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It’s definitely unique, this one, a Lexus LS 600h L with only half a roof. It’s called the Landaulet, and the one-off vehicle – reworked with a one-piece transparent polycarbonate roof fitment – is set to serve as Prince Albert II of Monaco and Carlene Wittstock’s official royal wedding car on July 2.

The conversion work was carried out by Belgian coachbuilder Carat Duchatelet, working closely with Lexus engineers based in Brussels. The project took more than 2,000 hours to complete, with a focus on maintaining the levels of quality and preserving the performance, safety and dynamic attributes of the original car.

Reinforcing the bodyshell required extensive use of honeycomb structures, with Kevlar and carbon fibre composite materials being utilised to achieve suitable chassis stiffness and torsional rigidity, following the removal of the roof and pillars.

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With composite parts needing to be cured at very high temperatures, and litreally having to be ‘cooked’ on to the bare chassis in a specially prepared oven in this case, much of the vehicle had to be dismantled – around 20,000 mechanical parts, electric component and interior features and upholstery were stripped out.

Re-assembly was carried out under close supervision of a Lexus engineering team to ensure consistency with original vehicle specifications and performance. Prior to re-assembly, the car was finished in an elegant Midnight Blue livery, applied by hand using several coats of a bespoke, water-based paint.

The transparent roof presented a challenge in both design – as a large, single piece with no reinforcements or pillars – and in manufacturing. To build it, Lexus sought cooperation with a French company that specialises in supplying similar components to the aerospace industry in the form of helicopter windscreens and fighter jet canopies.

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The roof is a single, lightweight polycarbonate shell that is 8 mm thick and weighs just 26 kg. Fixed to the body of the Lexus through two intermediary parts, it allows a perfect view in and out of the car.

A template was made in a honeycomb structure and carbon fibre to validate the roof’s shape and structural integrity and to ensure a perfect fit with tolerances of less than a millimetre. Once the design was complete, robotic tools were used to produce the canopy and fit it to the Landaulet in a completely automated process. The final stage of the conversion, re-assembly and finishing took a team of 10 specialists working with Lexus engineers more than two weeks to complete.

On the day of the wedding the LS 600h Landaulet will be used by the royal couple to tour the principality after the marriage ceremony, after which it will be displayed at the Media Centre and later, the Oceanographic Museum in Monaco.