U.S President Barack Obama rode to the inauguration ceremony yesterday in a hand-crafted, armoured Cadillac DTS (DeVille Touring Sedan) with four-wheel-drive.

Called “the beast” by its secret service handlers, the GM?model is believed to weigh between seven and eight tons. The body is reportedly sheathed in military-grade armor as much as eight inches thick on the doors.

The first “official” presidential limousine was a 1939 Lincoln V12 convertible used by FDR (and subsequently Harry Truman). In 1989 George Bush Sr. made use of a 1989 Lincoln Town, the last president to ride in a Lincoln.

Since then Cadillacs have ruled the roost, first with the 1993 Fleetwood Brougham of Bill Clinton. It was ultimately replaced in 2001 with the Cadillac DeVille of George W. Bush and finally “the beast” in 2006.