Let’s take another look at one of the so many grand automotive ideas that never took off, of which there were plenty in the 70s and 80s. In this case, it’s the La Grande Royale, and uber-luxury sedan designed (presumably) to evoke the grand sedans of the 30’s like the Bugatti Royale.
This is the design sketch. It’s not too hard to tell that it’s based on a Lincoln Town car, but the front end is clearly “enhanced”, along with the raised roof and lengthened wheelbase and body. The intention was to build 25 La Grand Royales for the price of $78,000 ($315k adjusted). Not surprisingly, only one was built , and t wasn’t quite as grand as the drawing might have suggested.
As this sketch in this ad shows, the front end is now just the stock Lincoln.
Here it is, the final product. It’s looking more like what it is: a lengthened Lincoln with a raised roof. $315k in adjusted dollars? Why not? It’s going to sell out quickly.
Look at those Barcaloungers back there. Those alone make it well worth the price.
…or how to design a car using just a ruler and a pencil…
I bet they tried square wheels too, but considered that too impractical.
Overall an ugly barge, like most US cars from the malaise era.
This one looks like it’s retracting itself in its rear end from shame.
You know this particular thing amuses me because me and a friend got pretty far into the paper stuff (both engineering and design) for a 3rd generation Panther Town Car of this sort of thing. It was going to be a L model with a bit more chrome as an option, a full air suspension, the 6.8 Triton V10, and fully leather and real wood trimmed interior with sorta Maybach-spec twin rear seats. The idea was to provide a made-in-(north)America car that was a little or fully incognito for the owner (I mean Town Car Ls are not exactly prestigious on their own) but provided more of the power and much of the interior luxury of something that would be a bit more expensive (we were targeting $90k vs $130k+ for a S600 or it’s ilk) and less exclusive- and obviously imported.
It was about 2009, and we canned it because the Panther was clearly reaching its end, accubilt wasn’t going to continue production of it (something that had been circulating at the time), the angel i had lined up wasn’t sure about the idea because of that, and in truth it wasn’t a great idea. That being said, it was ingenious compared to this one.
I get stuck on the “full bar service” phrase. What does that mean, beyond a cabinet to hold bottles and a rack for glasses? Beyond that – presumably what brings one to “full service” — would be a keg system, a wunder-bar soda gun, a sink, oh, and perhaps a bartender? It always amuses me when ads just throw in extra words for effect.
Jeff, I had those exact same questions!
No shortage of cheese (-yness) with this Royale!
According some other promotional material, the La Grande Royale’s bar had “electronic push-button spigots” for preparing mixed drinks.
I guess the bartender was optional equipment?
A bartender or coke chopper might have sold more if it was standard equipment
Looks like the Pope mobile got Pimped. Just proves that $78k doesnt buy taste.
It has all the grace and elegance of a Checker Med-I-Car. At least those had a functional reason for their ungainly appearance. This monstrosity should have been a big hit in the Mideast, armored, pearl white with gold trim…
No different than buying a ProMaster van and spending 25K to turn it into a motorhome. To each their own…
It’s not tall enough to legally require them, but the section of the roof above the driver really should have truck clearance lights just to complete the look.
That requirement isn’t triggered by height, but by width. Clearance (left + right) and identification (central group of three) lights are required on vehicles over 2,032 mm wide—the 32 mm is because the requirement originally read “80 inches”.
However, if there were a requirement for special warning lights on extra-ugly vehicles…!
When Ferrari introduced Testarossa in 1984, lot of media was reporting the weird placement of external rear view mirror high on the A-pillar and that the passenger side had none.
With the width of 77.8 inches, Testarossa is one of the widest passenger cars ever built. Ferrari reportedly stated that if Testarossa had mirrors on both sides, it would exceed 80″ width and require clearance and identification lamps on the roof.
Eventually, Ferrari fitted two smaller mirrors lower on the A-pillars for 1987 model year without the mandatory lamps on the roof.
A little nit picking here, width of the vehicle determines when the additional lights are required. Over 80″ width. Its one of those regs that are a little questionable.
What do you find questionable about it?
Sorry, no nit picking on your post Daniel, it was a reply to nipnt’s post. We must have been typing at the same time, your post wasn’t there at the time. Kind of weird because time stamp is 22 minutes before mine.
Trucks are 2.5 metres wide just over 80 old fashioned inches since freight is moved internationally in shipping containers that rule is worldwide and trucks are an international thing to do just that, haul shipping containers
Nope. The US/Canada lighting regulations are quite different to those used throughout the rest of the world, number one. Number two, containers don’t have lights on them—the lights are on the trucks that haul the containers, and those trucks comply with whatever regs are in force in the country where they’re operating. Clearance and identification lamps on trucks over 2.032 m wide (80 inches) in the US and Canada; end-outline marker lamps on trucks over 2 m wide (78.74 inches) elsewhere.
