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Caruna Mercedes 380 SL Convertible

To mark the hundredth anniversary of Dutch Queen Juliana’s birth on 30 April 2009, the Royal Dutch Palace "Het Loo" is organising a major exhibition devoted to the queen’s absorbing and eventful life. The star of the show - a three pointed one - is the Mercedes-Benz 380 SEL four door Convertible by Caruna. This blue blooded painted open top limousine of 1985 vintage has recently been restored and is ready to return to Her Majesty's service.

 

In 1984, former Queen Juliana longed for a luxurious four door convertible for her personal transportation and it had to be a Mercedes-Benz, just like mom's. Juliana's mother, Queen Wilhelmina, also chose a Mercedes-Benz after she retired. She was driven around in a 300 Cabriolet D, which was fitted with a tow bar to bring a trailer with her painter's kit to every nice scenery along the route. In her new Mercedes Juliana mainly enjoyed the scenery around their holiday villa in Porto Ercole, Italy.

Caruna Mercedes 380 SEL Convertible
Of course 'Das Haus' did not have the requested model in their sales brochure, so Stuttgart out-sourced the job to convert a Mercedes-Benz 380 SEL (W126) into a convertible to the coachbuilding firm Caruna in Switzerland. It took Caruna exactly ten months to build the car. The result was quite impressive. Both with the electrically operated top open and closed the Mercedes looks very elegant, which is also due to the fully disappearing side windows. The softtop opens and closes in only 25 seconds, which is quite quick for that time.
Caruna Mercedes 380 SEL Convertible

The interior is very luxurious and comfortable and is crafted with a great eye for detail. The Caruna 380 SEL's seats, dash and inner door panels are upholstered with light grey leather and fabric. Why not just pure white? Well, white is fit for the Middle East and the USA and grey is more suitable for the Dutch. Light grey instead of the usual brown or black is fancy enough. The passengers in the rear both have foot rests and make-up-mirrors. For a more luxurious look and feel the dashboard, center console and door panels are finished with a - typical eighties - striped Zebrano wood trim.

Caruna Mercedes 380 SEL Convertible

Safety and driving comfort were optimized to Royal standards as well with royal-butt-worthy hydropneumatic suspension, airconditioning, ABS and an airbag. Typical for all the Mercedes models in the Royal Dutch car collection was the color 'Surfblue' (not smurfblue) and another nice Royal feature are the two flag staffs topped with a silver crown. These were bolted onto the front wings for each official trip.

Caruna Mercedes 380 SEL Convertible

Very recently the Caruna 380 SEL Convertible has been restored to pristine condition on commission by the Royal Stables Department. The Mercedes is ready to serve the current Queen Beatrix on special occasions. Eventually the car will find its place in the collection of unique chariots and cars in the stables of Palace "Het Loo" in Apeldoorn. The unique Mercedes is on exhibition until August 30, 2009.

 
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