Date registered: Jan 2007
Vehicle: 1962 W111 220SE Coupe
Location: Cloud City, OR
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)
As a former rep for an armoring firm I can say that the factory built cars are virtually undetectable as compared to the aftermarket up-armored cars. The sills are reinforced all the way around and on the aftermarket cars this area is quite visible when the doors are opened, and the window glass tends to have more of the rainbow effect caused by the lamination process than the factory cars. The advantage to aftermarket armoring is the virtually limitless customization that's possible so it really depends on your needs which is the best way to go. Personally I'd pick factory for individuals with no specific threats against them, are residents of the US or Europe and just want to stack the odds in their favor to protect against random violence or road rage. If you're a famous personality, politician, or live in a dangerous area, I'd go with aftermarket.
A couple of words for those considering an armored car:
-Buy one only if you seriously believe it's necessary. The extra weight makes the cars much more difficult to manage especially under spirited driving, not recommended in these cars. The coolness factor wears off quickly then you are left with a heavy car that has lots of specially made parts that are difficult to replace at best.
-Don't buy a sunroof car, there's no reason to unnecessarily expose yourself to harm but you might order a non-moving and armored glass panel sunroof.
-If you must choose the operational side windows never drive with them down, tho most only operate a few inches, use the feature only for paying tolls, etc. You lose all the advantage of an armored car when you expose yourself in this manner and you also become more easily noticed because the thickness of the glass become very evident when down.
-Choose the right "level of protection". This determines what level of firepower the armor will stop. In the US you really only need small arms protection so adding enough armor to stop armor piercing rounds for example adds significantly greater weight, compromising handling and the ability to remain inconspicuous.
-If you live overseas or in a war zone, do have the firewall, roof and floor armored. it doesn't have to stop a grenade or bomb but if the attacker knows you're in an armored car they tend to either shoot from raised positions or simply jump onto the roof to fire into the cabin.
-If you live in an area prone to violence and kidnapping such as Mexico City, consider an armored SUV such as a Toyota Land Cruiser, the gold standard for armored vehicles. These are much less noticeable and don't advertise your presence or wealth. You can still have them upgraded to limo like standards and move the seats rearward for jump seats or more space.
-Avoid James Bond style options unless necessary, you risk other drivers on the road with oil slicks and the like. Run-flat tires are a more effective use of resources.
-If you're buying a new car to be up-armored the shops doing the work can generally get discounted pricing due to their relationships with the manufacturers or dealers so check with them first. Many also have access to used armored vehicles as well.
-NEVER buy from an armorer with no reputation. You have no assurance to the quality and the moment you're being shot at is no time to find out they didn't properly fill the gaps between panels. Also the more advanced companies today use a combination of materials such as steel, kevlar, ceramics, titanium, and blast blankets for weight savings and improved protection while smaller outfits tend to use outdated technology and rely on sheer bulk and thick metal panels to get the job done.
Above all, keep in mind that these cars aren't intended for engaging the attacker but rather to give you a few extra seconds in which to escape danger. A few well grouped rounds can soon penetrate the armor and then you're finished.
If anyone wants specific advice or has questions, I am happy to help in a PM but will not say more in the public forums. As you can guess I will not divulge any former clients and accordingly I will not discuss your questions with anyone else. I am happy to offer shop recommendations to those with serious interest.
The Coupe Group (W111/112 coupes and cabs)official website
The Coupe Group on Facebook
"Too many people are working at jobs they hate, to buy things they don't particularly want, to impress people they don't even care about." --Dr. Deepak Chopra
Last edited by DirectLA; 04-14-2009 at 01:52 PM.