, the Secret Service dismantles and destroys it. That way, its secrets can’t be learned by those who would use that information to harm a current or future president or their family. Recent motorcades also have much more than the president’s car in them, and are typically 25 to 45 cars long. There are vehicles for security, the press, proper route clearing, healthcare, and more. That may seem like overkill, but protecting the president is very serious business and something that has to be done in order to also protect the country. People need to feel safe and secure, and if the president is harmed that sense of security can be shattered. That’s one of the reasons that Limousine One is so well guarded and of such high quality.
The car that drove Sasha Obama and her family around when her father was president was a Cadillac, but in a way it wasn’t. That’s because the car carried the emblem commonly seen on the Escalade and CTS, but was not based on a specific car. Instead, it was built from the ground up, specifically for the purpose of protecting the First Family as they traveled. There was a lot of speculation about the way in which the car was built, which was believed to be on a GMC Topkick platform with standard Cadillac headlights and taillights, and a gasoline engine. The tires were those that were generally used on both medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks, asserting that Limousine One was probably much heavier than it looked, and also heavier than previous presidential cars.
The weight range was speculated to be between 15,000 and 20,000 pounds, with a top speed of 60 miles per hour. However, due to the classified nature of so much of the information surrounding this kind of vehicle, it’s not known if those figures were accurate. The Secret Service was responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the car. Night vision optics, a cannon for tear gas, onboard oxygen tanks, and an armored fuel tank were just some of the upgrades that came on this vehicle. That makes it sound more James Bond than US President, but those options were necessary to increase safety and security as much as possible. Shotguns were also onboard, and there was some discussion that rocket-propelled grenades might be present. That was never confirmed or denied.