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Ogara Coachworks; Ogara Hess & Eisenhardt
Ogara Coachworks, 1970s-1982; Simi Valley, California; Ogara, Hess & Eisenhardt, 1982-present; Fairfield, Ohio
Associated Builders
Hess & Eisenhardt Armoring, Armor Holdings

Tom O'Gara first learned the limousine trade while working at Moloney Coachbuilders during the early 1970s. He eventually moved to Simi Valley, California and started O'Gara Coachworks with his brother Ed in the second half of the decade. O'Gara purchased Hess & Eisenhardt's Rosmoyne, Ohio armored vehicle division from Cincinnati millionaire, George Strike (who's currently co-owner of the Cincinnati Reds) in 1982 and moved the bulletproofing operations to his own plant in Fairfield, Ohio, renaming it O'Gara, Hess & Eisenhardt.

Two 1984 Cadillac presidential limousines were specially built by Hess & Eisenhardt in conjunction with General Motors Engineering. Based on the standard limousine but with the wheelbase lengthened 17 inches to 161.5", the car is 21 ' 9" in length and is the longest presidential limousine ever made by the firm.

A special chassis and power train was designed and built by Cadillac in cooperation with the General Motors Engineering Staff.  Special armoring and body modifications were designed and developed by the Hess & Eisenhardt Armoring division of O’Gara International, Ltd. All facets of the design, development and manufacture of this Cadillac limousine were supervised by the U.S. Secret Service as well.

The limousine features bullet-proof extra-high "commercial glass" windows, three jump seats, a PA system, special interior lighting and miniature spotlights that illuminate the attached US and Presidential flags. It has a retractable rear platform and handrail for use by the Secret Service and is painted black a dark blue cloth interior. A matching Cadillac Secret Service escort vehicle was built at the same that featured an open top and numerous handrails and platforms for use by the agents assigned to the President.

O'Gara, Hess & Eisenhardt has since worked on numerous projects for both the Secret Service and the Pentagon. The first armored Chevrolet Suburban was delivered to the Secret Service in 1984. In 1993 they developed the XM1109, the first generation up-armored HMMWV (Humvee) for the US Army. In 1996 the first up-armored HMMWV, the M1114, was to delivered to the US Army for use in Bosnia. In 1998, an up-armored Air Force version of the the HMMWV, the M1116, was delivered to the US Air Force.

In 2001 Armor Holdings, Inc., a world leader in security products and services, acquired O'Gara, Hess & Eisenhardt. In addition to their off-the record work for the Secret Service and the Pentagon, O'Gara, Hess & Eisenhardt manufacture a complete line of armored vehicles for the world business community. Their armored Toyota Land Cruisers, Chevrolet Suburbans and Hummer H1 & H2s are all available with varying levels of protection and are built in O'Gara, Hess & Eisenhardt plants in 7 countries.

© 2004 Mark Theobald -






Autocar, June 30, 1984 issue

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Richard J. Conjalka - Classic American Limousines: 1955 Through 2000 Photo Archive

Richard J. Conjalka - Stretch Limousines 1928-2001 Photo Archive

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