By Holly Upton
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Videographer / director: Ben Derico
Producer: Holly Upton, James Thorne
Editor: Beth Angus
In 1987 Cadillac and Donald Trump partnered on the idea of offering a "Trump Edition" limousine. The aim was to produce the world's most luxurious limo with specialists Dillinger Coachwork as the chosen coach-builder.
Their plan was to build 50 examples each of two slightly different models; The Trump Golden Series and the Trump Executive Series.
Both featured an electronic bar, three phones (one in the front and two in the back), TV and VCR, raised roof for extra headroom, plus a paper shredder and fax machine, all topped off with an iconic ‘Cadillac Trump’ crest.
Although the project was subsequently scrapped, Trump bought both cars, one for himself and the other for his father.
And one of the ultra-rare cars is now proudly displayed in the family run, Volo Auto Museum, a 35-acre museum in Volo, Illinois which houses all kinds of historic American rides including scooters and theme park rides.
Museum co-owner Brian Grams told Barcroft TV: “The Trump limo is something we had to have here at the museum because we’re about history, about celebrity-owned cars. Like him or not, he’s a famous person so we had to have it here”.
Originally the plan was to build a while run of the limos.
Brian explained: “Cadillac got with Trump and they started off with a lot of them to be built but after the two prototypes were built they ended the project.
“Trump has his version of why the project was cancelled and Cadillac has their version of why it was cancelled. I guess we’ll never know the truth.”
Significantly, the limo is the first ever Trump-branded object, before he went on to brand many other things including water, steak and golf courses.
Brian said: “It was really the beginning of the Trump brand. Trump has branded many things and this was the first item. He got the idea to brand his name as a luxury item, and it’s branded Trump Series right on the emblem.”
The model is a Brougham Cadillac that was modified to Trump’s needs, including a raised rooftop for extra headroom.
Brian said: “You can see the roofline, instead of going down it starts going up, it doesn’t follow the line of the window because they raised the roof for extra headroom”.
Asked to describe the limo in three word, Brian said: “Over the top”.
The car’s luxurious feel is helped by a series of gold-plated parts, including the ‘Trump Series’ emblem on the bonnet, the ‘Brougham’ emblem on the back, pinstripes on the side and the phone antenna. Incredibly, even the car keys are gold-plated.
Brian added: “When you’re driving you get to look at the Cadillac Trump Series branded logo staring right at you.”
The limo also features a fully functioning television with its own “boomerang TV antenna” on the car roof.
An automatic electronic alcohol-dispensing minibar, pull-out tables, three telephones and a hidden safe are some of the other luxurious features of the Trump limo.
Brian explained: “You’ve got your electric bar here, you just put in your glass, you got buttons here, you just pick your own poison and you’ve got little picnic tables that come out for your beverage”.
When Volo Museum first acquired the car, they even found a mysterious used hair brush inside. Brian said: “I’m not saying it’s Donald Trump’s, but I’m not saying it’s not either”.
With its V8 engine, the car drives quietly and smoothly but as Brian says: “it doesn’t have a whole lot of kick, it’s not a sports car by any means”.
Being from the 1980s, the vintage car definitely feels old school with its cassette players and massive phones – but the limousine embodies a time in history that was characterised by excess.
Brian said: “The cars from the 1980s definitely have their place in history. They’re very excessive and this car is an example.”
“The cars themselves were not very good, they’re kind of like anything from the eighties. But they have their place in time, this just takes me back to the Miami Vice days.”