The recent New York City road rage attack, viewed by millions and igniting national media attention, shows bikers surrounding an SUV. To escape, the SUV’s driver, Alexian Lien, drives over one of the bikers, seriously injuring him. Numerous arrests have been made – including, shockingly, off-duty police – and the investigation continues.
Texas Armoring, a company based in San Antonio, Texas, believes it could have helped protect Lien, who was yanked from his car, and beaten in front of his wife and two-year-old daughter.
Following the road rage incident, Texas Armoring received an influx of phone calls from concerned citizens. Jason Forston, Texas Armoring’s Executive Vice President, said he wasn’t surprised by the way the NYC road rage video lit up his phone lines: “The common thread that we heard when people were calling in was, ‘This country is not safe.’ ‘I don’t feel safe in my vehicle.’ ‘I want to protect my family.’”
The company wrote about how their armoring services makes a vehicle defensible against violent attack, as well as defensive measures that can be taken by anyone who might be attacked while driving. Texas Armoring even created a video demonstrating how well armoring can withstand an attack. If the video gets five million views by the end of October, Forston has pledged to armor Lien’s car free of charge.
“We’ve had clients in those scenarios. If they would have had our even our most basic armoring package, that helmet would have never broken through. [Lien] would have been safe inside until help could have arrived,” Forston said.
Texas Armoring vehicles can be loaded with an array of defensive features from the exotic (smoke screen system, road tack dispenser, electric shocking door handles) to the more basic (flashing strobe lights, sirens); but, you wouldn’t know it by just looking at them. The vehicles are specifically designed to look like ordinary cars or SUVs.
Texas Armoring is part of a cottage industry where automobiles are completely taken apart and then rebuilt into armored fortresses.
The cars start out as stock vehicles – a BMW, Mercedes, or Lexus for example – and are then taken apart, practically down to the nuts and bolts, just to be rebuilt again.
Doors and car bodies are reinforced with lightweight armor. Windows are swapped out for thick bulletproof glass, impregnable against most ordinary threats. Some models can withstand up to fifty caliber shells fired at them. The average motorcycle helmet doesn’t stand a chance.
But none of these features come cheap.
“The average package is around eighty to a hundred thousand dollars. And something real basic is in the forty thousand dollar range,” says Forston.
Texas Armoring’s clients include wealthy individuals in the United States and abroad, all concerned about surviving unexpected and unknown threats.
“You’ve got celebrities, professional athletes, hedge fund owners, and diplomats. We’ve done over 40 heads of state,” says Forston. “And every year we are doing more and more vehicles for American citizens. We try to produce real things that keep people safe and give them more time to get out of a dangerous situation.”
With incidents like the biker road rage case in New York City, disguised rolling fortresses may be the future.
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