(first posted 9/26/2012) When I first encountered the Battle Cruiser in a lot in Eugene containing some other odd cars, I thought it might have been a prop for a dystopian sci-fi movie. But thanks to commenter zykotec, we now know the truth, and it’s stranger than science fiction.
The story was written up in the Prescott AZ Daily Courier: In 2001, Bobby Lichter, a young man from Lake Havasu City, AZ, wanted to study music at the Musicians Institute in downtown Hollywood. When the parents saw the neighborhood, they were worried for his safety. According to his Dad, Bob Lichter: “It’s a rough area; street violence, gang wars, random shootings; not good”. Bob was not going to let Bobby attend, without certain precautions; like a bullet-proof armored vehicle.
The price for an armored vehicle being out of reach of the family budget, Bob, the owner of German Wrought Iron, decided to build one himself. He bought a 1979 Cadillac for $500, cut off the body, and fabricated a new bullet-proof body from scratch. The exterior is made of quarter-inch steel plate, and the windows are one-inch thick plexiglass. And there are deadbolts embedded in the doors “nobody is going to break into this thing”, according to Bob.
But a few problems arose: the Battle Cruiser now weighed some 6000 lbs, and a new front suspension had to be installed, and dual coils in the back. According to Bob: “It’s not very fast, you can get it up to 80 or 90, but in town, it’s pretty sluggish”.
So what was Bobby’s reaction to his new going-to school car? “He thought it was pretty cool” And it seems he survived.