Onyx Palace, Basara, Sultanate of Dalluha
“May the recipient of honor approach!” pronounced a formal-sounding voice from the other end of the Ebony Throneroom, echoing in its vastness. Skaiðrun then stepped onto the silk carpet that ran the room’s entire length, and in unhurried, confident strides, approached the throne and its occupant: His Cromulent Excellency, the Sultan of Dalluha.
“Thank you, I’ll take it from here,” said the Sultan to the court announcer, rising from the exquisitely carved throne that had been in this room for centuries, and standing just in front of it in full regalia. As the Recipient approached, the Sultan’s stiff posture relaxed, and a smile formed and grew with every step nearer. Beaming at Skaiðrun, he chuckled heartily. As she stepped up to the throne level, he approached and they exchanged a warm hug.
“Skye! Goodness, I had no idea it was you! Of course now I remember your full name, and in hindsight, I should’ve guessed it was you who masterminded the arrest of Sheikh Ghassan Suffliah al-Adye and with him the end of the Dalluhan Mafia. But my advisors were terse, confusing, and contradictory in their accounts of who had accomplished such a deed.”
“Hello, Your Majesty–”
“No no, please, I may be Sultan now, but you whom I’ve known since childhood are a personal friend, even though we lost touch for all those years. Please, call me as you did when we were in school together.”
“Snotrocket?” They both burst out laughing.
“Ok, maybe a few grades later…”
“Of course, Jafran. How are you?”
“We’ll catch up later. First and foremost, we must conclude this ceremony of Royal Reward.” He stepped back and announced to the entire room in an imperious tone. “For eradicating a longstanding enemy of the People and of the Sultanate, I hereby reward you with the following…”
He handed her a wax-sealed scroll of heavy paper tied up with an intricately knotted lace. “This goes into details, but the gist is: a lifelong pension, the Al Qihas Guest Palace with all upkeep covered, a personal bodyguard team handpicked directly from the ranks of the Onyx Palace Guards, a ceremonial chrome-plated saber, a commemorative medal in a display case… and as I recall, you were quite the gearhead even back at school?”
She paused fumbling with the scroll and grinned affirmatively at Jafran.
“Then I would like to add a personal touch to your reward. Name a car, any car ever made, and it will be yours. If I have it in my collection, it will be yours immediately.”
Throughout her illustrious and reasonably profitable career, Skye had amassed quite the collection of automotive superlatives, exotica, and just plain cool cars. But there was one she had idolized for decades and never had the fortune to encounter for sale.
“Any? How about a 1936-1940 Mercedes Benz 540K Autobahnkurier?”
The Sultan’s eyes went wide and he sat down. “Oh dear… I’m afraid I promised the impossible. Not even I - We, that is, the Royal We - have been able to come across one of those. Only two are known to exist - one in a private collection that has refused one after another blank check, and the other rumored to be locked up somewhere in Iran. Our ethics prevent acquisition by force or dishonesty, and looking too hard for the other one would cause an international incident. But suppose I offer you a worthy spiritual heir of the Autobahnkurier? A car from a later era, that best embodies the essence of the 540k, and nods to its styling without being a replica?”
“I would certainly accept such a car, done right, and from any era 1946-2020. But it has to perform - for its time, whatever that may be - like it’s the Autobahnkurier’s descendant, as much as looking the part. What are my options?”
The Sultan stood up. “Let’s go visit my Collection and see what we find…”
TLDR: pick any year 1940-2020. Make a period-correct equivalent that best captures the essence of the Mercedes Benz 540K Autobahnkurier in both form and function.
- Exterior design. Should remind of the orginal, or have a visual effect comparable in flavor and intensity.
- Straight-line performance for its era. Top speed, 80-120 time, 1km time. I repeat the emphasis on age relativism; what’s competitive in 1970 may be unrealistic in 1950, mediocre in 1990, and a joke in 2020.
- Stylistic period-correctness, with a specific exemption (but not a requirement) for split windshields.
- Handling performance. Balanced weight distribution, fade-free brakes, short stops, high and even skidpad ratings. Also relative to era.
- Reliability, also relative to era.
- Product of Sportiness and Comfort, both adjusted as follows: Comfort will be recalculated to remove torque and gearbox modifiers. Sportiness will be recalculated to remove gearbox modifier.
- Fuel economy
- Environmental resistance
- Mechanical period-correctness. The 540K was itself not very period-correct; with with fully independent suspension, optional 5-gear transmissions, and an order of magnitude more power than most contemporaries, it was well ahead of its time. Its descendant can be reasonably expected to be the same way.
- Off road
- Service costs
- Cargo and passenger room and capacity
- Interior design. While I generally like interiors, the original’s was nothing special, and for this QFC I will not consider them at all.
Budget: $80k soft limit
Techpool: $80M total, distribution unrestricted
Advanced trim: unrestricted
Bodies: unrestricted, provided the result look like a 2/3-door coupe. For reference, the original has a 3.3m wheelbase, roughly equivalent to a 2.8m in 2023; anything shorter than 2.5 or so is unlikely to win. Legacy bodies ok.
Emissions: the car must pass Dalluhan emissions for its given year.
Engines: no race intake, but race headers ok. V16 ok. The original had a supercharged 5.4L straight-8, large but not huge for its day. Depending on the era, anything between a turbo six and a V16 could be appropriate.
Engine loudness: every quality point spent on Architecture, Fuel System, or Exhaust reduces baseline engine loudness by 0.75. No hard limit, but much above 45 will be annoying, and by 60, the rest of the car had better be extraordinary to still be considered.
Transmissions: no CVT
Seats: two full-size seats.
Safety: at least Standard safety at 0 or higher quality for the car’s decade.
Naming convention: car Model and engine Family shall be “QFC36 - (your forum name and anything else you want)”. Trim and variant unrestricted.
Submitting: DM me your .car and post an advert publically
Resubmitting: everyone gets at least one with no questions asked. Subsequent ones are case-by-case. I tend to be lenient with these.