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Hummers roll on HCM City streets

Update: April, 27/2008 - 00:00

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(28-04-2008)

Hummers roll on HCM City streets

by Lauralynn & Tom Goetz
goetz@LNTgoetz.com

If you thought that you were hallucinating as a huge Black "Hummer" limousine drove by – you were not. It is one of a fleet of new "Super Limos" imported by a chauffer-driven car rental company.

We didn’t really quite grasp the significance of a Hummer limo, as the original "Humvee" is a military vehicle favoured by the United States and the United Nations.

The two terms overlap somewhat, but generally, "Hummer" refers to the civilian models and "Humvee" refers to the military ones.

"Humvee" comes from "HMMWV," a military term for High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle.

The civilian models are basically the same as the military ones (they go down the same assembly line until reaching the finishing stages) with the addition of nice interiors and other "creature comforts."

The Black Hummer limo is not to be confused with the "normal" Black Hummer that cruises the streets of HCM City. That vehicle and the other (Yellow) Hummer aren’t for rent.

But the super-elegant Black Bentley limousine is for rent!

Also part of the same stable of luxury limousines that offers the Hummer, it has all the luxuries inside that a VIP party could desire!

The above observed luxury cars are being joined by another one of the world’s most prestigious automobiles – a Maybach 62 long wheelbase automobile from Germany. Mercedes Benz attempted to buy the Rolls-Royce/Bentley brand when Vickers offered the company up for sale.

When this attempt failed, (they were outbid by Volkswagen and BMW later exercised an option to acquire the Rolls-Royce car brand), they introduced the Maybach as a direct challenger in 2002.

There are two models, both variants of the same ultra-luxurious automobile.

The model numbers reflect the respective lengths of the automobiles in decimeters; the 57 is more likely to be owner-driven while the longer 62 is designed with a chauffeur in mind.

The engine is a Mercedes-sourced 5.5-litre twin-turbo V12, generating 550 hp – not bad for a fast trip to District 7!

We were curious to learn about the details of such a unique automobile and discovered the following: the May-bach 62 includes many luxury features, such as fully-reclining rear seats, four zone climate control, tinted infrared-reflecting laminated glass all round, dual control air suspension, display instruments in the rear roof liner (showing speed, time and outside temperature), folding rear tables (left and right), BOSE Surround Everywhere sound system and a refrigerator compartment.

The May-bach 62 also includes an array of additional features such as cockpit management and DVD navigation, CD changer in rear seats, DVD players and TV tuners front and rear, two rear LCD TV screens including remote control and two sets of headphones and automatic closing doors (whew!)

And if that isn’t enough, optional extras are available. These include a panoramic glass sun roof at a cost of US$11,670 and an external communication system, which includes a loudspeaker and microphone system that allows the occupant in the rear of the Maybach to talk and listen to the people outside the car. This option comes at a cost of $1,780.

A further option for the Maybach is a retractable partition screen between the driver and the rear occupants at $23,780.

The most expensive option for the Maybach is a high protection GUARD B4 Package which costs $151,810 (read "bulletproof").

The Maybach 62 cost its HCMC owner $500,000 plus 60 per cent import tax plus 50 per cent luxury tax plus 10 per cent VAT; totalling $1.2 million - and still without the bullet-proofing!

But a favourite "prestige" automobile of ours is the four cylinder or 15CV (six cylinder) French-built Citroen with the elongated "bonnet"; some with a big body, therefore so-called "Berline Normales".

We’ve even seen a 1938 or 1939 Citroen 11 B "Familiale" (or Limousine) in HCM City! — VNS

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