Bulletproofing Your Vehicle
Bulletproofing y car windows alone would not cut it. Armored vehicles are a way to protect yourself. Every year, attacks occur on highly placed individuals or those who are in public view. Kidnapping or terrorist attacks often happen when the target is traveling on the road. A kidnap victim is saved by paying a ransom of about $500,000 to $3,000,000 USD in the US. In the case of a vehicle protected with bulletproof glasses and the likes, the chances of preventing or stopping an attack are high.
In Brazil too, the need for an armored vehicle is high. Crime rates there are five times higher than that in the US of A. From 1993, and afterwards several carmakers like BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Ford have fitted vehicles with defenses such as smokescreen and electric shocking, although the cars are modified post-production by companies such as International Armoring Corporation (IAC) of Ogden, Utah. The more the number of defenses the owner chooses to have, the higher the cost. Usually, it starts off from $50,000 and above. The objective is not to bounce off bullets but to actually absorb them.
How Is It Done?
The car is taken apart, the seats, wiring, carpets, etc. and then the doors and all other cavities are cut open. Those voids are filled with various materials and welded into. For enhanced protection, the doors and pillars may be bolstered with steel plates, a combination of ballistic nylon and Kevlar or both.
With so much inside, the doors may get heavy in which case a third bolt is added.
Though the firewall and rear bulkhead are steel-plated, the floor and ceiling are usually lined with ballistic fabrics. One of the goals of armoring is also to keep the car looking same as before, inside and outside.
Suspension and Engine
All the armoring adds weight to the car making it necessary to modify the chassis and occasionally the drivetrain. The car cannot be made to run slower at the cost of being armored. Most modern engines in large sedans are powerful enough to handle the extra weight, so engine modifications aren’t regularly done unless specifically requested by the customer.
Besides the bullet proof glasses and layers of armor plates, one may ask for automatic fire extinguishers, run-flat tires and remote starting of the car, an explosion resistant fuel tank and siren or alarm an intercom inside and outside the car and a PA system so that the passenger can communicate with the bodyguards outside. As an extra benefit, the armored vehicle gives protection from intrusion during an accident.
The military too uses armored vehicles, but those are built with the armor plates outside. Usually, public servants are given the privilege to use armored vehicles while private vehicles may be armored by the concerned individuals.
These cars require slightly different handling, and their drivers undergo specialized training. The most heavily armored vehicle may require about $100,000 to make it so.