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At this writing, the National Football League’s Chicago Bears are 6-1 for the ’88-’89 season. Whether or not the Bears, Super Bowl XX champions in 1986, duplicate their stupendous 11-1 record, Matt Baines and Paul Tamraz of Limousine Werks figure to be winners thanks to their recent preseason completion of “The Iron Mike” limousine.
Developed and named with Bears head coach, Mike Ditka, in mind, the first production model of the limousine was presented to the man who, in 1985, coached his “Monsters of the Midway” to their first Conference championship in more than two decades and their first ever Superbowl triumph in a 46-10 romp over the New England Patriots at the Superdome in New Orleans.
Baines and Tamraz, president and chairman respectively of Limousine Werks in Schaumburg, IL, are in their fifth model year of manufacturing Cadillac Lincoln, and Mercedes-Benz limousines. Looking to produce a high profile model for 1989, the company’s marketing staff explored the friendship between Baines, Tamraz, and the Ditka family for a possible endorsement tie-in with Limousine Werks.
“Mike is a big limousine user in the Chicago area,” said Baines. “He contracts limousine services through several Limousine Werks customers. The tie-in was a natural.”
As conversation led to agreement, and agreement led to product development, it was obvious that the Ditka reputation lent itself perfectly to three important areas: 1) Development of a limited-production vehicle with name appeal for both the limousine buyer and user; 2) A high profile spokesman with a strong belief in, and experience with, the benefits of limousine transport; and 3) A symbol that represents qualities of strength, leadership, and personal dedication. In August of this year, Ditka was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame of his achievements in the game since first drafted as a player for the Bears n 1961.
“Bears Blue” With Orange Striping
The Iron Mike is appropriately finished in a deep metallic blue with orange and white pin-striping to match the Chicago Bears’ team colors. Ditka arrives at all Bears home games in the 60-inch stretch and is whisked away into the bowels of Soldier Field of Chicago’s lakefront, all of the cheers and delight of pursuing fans.
Inside the Iron Mike, Ditka relaxes in the plush comfort of a six passenger cabin with corner console that houses a swing-out Sony TV and super stop-action VCR (for reviewing last week’s game tapes, no doubt). Even the coach’s oversized digits have no trouble operating the Iron Mike’s overhead control panel, selecting from among the entertainment, privacy, and comfort features built in to this roomy cabin. A humidor has been provided for those ever-present cigars that are as much a Ditka trademark as Tom Landry’s hat is a Dallas Cowboys trademark.
“Iron Mike” is certainly an appropriate moniker for this car. Limousine Werks uses all-steel construction for a solid, impenetrable feeling of defense even a non-sports fan can appreciate. Generous rustproofing protects the metal, while equally ample sound deadening baffles and premium Vogue tires hush the interior ride to a fraction of that experienced in the average car. Outside, onlookers will note the “Iron Mike” nameplate as a Limousine Werks exclusive, provided with each of the vehicles on a limited-production basis throughout the year.
“We expect a lot of interest from livery operators,” Baines said. “Whether for sports, entertainment, special occasions, or business use, customers will identify quickly with the solid Mike Ditka reputation.”
Personal Appearance Planned
To enhance promotion of the Iron Mike, Mike Ditka has agreed to a one-day appearance at the upcoming Limousine & Chauffeur Show in Baltimore, March 12-15, 1989. He will be autographing specially designed Iron Mike posters and sharing post-season NFL war stories with limousine industry attendees.
Advertising and public relations people agree: Mike Ditka has “market appeal” well beyond his hometown Chicago, especially with the media frenzy that surrounds any Super Bowl event (more than 2,000 media credentials were issued at Super Bowl XX and the game was broadcast in 31 countries).