You must be familiar with the expression ‘you get what you pay for’. Unpack that expression for a second because the real meaning in that really has nothing to do with money but responsibility. As in you are ultimately responsible for the decisions you make, and the only way you can be sure of the right decision as with anything is checking your facts thoroughly. Only once you have completed this part of the process, does anything of a financial nature feature and only then does the idea of expensive transform into the idea of worth it.
This analogy applies in spades when it comes to luxury armoured cars. Are all armoured cars equal? That might seem like a strange question because surely as long as the materials conform to a ballistic standard that is regulated, surely they should be? Well most definitely not! If I take a rough, uncut diamond and superglue it to a keyring to present as an engagement ring on proposal, am I likely to get a yes? If I want to renovate my kitchen and I buy my own marble tops, hard beech wood and stone tiles and ask my mate the plumber to fit for me, have I added to my property value?
Simply having materials that are rated to a ballistic standard does not make it an armoured car. The best materials are the start, which I will delve into shortly, but the quality of the workmanship and final product are equally important. Do you know it takes a minimum of 1000 man hours to build a B6 level vehicle? That is, to build it to our standard. Think about how many hours you work in a day and then divide that into 1000 for some perspective. It could take less and in some cases there are others who will do it quicker, but at what cost? Panels that do not fit properly, electronics that do not work, exposed areas that are vulnerable to projectiles, outward appearance that very clearly tells you it is an armoured car and even more issues that we simply do not tolerate.
An example of spalling on the inner surface
Glass with no spall on the inner surface
Inferior glass that has delaminated, resulting in zero visibility
We often talk about vehicles fitting into YOUR lifestyle, and while there will be some compromises along the way, our goal is to make armoured car ownership as simple and painless as possible. It is for that reason we work with the build process that we do, and choose the materials that we do. Discretion is an important part of being safe, so as an example the glass we use (21mm – 42mm) has to retain the exact shape and fitment as the standard glass does. It must not delaminate or appear hazy after a number of years. It must not spall on the inner surface after ballistic impact and must in every possible way resemble the standard glass, right down to the design of the black-out areas and their exact dot-matrix edge pattern.
The same is to be said of the opaque armour (what you don’t see). What we use is the best of what is available and crucially, the lightest. Why is that important? Because it is the least intrusive, we do not dramatically alter the dynamics of the car so it doesn’t feel any different to drive, lower weight means lower maintenance costs and negates the need for modified braking and suspension systems, it can be shaped and fitted in many different forms for a perfect fit which means you are not exposed and most important, you don’t know it is there. Have you ever looked at a face brick wall and noticed that one brick that is not aligned with the rest? That has more cement underneath than the others and sits out an angle? You can look at the entire wall and the only thing you will see, and that will bug you, is that one brick. We are not comfortable with that sort of thing, because you wouldn’t be.