Of the outrageous conversions built in the 1980s Chameleon Car Company from London in the UK is a name that seems to pop up more than often. Most of Chameleon's designs, that were usually built by contracted coachbuilders, don't shine in the stylish department.... They do however turn heads in the best of built-for-Sheikh tradition.
The Chameleon Typhoon, based on the Mercedes-Benz 500SEC is probably among Chameleon's best known designs. The widebody conversion of the stylish 500SEC was made for Chameleon using Kevlar bodyparts which included new front- and rear bumpers, sideskirts, fenderflares, a new nose, roof and trunk spoiler, a rear wing. The very wide wheels (......) used were made by Gotti (15" inch wheels with widths 9" and 12" respectively).
The prices of the Chameleon Typhoon were absolutely top of the range, so expensive you tempted to ask yourself whether the complete conversion wasn't actually done in 24k gold: a basic Mercedes-Benz 500SEC (W126) would set you back 24,000 Pounds Sterling in 1983. The conversion to the Chameleon Typhoon however would set you back a whopping 52,250 Pounds (96,000 Deutsch Mark and 210,000 Deutsch Mark respectively). Now this price is seriously optimistic for a conversion that's not all that extensive. To put in perspective: the 500SEC based 500SGS Gullwing by Styling-Garage used to cost 65,000 Deutsch Marks back in the early 1980s and that was a really complicated build.
CAR + DRIVER HAMBURG "BROADSTER"
The cars below are actually not Chameleon Typhoons but a very similar design by a German company called Car+Driver Hamburg. The design of the Car+Driver 500SEC "Broadster" as it was christened is very similar to the Typhoon; the difference is only to be seen in the details: different way the fenders are flared, different louvers in the rear wheelarches (Chameleon has bigger ones which are closed off with gold...), different rear wing, different sideskirts and bumpers. The dashboard of the Broadster seems to sourced from Styling-Garage.
Text: copyright Bram Corts