From what I can tell, the car customizer, SILCCO, was based in Miami (weren’t they all?) and got its start making custom convertibles, particularly from Mustangs.
The one La Grande Royale ended up being shipped to a Lincoln-Mercury dealership in Oklahoma City – the dealer displayed it in his showroom, but had a contract stating that if he couldn’t sell it within six months, that SILCCO would take the limo back. At the time, SILCCO said that they wouldn’t make any others until the first one sold. Presumably, that didn’t happen… I assume the car went back to its maker, and SILLCO didn’t remain in business for much longer.
This might be it?
Wow! I’m amazed it’s still in existence. Where was that picture taken? To me, it looks like New Mexico.
Eric703 – I think you are right about the location. That looks to be Albuquerque NM. Sandia mountiains in the background.
Its just the kind of monstrosity that usually survives…
“Wannabe” is right!
Seriously, had this been parked outside Studio 54 or been used to haul their celebrities it would have sold. Really.
I wonder what happened to the “only one” ever built?
I know the dealer wouldn’t have taken the first without the sale caveat.
Oklahoma City (??!!!) has its millionaires but obviously none were foolish foolish (or drunk enough) to part with their money for THAT thing.
Did the passenger section also serve as an ejection module in case of an emergency?
This is yet another example of “sounded like a good idea at the time” creation…using other people’s money..
(This is a non-political statement). This car would have been great for hauling “The Apprentice” losers into obscurity. LOL
Yeah, if the time in question is a few hours into intensive hands-on R&D work on those electronic pushbutton spigots for mixed drinks.
Too bad this car didn’t make it into the movie “Caddyshack!” Rodney Dangerfield’s character would’ve been right at home in it. 😉
I’m surprised it has leather seats and not velour.
“Beautiful selected leather”?
Somebody was aiming for a level of sophistication that was…uh…beyond their reach.
Sort of like what this “car” is doing.
“Builder of ‘the world’s most beautiful cars'”
It is a shame they didn’t feature one of them in the ad.
Note that they put that description in quotes. When the marketing guy was dictating it to the ad agency, he probably used air quotes. Given that they also state that there’s never been a car to equal it (very true), and the fact they only built it one, perhaps their sense of irony was quite intact and they knew exactly what they were doing. Unlike Bricklin who built cars then looked for customers.
Just because they could, didn’t mean they should. Wowwww.
HHMMMMMMM? Those sketches look amazingly like the technique of Harry Bradley. He could have cranked them out while doing “spy” sketches of next years’ cars for Motor Trend.
He is well known as Hot Wheel’s original (?) designer; leaving Detroit to return to his native California. He was one of my instructors at the original ACCD campus out on 3rd Street in L.A. I definitely enjoyed his sense of humor which many times was worked into his sketches! 🙂 🙂 DFO
Is the giant air scoop over the B pillar put to any functional use?
Is it sold yet? just wondering as its so incredibly ugly they may still have it somewhere
The air purification system could be a good idea, it was Cosmo Kramer who said “Celebrities back in the 70s were not as hygienic as the ones today,”
Selected leather is always better than just normal everyday leather.
Raymond Lowey tried the raised roof on a much smaller scale, with a 1964 Corvair. I had no idea it was still around until I stumbled upon it at the AACA Museum in Hershey yesterday.
The National Museum of Transportation in St Louis has an unrestored Corvair with the raised roof.
Not being into Corvairs my first thought was WTF?
My second and subsequent thoughts have been WTF?
Unfortunately my photos are way to large to post.
A raised-roof Corvair…? I’d love to see that. Would you like help re-sizing some photos so they can be posted here? They should be no more than 1200 pixels in their longest dimension (height or width).
A modern interpretation of Cinderella’s pumpkin coach without the worry of fruit flies.
Another picture for you guys in its natural habitat
2nd attempt at pic
Awesome! That’s it. It still exists.
If Homer Simpson designed a second ‘Simpmobile, this would be it.
The cheese factor immeasurably increased by spelling epitome as epitomy.
Just, _wow_ .
On the other hand, I am well pleased to see not only does it survive but apparently runs and is driven .
Of late I’ve seen quite a few articles mentioning how some A List movie stars are not in fact bathing regularly…..
Even on the farm with hand pumped water and little heat in January we took regular baths…
Anyone else getting 1981 Imperial vibes on the front end of the original concept drawing. Just tack a Lincoln grille on the Imperial.
That was about the first-and-a-half thought that occurred to me; the first was the 1977 turbine-powered LeBaron: