No industry is immune to Obamania marketing. Texas Custom Armoring announced last month that it is offering bulletproof limousines for sale to the public.
It's not exactly breaking news; TCA has been armoring vehicles, including limousines, for more than 30 years for the world's richest people and many heads of states. But interest in its services has dramatically increased since Cadillac debuted the president's new wheels.
TCA can bulletproof almost anything (it currently has a Bentley and a Mercedes-Benz Maybach in its shop), and its typical armored limousine is a custom-stretched SUV, such as an Escalade, that it outfits with European B6 grade protection.
What you get with a B6 grade armored-limo is protection against your garden-variety terrorist or well-equipped kidnapper armed with AK-47s or M16s. The cost: about $160,000 plus the price of the car. If that's not enough armor for your threats, TCA also offer B7+ grade limo armoring, which can withstand more shots at a closer range, protect against land mines, hand grenades, and will also stop black market munitions, such as armor-piercing bullets.
And if your enemies are the type who are not so easily deterred, TAC has a list of options that are seemingly lifted directly from past episodes of Knight Rider, such as a road-tack dispensing systems, 110-volt electric shocking door handles, smoke screens, hidden rotating license plates, and of course, oil slicks. The new KITT has nothing on TAC's whips.
In fact, they can do any customization as long as it's within legal boundaries, said Jason Forston, executive vice president of sales and marketing for TCA.
"Truth is, when you're driving in your vehicle is when you're most vulnerable," Forston said. Approximately 90 percent of attacks on their customers occur when they're in their car, he said.
But the kind of insurance that TCA sells doesn't run cheap. B7+ grade armoring starts at $200,000 for a sedan. Double that for a limo.
The Cadillac DTS Presidential Limo is a custom project between GM and the Secret Service. The DTS specs are top secret, but Forston estimates that to build a similar vehicle with a truck chassis, custom-built body armoring, and glass that's over six inches thick, you're looking at a $2 million price tag.
For the more economically minded head of state, TCA can modify a Cadillac DTS to look like the Presidential Limousine--without the armoring--for about $350,000.See how TCA builds custom armored vehicles