The XNUMXth century carriage is back. The German Roland Belz had spent three years perfecting the concept of a carriage with a motor and modern technology that did not lose any of the style and elegance of its predecessors, until he presented his project in 2005. He did not badly: The Aaglander company has survived to this day and is in full swing, which shows that his idea is coming together and is not as - let's say - crazy as you might think.
The motto for its development was to define the design and function of a vehicle different from the conventional, in which the integration of modern technology in the language of the classic lines of the carriages of yesteryear was sought. Make a vehicle born far from a wind tunnel, without thinking about the aerodynamic coefficients, and enjoy with it the slowness and not the speed. In other words, think completely differently and re-plan motorized outings again, enjoying the scenery and the time you have.
This novel initiative was presented at the entrance of the traditional Geneva Motor Show, in Switzerland. What looked like a restored antique carriage that had been placed there to delight the public finally turned out to be a brand new motor vehicle, if we can call it that. He drew even more attention as soon as his creators took him out on the streets for a demonstration.
It was then that those present noticed, a carriage in the style of those of the end of the XNUMXth century but without the lance and the rudder of the horse carriages, and in return with an engine that was not heard much but was not electric. R. Belz explained to us then that his company would always maintain two main factors in production: the slowness in driving its vehicles and the art of building them, with all the details of the past lovingly elaborated by specialists.
The aim is to please people who enjoy old-fashioned rides but cannot - or do not want - to keep horses. However, the idea of sale is not limited to that; From the beginning, the concept of offering itinerary services through tourist areas, in fields, forest paths or areas with little traffic, and, in addition, of touring the urban centers of ancient and charismatic cities and towns without the need to use horses was developed. , but with the same slowness and, above all, with the same ups and downs that carriages pulled by these animals usually have.
From the beginning, two models have been offered, the so-called Duc, with a two-seater body - which limits its use for tourists - and the Mylord, a version with four seats plus transporter. Their prices are slightly below € 100.000, which does not seem exaggerated to customers considering the quality of the finish of each of the vehicles, which makes them authentic works of art.
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Why not an electric motor?
Apart from having a driving license, each buyer must take a small test with their Aaglander in order to get a license to drive it. And it has its peculiarities ... It has no steering wheel!
Instead it has two “cow's tails”, that is, long sticks with leather handlebars at their final point, which are used to make turns by pulling one towards and away from the body. The mechanism is servo-assisted, since the wheels are tall and heavy and the effort had to be reduced. The carriage is quite easy to handle considering that it does not reach more than 20 km / h; it is, in a way, more laborious, but probably more enjoyable. I have tried it and I liked it, despite the fact that it was a new machine that inexcusably requires a running-in.
Their technology is somewhat peculiar. It has a three-cylinder industrial diesel engine that with its 900cc develops, as we have said, about 20 hp of power. The isolation of all the components means that little is perceived of the noise of the propeller, and that this way it does not disturb when it is enjoyed the trip during the routes by the nature. However, one of the first questions to the then director of the company by the one who signed these lines was, why not an electric motor?
Safety first, despite its retro aesthetic
Other technical features are the strong but also heavy steel chassis, the body made of old-style wood, and the many trim elements made of brass and other noble materials. The result is a vehicle that weighs almost a ton. Due to the large spoke wheels made of iron, the company had to invent a specific transmission system with a ratio of 1:70 and therefore high torque.
The two 110cm diameter rear wheels, narrow and covered in solid rubber, are responsible for transmitting the engine's power to the road. The stepless automatic system, which allows enough power even on steep climbs, has only one forward and one reverse gear. It is these wheels and their size that give the carriage the typical swings that no one wants to miss in a vehicle of such characteristics.
There is no compromise regarding safety. All the components that have something to do with safe driving have been thoroughly studied, which has produced a high standard in this matter, logically far above any old carriage.
The Aaglanders feature dual-circuit four-wheel hydraulic brakes and powerful, modern lighting hidden within retro-styled headlights, plus a very robust and rigid structure that withstands potential crashes. Without these security measures it would have been impossible to obtain official approval. In fact, legally the vehicle is something like a farm tractor, and his world is not the highway but the many roads between towns that are no longer too busy.
In addition, it has an endless number of precious details of brass and other materials, all handmade by specialists and that make each Aaglander a real gem. Of all these there are already molds to be able to reproduce them in high quality, and it is a pleasure for any lover of old ornaments to see everything that this motorized carriage houses.
The manufacturer has sought to sell it to luxury hotels and tourist areas, where it would rent them to customers. In Germany, a GPS has already been prepared, included in the vehicle but hidden at first sight, with elaborate itineraries that allow you to travel through villages and country roads. Enjoy the scenery and relax with the slowness of life.
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In mid-2012 the Aaglander was restructured. The production site was kept in the old ancillary buildings of a large castle located in a village in Frankish Switzerland - in the Bavarian region - but is now in the hands of a new owner, Richard Gebert. This businessman has restored an old mansion, transforming it into an emblematic hotel from where, how could it be otherwise, trips in motor carriages are also offered. It is the Hotel "Freihof in Prichsenstadt", the current headquarters of the conglomerate.
The question about a more ecological engine has recently been answered and the electric version has been presented, with the invaluable help of one of the great companies of electric traction and its components, the German Linde, which not only provides the engine, the power module and batteries, but also the necessary software. In this case, the Aaglander uses an asynchronous drive with a power of 16 kW that offers a torque of 70 Nm and reaches 20 km / h. Thanks to a 40V / 400 Ah lithium-ion battery, it has an autonomy of eight hours of travel before having to recharge it in a domestic socket.
The concept is the opposite of everything that has been presented in recent months; But maybe it is time to resort to slowness again so that our life does not pass us too quickly. We must enjoy the time that we have been given!