The Western world is facing an increase in organized violence and the prospects for the future are not rosy. The work of police officers is becoming increasingly risky, and armored cars are also appearing in the regular patrol service. The British have already deployed 450 Superbs in a special design, which we could try out for a short time. In fact, it has another cabin in the cabin – stronger and resistant to explosion and shooting.
Only a few companies in the world focus on security modifications of this kind. The reinforced construction is expensive to tailor for each type of car, so the customer does not have much choice. Special protection has traditionally been provided to senior politicians or diplomats, for whom luxury brand limousines have been modified.
Today, due to the security situation, the demand for civilian, inconspicuous vehicles is growing. The British police first had the Opel Insignia armored, but after the arrival of the more spacious Škoda Superb of the current generation, the choice fell on it. Since 2017, the “beavers” have taken away four hundred and fifty.
The reconstruction is carried out by the British company UTAC Special Vehicles. All the interior equipment is first dismantled and a stronger structure made of special alloys is built into the body frame from the inside. It covers the columns, the floor and the ceiling and ends with a partition behind the backrests. Then the dashboard and seats return and the car is surrounded by an armored door with bulletproof glass.
Last week, one such Superb appeared in Prague so that representatives of the Czech security forces could try it out. The Dajbych company took care of that, which, in addition to standard vehicles of common brands, also offers various special modifications and accessories. The Czech police recently handed over a field Land Rovery Defender.
A lively encounter with the car confirms that it is really inconspicuous. A closer look reveals strange reflections on the windows, which are strictly chemically not even made of glass. Behind them, there are also thicker columns of additional construction. Only a complete connoisseur would then notice the larger brakes. These are there because the armor is eight hundred kilos heavier.
“When a convoy of vehicles passes you, you have no chance to know any of it,” explains manager Václav Buchbauer. And he adds that the heavy weight must be offset by the suspension, so that the car does not attract attention by noticeable tilting in corners or retarders.
Due to the civilian appearance, any contact with the armor is very unusual. When we take the handle with normal force, it doesn’t even move with the door. They are as heavy as a gate from a safe and we also have to go inside with smaller “furs”. The columns of the additional skeleton are much thicker.
We also sit a little higher behind the dashboard, which is due to the reinforced floor. The same goes for the ceiling, so the remaining area of the windshield is significantly smaller. We certainly wouldn’t say a tank-like view, but the perspective is more like a Porsche than a Superb. The added weight is felt in terms of acceleration and driving characteristics, but even so, the car behaves legibly and predictably.
The safety of the bulletproof cover is reassuring, as is the fact that today’s technology, in such an inconspicuous package, protects men of the law from small arms fire or the explosion of several kilograms of TNT. However, the importer does not, for obvious reasons, communicate the details of the ballistic protection level to the media.
The adjustment costs around two million crowns and the implementation takes four months. The big advantage is that everything takes place with the approval of Škoda Auto, whose British importer participated in the cooperation with UTAC Special Vehicles. The technical support is thus equal to the level provided by German luxury brands for armored specials.