Let's get one thing out of the way right up front: This thing is awful.
What you're seeing here is , a $300,000 bespoke luxury sedan-thing. It's built by Italian custom shop Aznom Automotive, based on a Ram 1500 pickup, and seemingly laser-aimed at people whose money-to-taste ratio is basically "divide by zero." It came to my attention by way of Jason Torchinsky over at Jalopnik, who unspooled .
Here's the thing though: I totally understand what they were going for.
Think of a time before pickup trucks became ubiquitous. What was the typical car like? In America, up until the mid-1970s at least, it was a body-on-frame, front-engine, rear-drive machine, likely with a V8. The kind of vehicle that could tow a small boat or camper. You could tie a canoe to the roof and bounce down a rutted dirt road to the fishing hole, no problem.
That's how people used cars, back when cars—that is, sedans and station wagons—were the typical vehicle you saw on the street. They felt tough enough, substantial enough, and powerful enough to handle a huge bandwidth of uses.
But somewhere along the way, something changed. Cars got smaller, lighter, more delicate-feeling. That perception may not be backed up by fact—cars today are engineered to perform under conditions that would kill and older model dead; reliability and durability are at an all-time high, while the maintenance demands of the average vehicle have never been lower. And yet, we've lost some of that solid, soft-sprung, sure-it-can-take-it feeling of those old body-on-frame beasts.
This, I think, is why the pickup truck has become the de facto family vehicle in America.
Think of it: Who wouldn't want a vehicle with ample V8 power, the cushy ride of a long wheelbase and plenty of suspension travel, and bluff, slab-sided looks? A vehicle where you don't have to bend down to get into it, or take your Stetson off. Something with plenty of headroom, leg room, elbow room, pile-in-four-of-your-pals-and-head-for-the-camp room.
There's also a physics side to it. Most sedans and wagons today drive so well, you barely feel like you're driving at all. They're un-engaging. A pickup truck has just enough weight, just enough body roll, just enough altitude to make you really feel like you're driving. You get g-forces in a pickup truck driving the posted speed limit. You feel alive, like you're actually involved in navigating this ship down the road.
Basically, our cars have become both too specialized (toward mundane commuting) and too good at that one task. So now, if we're looking for that feeling of do-anything capability, we turn to trucks.
But trucks have drawbacks too. Maybe you don't want your cargo out there in the elements. Maybe you don't love the image of the pickup truck. Maybe, even though today's trucks are more luxurious than they've ever been, you want something that's even more special.
So we end up with machines like the Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury Concept, or the Rolls-Royce Cullinen. Or, barring that, a Ram 1500 with a little hunk of sedan roof grafted on the back. I'm not saying it's the ideal solution, nor am I defending its aesthetics. I'm not even saying it makes sense.
I just understand where it's coming from.