Lexus LS 600h L Monaco Royal Wedding Car

What a striking roof design, if I do say so…

What a striking roof design, if I do say so…

Give this one a chance, OK?

I'd totally forgotten about it until, well, I looked over at my lovely girlfriend the other night while she was on some gossip website. She was laughing uncontrollably at an article about  the Monaco royal family. Why? They're expecting a child—congrats—but this particular website had posted a clip from the wedding, and the clip was making her laugh.

She explained it to me, and it's simple: during the ceremony, Charlene of High Serenity looks like she does not want get married. 

Anyway, part of the clip shows the subject of today's email, the Lexus LS 600h L Monaco Royal Wedding Car. It got me thinking: Is she sad about the wedding, or having to leave in a Lexus? 

It's a landaulet, a body style you don't see too often these days—and for that, it's worth talking about.

A landaulet comes from the time where dignitaries rode in horse-drawn carriages. The landau carriages, as they were known, had an opening, semi-convertible top for the rear seats. Put the top down, pass through a town, and wave at your subjects.

Hi, kids!

Hi, kids!

Modern heads of state have largely relied upon Mercedes-Benz (and its former sub-brand, Maybach) to fulfil their landaulet needs. 

And yes, this is why those fake, vinyl, convertible-look roofs that were all the rage in the 60s and 70s are called landau tops.

Belgian armoured car producer and coach builder Carat Duchatelet put more than 2000 man-hours into the project, ending up with a stunning design that manages to successfully make the landaulet look modern.

Its fully transparent, one piece polycarbonate roof is 0.3-inches thick and weighs 57 lbs. If you want to remove it, well, I'm sure Prince Albert II just gets his helpers to lift it off.

The otherwise stock LS 600h L body shell was reinforced for rigidity, and the vehicle itself was chosen so that the newlyweds could glide through town on electric power alone.

Oddly enough, I actually borrowed an LS 600h L for a wedding. My friends Shane and Rae-Lynn seemed to enjoy the big, brown Lexus and, yes, the electric-only mode was a neat party trick.

Rest assured, my friends, there have been other, more questionable landaulets. But that's a story for another day.

Sources / Recommended reading