This 1984 Cadillac Series 75 Fleetwood Limousine was used by the Secret Service during the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and George Bush (41), frequently serving as the lead convoy car carrying armed Secret Service agents tasked with protecting the President and his entourage.
This Cadillac served first at the White House then later at the Pentagon until 2005. Since then it’s remained in private hands, and it has now been restored back to its original Secret Service specification which includes red lights under the grille, a siren, two-way radios, and more. It’s now being offered for sale.
Fast Facts – A Secret Service Cadillac Series 75 Fleetwood
- The Cadillac Series 75 Fleetwood was released in 1977 and sold until 1984. It has the characteristically squared-off body styling of the era and it rode on a 144.5 inch wheelbase with power provided by a 425 cubic inch (7.0 liter) V8 that sent power back to the rear wheels via a 3-speed automatic transmission.
- The Secret Service would order a number of examples of the Series 75 Fleetwood and modify them for their own use. Cars were all finished in black, they had flags added along with red lights behind the grille, sirens, radio systems, Presidential seals, and custom interiors with seating space for up to seven agents.
- One of the Series 75 Fleetwood was built for carrying the President, it had a custom bulletproof body, bulletproof glass, uprated brakes, larger wheels and tires, and a unique self-leveling suspension system.
- The car you see here was used extensively by the Secret Service during the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and George Bush (41). It often served as the lead convoy car, full of armed Secret Service agents of course, and it’s now due to be offered for auction by Mecum at their Dallas auction in late September.
Secret Service Cars: A History Speedrun
The first Presidential vehicles weren’t cars at all, but rather horse-drawn carriages that were phased out when the automobile began to superseded them. One of the most historically notable early Presidential limousines was the 1936 Packard Touring Limo used by Franklin D. Roosevelt on his official visit to New York City in 1938, not long before WWII broke out in Europe.
The outbreak of war across the Atlantic, and the understanding that the United States may be drawn into the conflict, led to the use of the first armored Presidential vehicle. Interestingly this vehicle wasn’t actually built for the President, it was made for infamous gangster Al Capone.
The car was seized by the Treasury Department in 1932 on the income-tax evasion charges Capone was facing and then repurposed into a Presidential vehicle due to the fact that it was bulletproof. A custom built bulletproof 1939 Lincoln “Sunshine Special” was later made for Roosevelt in 1942.
A number of other memorable Presidential vehicles would follow including the beautiful 1955 Chrysler Crown Imperial used by President Dwight Eisenhower and the convertible 1961 Lincoln Continental Limousine used by President John F. Kennedy – the use of a convertible would tragically lead to his assassination in 1963.
Though it isn’t widely known, this vehicle would later be armored and returned to Secret Service use in 1964. Early in his Presidency Ronald Reagan used a 1972 Lincoln Parade Limousine, after the attempt on his life in 1981 it was returned to Ford and received a new interior, and a newly updated exterior to look like the 1979 Lincoln.
Above Image: This is the inauguration coverage of President Ronald Reagan in 1985. If you watch carefully you’ll see the Secret Service Series 75 Fleetwoods, one of which is almost certainly the car shown here.
In the early 1980s a special Series 75 Fleetwood was built for carrying the President, it had a custom bulletproof body, bulletproof glass, uprated brakes, larger wheels and tires, and a unique self-leveling suspension system. The other Secret Service cars were also Series 75 Fleetwoods, though they weren’t given the full bulletproof treatment.
The current Presidential car has been nicknamed “The Beast,” it was commissioned by the Secret Service in 2014 from General Motors, three were made in total with each costing approximately $1 – $1.5 million USD.
The Secret Service Series 75 Fleetwood Shown Here
The vehicle you see here is one of the most memorable of the Secret Service vehicles, and it’s one that most of us have probably seen before – many years ago during news coverage of various Presidential events, inaugurations, and overseas trips.
The car was used by the Secret Service from 1984, and was retired from use at the Pentagon in 2005. It was then sold off into private hands, and in the years since it’s been restored back to its original Secret Service condition.
The car is equipped with all the original equipment, as detailed higher up, this incudes the red lights behind the grille, the siren, the flags up front, the Presidential decals on the exterior, a microphone connected to an external PA system, the Secret Service two-way radios, and the custom interior with jump seats, allowing the car to carry three agents up front and four in the rear – seven in total.
The inside of the car is finished in dark blue velour, with Presidential seals on the seats and door cards. It also has separate front and rear climate control, bolster pillows, separate rear stereo controls, and it comes with a folder of historic documentation including a transfer of ownership document showing the “seller” as Department of Homeland Security.
The car is now due to roll across the auction block with Mecum in late September at their Dallas auction. There’s currently no price guide listed, and you can visit the listing here if you’d like to read more about it or register to bid.
Images courtesy of Mecum
Articles that Ben has written have been covered on CNN, Popular Mechanics, Smithsonian Magazine, Road & Track Magazine, the official Pinterest blog, the official eBay Motors blog, BuzzFeed, Autoweek Magazine, Wired Magazine, Autoblog, Gear Patrol, Jalopnik, The Verge, and many more.
Silodrome was founded by Ben back in 2010, in the years since the site has grown to become a world leader in the alternative and vintage motoring sector, with well over a million monthly readers from around the world and many hundreds of thousands of followers on social media.