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Carlsson CS50 Versailles is a gold-plated Mercedes S-Class fit for a Chinese tycoon

Versailles is one of the most extravagant displays of wealth ever created, the poster child for a decadent aristocracy. So what kind of ego would it take to build a car inspired by this French palace? And what kind of car would result?

The CS50 Versailles is the latest product of German tuner Carlsson, and it aims for just that level of opulence. Based on the redesigned 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class, it’s one of many wacky tuner cars that crowded the floor at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show.

When it comes to luxury cars, the S-Class is already considered the standard of the world (sorry, Cadillac). So how do you make it even more luxurious?

Simple: Cover it with gold.

The body is trimmed in over 1,000 sheets of gold leaf, which are applied to the surface with squirrel-hair brushes, then sealed with a special clear-coating process. Carlsson says the entire operation takes over 200 man hours to complete.

On the inside, an additional 100 man hours are spent infusing 278 interior trim pieces – including the air vents, speaker grilles, and various buttons – with gold.

The result is a car that wins the award for “Blingiest”, but also “Most Likely to Be Stolen”. Carlsson estimates the value of the gold in the interior alone at around 12,000 euros ($16,643).

Thieves might also be interested in the many gadgets Carlsson will install, depending on customer preference. Options include HD monitors, a business package with Wi-Fi hotspot, and a humidor.

There don’t appear to be any mechanical changes, but the CS50 does get a bespoke set of 20-inch alloy wheels, restyled front and rear fascias, a rear spoiler, and custom exhaust tips.

Lousi XVI’s head was separated from his body long ago, but Carlsson envisions a different kind of royalty buying the CS50 Versailles. It expects members of China’s ultra-wealthy “Taipan” class to account for the bulk of sales.

In fact, Carlsson says 10 of the 25 cars it plans to build have already been sold. Apparently, there is such a thing as having too much money.

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Stephen Edelstein
Stephen is a freelance automotive journalist covering all things cars. He likes anything with four wheels, from classic cars…
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