As former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s armoured Jaguar is put up for sale it would be easy to mistake the bullet- and bombproof limo for just another stretched Jag. Not so with the wheels of choice of some of the current crop of world leaders.
An unkind observer might suggest there’s some “ego” measuring going on with these multi-tonne, super-secure machines but there’s no doubt they are impressive feats of engineering.
While most leaders opt for the huge, heavily armoured and intimidating, research by Select Car Leasing, has also found a few quirkier models used to chauffeur global dignitaries. Read on for a break down of the good, the bad and the ugly.
Donald Trump – Cadillac One AKA “The Beast”
A brand-new Cadillac has been built for President Trump but has kept “The Beast” nickname given to its massive predecessor.
The custom-built limo is longer than two large SUVs and weighs in at a staggering eight tonnes. There are 12 Cadillacs in the Presidential fleet, each worth around £12.5 million.
The Cadillac features the usual bullet proof windows, Kevlar tyres and armour-plated body-work but also has tear gas grenade launchers, smoke screen dispensers and a panic button, as well as state of the art communication units allowing the President to speak directly to the Vice President and the White House
Vladimir Putin – Aurus Senat Limousine
Officially unveiled at Putin’s inauguration ceremony, the Aurus Senat Limo is the first domestically produced vehicle designed for a Russian head of state since 1985.
It weighs six tonnes, is 23 feet long and is powered by a near-600bhp 4.4-litre Porsche V8. As you’d expect it’s heavily armoured but beyond that details are thin on the ground. According to one report, the Aurus when faced with inescapable collision, can automatically move the passenger seats to a safer position, tightens all the seat belts and then closes all doors and windows.
Queen Elizabeth II – Bentley State Limousine
Thought to be the most expensive state car in the world – at a staggering £11 million, this one-off Bentley was built specifically for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee.
Based on an Arnage floorpan, it’s taller, longer and wider than the standard car, designed to make it easier for passengers to get in and out with suitable dignity.
Bentley hasn’t disclosed the car’s safety features, but reports suggest that the cabin is blast proof and is sealed air-tight in case of a gas attack. The tyres are reinforced Kevlar and the bodywork is fully bulletproof too. Since being created, the Bentley has also been converted to run on biofuel.
Kim Jong-un – Mercedes-Benz S600 Pullman Guard
Not only does Kim Jong Un’s car come with many safety features, it also comes with a 12-man security squad that run alongside the car in a synchronised formation for extra security.
The Pullman Guard version of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class is said to be able to withstand a grenade attack, handgun shots of up to .44 calibre as well as military rifle attack.
The car also comes fitted with bulletproof glass, reinforced flooring that’s resistant to land mines and the cabin is completely sealed, protecting from exposure to gas and chemicals.
Not all world leaders opt for such massive, heavily armoured vehicles, some decided to choose motors that better represent them as people. Take these few as examples…
Jose Mujica, former president Of Uruguay – Volkswagen Beetle
Nicknamed “the poorest president in the world”, Mujica led a frugal lifestyle and opted to drive his own 1987 Volkswagen Beetle rather than have a state limo. The car became so famous that a Sheikh reportedly offered to buy it for $1 million, which Mujica turned down.
George Tupou V, former King Of Tonga – London Black Cab
When asked why he opted for the relatively humble black cab rather than something fanciers, George Tupou V’s explained: “A London taxi has the right proportions and makes it easy for you to get in and out of whilst wearing spurs and a sword”.. You can’t argue with that.