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Bask in decadence with the Dartz Black Alligator, a luxury SUV for oligarchs

The Dartz Black Alligator will spawn an even bigger, more decadent SUV

Dartz, the Latvian company that builds cars for the world’s most extravagant motorists, has announced a new model humbly christened Black Alligator. The Dartz Black Alligator was introduced during this year’s edition of the Gumball 3000, a rally-style event where money and eccentricity get flaunted equally. It also confirmed to Digital Trends that an even more extreme model named Black Shark is in the works.

The Black Alligator — a name borrowed from a helicopter used by the Russian army — is based on the Mercedes-AMG GLS63, though all styling cues with the potential to reveal the donor vehicle’s identity have been masked. The brawny lines of the GLS have morphed into a boxy, Tonka truck-like design characterized by a rectangular grille with horizontal slats, headlights that look like they’re sourced from a Jeep Grand Cherokee, and an angular front bumper. The available liveries include gold-plated, blacked-out, and, for a “dude, where’s my truck?” experience, camouflaged. The cladding over the rear windows features concealed storage compartments.

The company explains that building a Black Alligator is like blending a GLS with a Mercedes-Maybach S600. The body is crafted out of a combination of Kevlar and carbon fiber in order to keep weight in check, according to Motor Authority. However, Dartz knows that buyers with particularly determined enemies (and deep pockets) care more about their own safety than about their car’s weight, so it offers a fully armored version of the Black Alligator with a body made out of Kevlar-coated titanium. That way, you and your comrades can drive straight through a war zone while enjoying vodka and the finest Russian caviar.

Dartz has retained the GLS63’s twin-turbocharged, 5.5-liter V8, but the engine has been modified to provide anywhere between 700 and 1,600 horsepower; the buyer decides the final figure. Obtaining those jaw-dropping levels of power required fitting bigger turbos, strengthening key internal components such as the connecting rods, and fitting a reinforced seven-speed automatic transmission. Performance specifications haven’t been published yet. For what it’s worth, the standard, 585-horsepower GLS63 hits 62 mph from a stop in a respectable 4.6 seconds.

Customers are encouraged to closely follow the production process and provide input as they please in order to create a one-of-a-kind model. Anything is possible as long as buyers have enough money, according to Dartz. In other words, it’s entirely possible to order a Black Alligator with black alligator skin-upholstered seats. You can probably get a matching cage to carry a real black alligator on the roof, if that’s more your thing.

The Dartz Black Alligator is available to order now. While pricing information is confidential, the company’s owner gave Digital Trends a hint as how much the off-roader costs.

“We don’t mention exact price but we have two versions: 5Z and 6Z. That means five zeros after the first digit, or six,” he explained.

And that’s not all. The next step for the company is turning the Black Alligator into a Black Shark. The conversion includes making the truck nearly 24 inches longer, and adding suicide doors, as well as what the company refers to as a “ton of useless stuff.” Pictures haven’t been published yet, but the Dartz Black Shark promises to make even the most extreme tuner cars look tame.

Updated 8/8/2017 by Ronan Glon: Added information about the Black Alligator’s features and about the Black Shark, as well as new pictures.

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Ronan Glon
Ronan Glon is an American automotive and tech journalist based in southern France. As a long-time contributor to Digital…
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