There have been security cars since at least 1928. The Mercedes Nürnberg 460, was the first one to be fitted with armour-plating. The plating could also be folded down to cover the windows, leaving only viewing-slits. Periscopes were also possible for the purpose of orientation.
The first prominent figure to have one, was the Japanese emperor Hirohito, to whom, in 1935, the so-called large Mercedes 770 with special security elements was delivered. Later on there were even more added, due to this, the production of this line at Daimler-Benz also expanded more and more.
117 armoured, large Mercedes would be delivered between 1930 and 1939 alone. This continued after the war, first of all, with the Type 300. The really big sales figures were achieved after the appearance of the 600. Armoured S-Class appeared somewhat later, and after a while, even the E-Class for owner drivers was added.
Of course, the reinforcement of the car directly during its manufacturing is substantially more reasonable than modifying the car afterwards, to improve the so-called resistance-class. In the most secure stage, the car can even stand up to an attack with Kalashnikov rifles. The car-flooring and the whole outside of the car is protected against hand grenades and other explosives.
Allegedly, the durability is also increased through the armouring. Apparently 400.000 to 600.000 km are nothing special for such cars. They are, after all, expensive enough. Thus, a seven year old Audi A8 with 114.000 kilometres on the clock, will still fetch way over € 100.000 as a used car.
Of course, a vehicle like this has everything that is good and expensive built in. Starting with the engine, which is always the most high performance variation. This of course, is also necessary, then e.g., even emperor Hirohito's car more than doubled its tare-weight through the modifications. Despite having a stronger engine, a number of these cars must still have speed-governor which kicks in earlier, because of the tyres.
In the meantime of course, Mercedes, Audi and BMW, have a sort of serial production for the cars. It goes without saying, that the production takes place very much in seclusion. As a rule, the people involved have no idea who has ordered the car. The cars are pretty much individually fitted out. Of course nonetheless, there are price-lists available.
The pictures first of all, show the BMW 760Li which was built from 2000 to 2008. Not only are the interior fittings shown, they go through the model-variations, right back to the alarm button. Since of course, an effective communication to the outside world belongs in a special-protection vehicle.
There is an intercom and, for when travelling in convoy, additional light-signals to the rear are also possible. Indeed vehicles carrying an all-round identification beacon require an official approval. Of course, not only the fuel tank but also the communications-box must be particularly protected.
In the meantime, the constructors are becoming more and more ambitious. The enormous security measures should now be invisible from the outside. The car should give the impression of being a standard model. Possible sluggishness will also be cancelled out by either electric, pneumatic or even hydraulic assistants.
As a rule, the drivers of such vehicles are factory trained. Quite often, the vehicles remain the property of the manufacturer and are only rented out as required. This way, it's easier to maintain the operational reliability of the car. There are even special maintenance supervisors abroad. 02/15