A Lexus fit for a prince

   Firstly, from all of us here at naplesillustrated.com, we’d like to wish all the best to Prince Albert II of Monaco and his lovely bride, former South African Olympic swimmer, Charlene Wittstock. They were wed last Saturday in the fairy tale principality on the Mediterranean.

Prince Albert II of Monaco and Charlene Wittstock   And an equally hearty congrats to Lexus for pulling off one of the best product placement deals since Tom Hanks flew FedEx in the movie Castaway. Willssson!

   For the royal nuptials, Lexus built a one-off, topless Lexus 600h hybrid limo to get them to the church on time. The car was unique in that it featured a massive, one-piece transparent polycarbonate roof, just in case it rained.

   The prince is a bit of a tree-hugger, so he wanted to show his green credentials on his wedding day by having a zero-emission hybrid as the official wedding car. I guess a Prius may have been a little on the small side.

   Lexus commissioned renowned Belgian coachbuilders, Carat Duchatelet to create the stretched, open-top LS600h Landaulet – a landaulet is a convertible from the front seats back.

   The top itself was impressive in that it measured just over a quarter-inch thick and weighed a mere 57 pounds. According to Lexus, the car took more than 2,000 hours to complete.  

   Ironically, that was 500 hours LESS than it took Armani to make the bride’s gown with its 88 yards of silk and 40,000 Swarovski crystals.


Lexus 600h Landaulet

While the Lexus may have been a hybrid, it wasn’t exactly the most eco-friendly car on the planet.

   The 600h is powered by a 5.0-liter V8 with a battery pack and electric motors to give it the power of a V12.

   And while it can run on battery-power alone, its EV range is a pitiful half-mile, after which the big V8 cuts in. That wouldn’t have gotten the wedding car half way around the famous Monte Carlo harbor.

   Sadly, or fortunately, depending on your viewpoint, the sun was shining last Saturday, so the plastic bubble covering the happy couple was removed.

 Lexus 600h Landaulet - The Wheel World - Howard Walker  Naturally, there was no word from Lexus as to the cost of producing this Midnight Blue one-off. But the word ‘expensive’ certainly comes to mind. As for the worldwide publicity the car generated for Lexus, another word comes to mind: Priceless.

   Yet no matter how impressive the Lexus Landaulet looked, it was nowhere near as cool as the vintage Aston Martin DB6 Volante convertible that Prince William drove away from Buckingham Palace in with Kate Middleton.

   And the beauty of that car? It was free. William simply borrowed it from his father, Prince Charles who was given the car as a 21st birthday present.


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