Prior to the late 80's, Mercedes were known for its "bullet proof" build quality. Of course, they were no such thing. A well-placed slug would stop a Mercedes just as quickly as a Ford Pinto (although the Pinto might cease its forward motion in a far more spectacular fashion). Actual bullet-proof cars began appearing in the US about the same time Al Capone figured it best not to stain his Cadillac 16's upholstery with the contents of his skull. Initially, bullet-proof cars were fairly basic: a normal car with thick metal plates welded onto the chassis. As bad as this was aesthetically, it was worse for handling– which presented a whole 'nother set of lethal possibilities. Eventually, metalworkers fashioned more elegant solutions; you can now buy an up-armored luxobarge or SUV that looks like a normal luxobarge or SUV. Saying that, human nature being what it is, plenty of buyers still make the mistake of assuming that the ability to withstand ballistic or explosive attack is more important than day-to-day safety, or the ability to escape and evade. Modern automakers would do well to learn this lesson: people want what they want, not what they need– even when it's a matter of life or death. And what I need is a couple of days to rest and recharge. See you on the other side.
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