by Michael Mullaley
What do Greenpeace, Pamela Anderson, and million-dollar Russian SUVs have in common? Whale penises. Recently, Dartz, the Russian manufacturer of the $1.5 million Prombron Monaco Red Diamond Edition SUV, withdrew its plans to line the model’s interior using whale-penis leather after being criticized by environmental and animal-advocacy groups.
Still, the car will be produced, and "gaudy" doesn't even begin to describe this four-ton, bulletproof, Kevlar-coated monstrosity with gold-plated windows, pure tungsten exhaust pipes, and diamond-encrusted speed gauges. To top it off, buyers get three bottles of Russo-Baltique, a vodka that retailed at $1.3 million last year.
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In a press release, Dartz said that angry emails from Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Fund, and Pamela Anderson helped the company rethink its whale-penis-leather interior, which is known for softness. Some suspect that the whole whale-penis thing was a publicity stunt; the press statement was titled “Armored Car Without Penis. Let’s Save the Whales” and was signed by someone who fails to give his position with the company.
Whatever the case may be, Russia can do without the publicity of supporting whale killing (and, on the same note, Japan can do without its dolphin-poaching savagery). Dartz, which produced armored vehicles for Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky, and Czar Nicholas, might have come out with a "revolutionary" vehicle, but its purpose, environmental impact, and price flushes it down an ethical hole.