Since its invention, the conversion van has been a vehicle of the 99%, helping the middle class conceive to the sounds of Whitesnake, providing shelter to smoke that Thanksgiving joint with uncle Lonny, and getting the kids to Water Country USA right when the gates open. Not content to let us have the one vehicle that maintains our dignity, Mercedes-Benz has been marketing their 9-foot tall, 22-foot long Sprinter conversion/cargo van to New York's upper crust. If you think their Chevy Astro-aerodynamics are ugly, it's because you're too poor to understand.
"I have two big-screen televisions; I have a couch in the back that goes into a bed,” one investment banker who owns a souped-up Sprinter tells the Times. “I have four chairs that go back and massage you. It has a desk, a table and an intercom so you can have meetings in there if you want to.” And if there's one thing that seals any business deal, it's working from the back of a van in standstill Manhattan traffic.
Another Sprinter enthusiast refused to be named, but his chauffeur opened the door to the $425K van and allowed a mortal's orbs to peek: "the seats were upholstered with heavily scented leather and a stocked bar had individual lighting for each wine glass and Champagne flute." Only the heaviest scents will do, because when you're dead inside, you need to be cloaked in something that was once alive.
Need some time alone, away from those who will be bitterly fighting over your estate in 40 years? The Sprinter is perfect for kids, as one Upper East Side mom beams that they can "just bop into a souped-up bulletproof living room on wheels." The tinted windows are perfect for keeping little Maximillion's skin properly pallid. Plus they don't have to breathe "common air," and they're perfect for play dates with hemophiliacs.
"Using your vehicle as a luxury lounge is just usurping public space for your own private use," Transportation Alternatives spokesman Michael Murphy says. While that may be true, Murphy has probably never enjoyed a privately commissioned snuff film and an 18-year-old scotch whilst barreling down the West Side Highway.