We are proud to collaborate with Lexus on this exemplary piece of motoring history.
Liège, Belgium (PRWEB) July 01, 2011
The Carat Security Group, world-renowned manufacturer of the Carat Duchatelet division of armored VIP vehicles, today confirmed delivery of the exclusive one-off Lexus Landaulet crafted for use during the Royal Wedding in Monaco. The result of a close collaboration between Lexus, Japan’s most prestigious car manufacturer, and Carat Duchatelet, the world's foremost coachbuilder, the Lexus LS 600h has just revved up its engine and left the workshop in Liège, Belgium.
The project began in September 2010 when Lexus, vehicle supplier to the Palace of Monaco, dreamed up the the idea to produce a singular hybrid vehicle for use during the Royal Wedding in July. This vehicle, complete with carbon fiber body and transparent roof, would require the dedicated engineering and craftsmanship of Lexus and Carat Duchatelet to deliver a singular automobile worthy of so auspicious an event.
Carat Duchatelet is a full-service coachbuilder, dedicated to the manufacture of tailor-made limousines which have been destined for many of the world's greatest leaders. For over forty years, more than fifty Heads of State have experienced the privilege of travel in vehicles that combine comfort and safety that are both without peer. Not content to supply its customers with stretched limousines based on the finest models from grand manufacturers such as Mercedes Benz, Maybach, Bentley, Rolls-Royce and of course Lexus, Carat Duchatelet also includes armoured cells of the highest ballistic protection.
This success story was born in 1968 in a small body shop run by a luxury car lover, Frédéric Duchatelet. In its early days, the company specialised in custom interior fittings for luxury cars (precious wood, upholstery, leather) Over the years, owing to the quality of its products, Carat Duchatelet became a favoured supplier for world leaders, a vast majority of Heads of State, but also businessmen with genuine taste. Shortly after, the company’s activity evolved into the conversion and armouring of existing cars. By the 1970s, Carat had become the premier provider of armoured cars for Heads of State and government officials. 2008 was a real milestone in the Company’s history with the acquisition of Centigon from BAE Systems.
The conversion undertaken on this Royal Lexus LS 600h Landaulet represented a significant technical challenge. The development was the first for a vehicle of this standard and powertrain, a hybrid. The conversion process began with extensive computer-aided design calculations, simulations and 3-D modelling. The reinforcement of the bodyshell required extensive application of the very latest in honeycomb structures, Kevlar and carbon fiber technology in order to maintain chassis stiffness and torsional rigidity following the removal of the roof and pillars.
Parts fabricated from composites require very high temperatures for curing. These components were literally ‘cooked’ onto the bare chassis in a specially prepared oven. As a result, much of the vehicle first had to be completely dismantled, involving the stripping out of some 20,000 mechanical parts, electronic components and interior features and upholstery. Re-assembly occurred under the close supervision of the Lexus engineering team, to ensure consistency with the original vehicle specifications and performance. Painting and polishing was a key phase before re-assembly. The Royal Wedding LS 600h L is finished in an elegant Midnight Blue livery, which was applied manually using several coats of a bespoke, environmentally-friendly water-based paint.
The transparent roof was a challenge both in its design, as a large single piece with no reinforcement and no support pillars, and in its manufacturing, for which Lexus sought the cooperation of a supplier specialising in similar elements for the aerospace industry. The demountable roof was constructed in France by one of the world’s leading transparent component-production companies. This highly specialised company mainly supplies complex components of an exceptionally high specification such as helicopter windshields and jet fighter canopies.
The roof is a single, lightweight polycarbonate shell, just 8 mm thick and weighing only 26 kg. Fixed to the body of the Lexus through two intermediary parts, it will allow perfect visibility from both inside and outside the vehicle. It took over 2000 hours to complete. The fundamental objective of the project was to ensure that the finished car maintain the levels of quality and technological sophistication inherent in every Lexus, while preserving all the performance, safety and dynamic attributes of the original LS 600h L.
The final conversion stage of this unique LS 600h L, re-assembly and finishing, involved a team of 10 people in conjunction with Lexus engineers, working full time for over two weeks to ensure that every aspect of the vehicle meets the highest levels of quality and sophistication. Thanks to a exceptional and close cooperation between the technical services of both Lexus and Carat Duchatelet, the achievement is of exceptionally rare quality. The Royal Palace has expressed its entire satisfaction towards Lexus and the work entrusted to Carat Duchatelet.
For additional information on the Lexus LS 600h or other Duchatelet offerings, contact Vito Covalucci or visit http://www.caratsecurity.com
About the Carat Security Group
The Carat Security Group is an industry leader with over 130 years experience in the mobile armored security and coachbuilding market. With seven factories on four continents, CSG vehicles and security-related products provide trusted protection for individual, corporate and governmental agencies worldwide including over 45 current heads of state.