The royal family of Saudi Arabia, in want of appropriate transportation for falcon hunting, recently retained the services of Phaeton Coach Corporation of Dallas, to provide them with the ultimate hunting vehicle.
The stretch limousine, built on a Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham, is unique, said Roger Harris, president of Phaeton, in that the limousine was equipped with a 454 cubic inch V-8 engine and its wheel wells were specially modified to accommodate the larger truck-type wheels and sand balloon tires.
“This truly was a most unusual request and Phaeton is indeed proud that it was the only firm in the U.S. that agreed to take on the project,” Harris said.
Several other firms bid for the job, Harris said, but Phaeton was the only one to agree to provide everything the Saudis required.
The Saudis previously have purchased numerous special hunting trucks from Phaeton, Harris said. This particular order resulted from the objections certain royal personages had to riding to the hunt in a truck, he said.
Jerry Hutchins, vice president of Phaeton, said the entire engine change required completely new suspension, cooling and electrical systems. An obvious distinction, he added, was the much larger hump up front to accommodate the larger transmission housing. The limousine also sits about six inches higher than is standard, he said.
Phaeton worked closely with Carlos P. Allen, a veteran coach builder, who sculptured and rolled steel to form the fenders for the limousine.
Harris explained that since the downsizing decision by the automotive industry, stretch limousines today have the look of long, narrow cars and thus the flaring of fenders and widening of wheel wells add an attractive and aesthetically proper look to the cars.
Phaeton also features limousine conversions on Mercedes sedans. “The Mercedes is marketed in just about every country in the world,” said Harris regarding Phaeton’s “World Car line-up.”
“Our standard domestic cars, although most popular here in the States, do not receive the same acceptance overseas.”
The company converts Mercedes 300 D, 300 SD, and 380 SELs. Phaeton’s exports have increased from 18 percent in 1974 to over 75 percent in 1982, Harris said.
The new model, a 42 inch double-stretch is designed, built and finished with an attention to detail, Harris said.
“It’s one of the few stretch cars where you jack up one wheel and yet open and close each door with that same ease and science that again, you expect of a Mercedes,” he said.
Also in their series of World Cars, Phaeton converts the Rolls Royces into double-stretch length of 42 inches.
“We wanted this conversion to be so true to Rolls Royce’s own standards that even they couldn’t recognize it from their own,” Harris said.
“The real test of coachbuilding is to complete a conversion so true to the original that an observer assumes it was built by the factory and not a conversion at all,” he said.
Veneer for the bar console, divider window and center window sills was imported from Italy to exactly match Rolls Royce’s own burled walnut while the fur skins to make up the carpet were imported from Canada, Harris said.