A reader wandering around a parking garage in China sent us some pictures of an exciting automotive unicorn: A new DARTZ truck, fully bonkers as is required of any fine DARTZ product, but this one has yet to be officially announced or shown. Even better, the pre-release truck is wearing a kicky yellow banner that has a stern and grimly comical message to, I expect, any number of other car-builders in China.
The beast is a DARTZ Prombon Black Alligator MMXX, the redesigned version of the Black Alligator that was released in 2017, which DARTZ gleefully told us would be the SUV that would “fuck Rolls-Royce big car before it will be born,” which is a pretty solid tagline for a car.
The new version has a lot of new bodywork and, I’m told, an area on the roof designed for a drone landing pad, though beyond that, details are scarce.
We can see that the front end sports DARTZ’ new badge/mascot, a thin, low-polygon fellow in a vintage aviator’s getup called the Spirit of Bomber (another Rolls dig, poking fun at their Spirit, which is of ecstasy):
The “1869" is the date Russo-Baltique was founded, the oldest automaker in Russia, to which DARTZ’ boss Leonard Yankelovich has familial ties. The company later made aircraft, including a helicopter from which the Black Alligator takes its name.
The camo pattern on the car is known as DARTZ Macabre Kamo, likely due to all the skulls in it, and, unlike most pre-production car camouflage, I think customers can just order their cars wrapped like this.
Speaking of wrappings, it’s worth translating the banner on the car, because it’s very telling of the realities of selling a low-volume custom car like this in China. Here’s what it says:
“It took us 5 years to create this car. Please don’t copy it in 5 days.”
I asked Yankelovich about this and, while he wouldn’t give up any real details about the car itself, he did explain that the banner — placed on the car not by him, but by someone in China — was a response to the many, many small custom shops in China that have been cranking out knockoff DARTZ-style cars.
He also sent me some sample pics of knockoffs, of varying quality:
The tipster who sent us these pictures also included this inside shot showing some interesting Chinese license plates:
The number eight is very lucky in China, as it sounds like the Mandarin word for “wealth” and in Cantonese it’s pronounced to sound like “fortune.” As a result, plates with multiple eights are very prized, and often sell for crazy amounts of money, even if it means getting stopped by incredulous cops all the time.
It looks like whoever got this DARTZ scored a set of them, somehow.
Also: what’s that scribbled-out car in the back, there? Hmmm.
Anyway, always good to see DARTZ out in the world, mixing it up and spreading a bit of good-natured chaos. I’m sure we’ll hear more about this thing soon.
UPDATE: Many of you are noting it looks like a render. I can see that, too. Leonard tells me the car exists and is in China, but stopped before absolutely stating it’s not a render. All I can say is these were treated as real by Leonard when I showed him. But I get the skepticism.