Drivers who were impressed with the Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury concept and disappointed by the brand’s decision not to build it now have a consolation prize. Created by an Italian coachbuilder named Aznom, the Palladium is a sedan-style four-seater limousine built on a platform borrowed from the Ram 1500 pickup.
The Palladium is at the crossroads of sedans and SUVs, both in design and construction, and is marketed as a hyper limousine. Surprisingly, the company’s founder, Marcello Meregalli, explained that he began looking into the construction of a truck-based sedan after seeing the Cadillac-badge presidential limousine unveiled in 2008. “That particular Cadillac gave the final push” to the idea, he recalled in a statement.
Beauty is very much in the eyes of the beholder, so all we’ll say about the Palladium’s sheet metal is that it’s not subtle. The front is dominated by a grille with vertical LED inserts, chunky chrome trim and headlights that look 1500-ish when you squint. Viewed from the side, it’s clear there were few stylists who could do to mask the 1500’s extra long wheelbase, and the four doors are straight off the truck. And the whole back rolls out like a giant drawer to allow customers access to the trunk. It’s a feature that is strange and innovative at the same time.
The basset-esque proportions probably make the Palladium a parallel park nightmare, especially in its home country of Italy, but they also allowed stylists to create an unusually spacious interior designed primarily for rear seat comfort. Rear seat passengers travel on a bench that Aznom describes as a throne, taking advantage of all the conveniences such as a separate air conditioning system, Harman-Kardon sound system, two Microsoft tables and an onboard refrigerator. Of course there is room to store crystal glasses; how can that not be?
The power for the Palladium comes from a twin-turbo version of Ram’s 5.7-liter Hemi V8 engine. It’s tuned to develop 710 horsepower and 701 pound-feet of torque, and it’s bolted to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Aznom cites a 4.5-second sprint from zero to 100 mph, which is on par with the time of the Hellcat-powered 1500 TRX and impressive for a beast that tilts the scale at 5,842 pounds. Part-time four-wheel drive is standard.
Ten cars will be created, and each one will be unique as customers will be invited to participate in the design process. Aznom pointed out that it expects interest from buyers in Europe, the United States, the Middle East, Russia and China. It doesn’t sound like all the available build slots have already been discussed and no pricing information has been disclosed.
While the idea of converting a pickup truck into a limo with a head scratching design is unusual, the Palladium isn’t the first of its kind. In the 1960s, Wisconsin-based Mohs Seaplane Corporation built the Ostentatienne Opera Sedan (pictured above) on a frame borrowed from an International-Harvester truck. It was planned to make at least a handful of examples of the model, which had a single hinged door that gave passengers access to the cabin through the rear, but production reportedly ceased after a single copy was built.