Latvian automaker DARTZ’s newest SUV, the Black Alligator, has taken the title of one of the world’s most opulent trucks, with 1,600 horsepower, alligator-skin interior, and available gold-plated bodywork.
Above and beyond those features, it boasts what’s supposed to be the world’s most expensive steering wheels, which can be customized with alligator or stingray on the rim, gold buttons, and a central badge containing 292 black diamonds and two rubies.
The Black Alligator can, of course, be built to taste, with optional stingray, alligator, ostrich, crocodile, or python upholstery, along with shark-skin or sheep-skin floor mats.
Based on the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLS63 AMG, the SUV comes with Benz’s 5.5-litre Biturbo V8, in stock 585-horsepower trim, or in 760-, 850-, 1,100- or 1,600-hp trims.
“Exterior bodywork is made out of Kevlar and Carbon Fiber, in case of non armored car,” DARTZ explained in a press release.
“Customers in need of absolute protection get a Kevlar-coated Titanium body with an excess of bulletproof abilities.”
Founded by Leonard Yankelovich and based in Riga, Latvia, DARTZ specializes in the production and customization of armoured luxury vehicles. While its focus is on the construction of tank-like SUVs, it has gained global notoriety for its over-the-top opulence and use of extremely rare build materials of questionable value and ethics.
For instance, its Prombron SUV initially launched promising customers limited-edition leather upholstery made from the foreskins of whale penises.
Well-founded protests by environmental and animal rights activists, including Pamela Anderson, eventually overturned DARTZ’s plans to use the material, but it continues to source upholsteries from other exotic animals.
“He’s trying to sell to a very particular subset of the super-rich,” said Peter York, management consultant and author, in an interview with the BBC.
“The brand is, ‘I need a gold-plated tank.’ So you need either to be very paranoid or to have what I call a teenage sensibility—you’re a person who’s very worried about masculinity, so you want to say this is so, so macho that we sacrifice any conventional idea of car aesthetics.”
DARTZ’s official website says it offers its customers “bulletproof opulence trusted by billionaires, tzars, superstars, generals and dictators since 1869.”
(Motor Authority, BBC, and Dartz)