vendredi 4 novembre 2022

The brand of armored vehicles CENTIGON - English Version



The brand of armored vehicles

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"CENTIGON SECURITY GROUP" is a brand that has acquired over the decades, various coachbuilder specialists in armor.

"SAYERS & SCOVILL" brand hearse.

At the beginning, two Americans from Ohio created in 1876, the company "SAYERS & SCOVILL" specialized in building ambulances, coaches and hearses. In 1891, they hired two employees, Emil HESS and Charles EISENHBARDT, who made the company take off.

Their children bought out the founders' shares in 1938 and closed the factory at the beginning of the Second World War.


Lincoln Continental of 1960 of the brand "HESS & EISENHARDT

In 1942, the company was renamed  "HESS & EISENHARDT" and built trailers for the American army for the war effort. After the war, the company specialized in the construction of limousines


Cadillac HEARSE of the brand "HESS & EISENHARDT

as well as hearses, which was one of the first specialties of the manufacturer at the beginning of the century.


Lincoln Continental with Bubble Top from 1950 by "HESS & EISENHARDT

It is the American president Harry TRUMAN who will launch them in the presidential limousines. He will order a dozen of their limousines.


Cadillac Parade Car de 1956 of "HESS & EISENHARDT"

Including this CADILLAC Parade Car of 1956

Cadillac Parade Car de 1956 of brand "HESS & EISENHARDT"

It will be embarked in planes of the US Air Force according to the movements of the American President on the American territory or abroad.



1956 Cadillac Parade Car in a New York street in 1962

And will be used later as a follow car for the bodyguards of the US Secret Service.

 1961 Lincoln Continental Limousine in front of the White House

In 1961, "HESS & EISENHARDT" delivered the 1961 Lincoln Continental Convertible Limousine.


Project name: X100. Its particularity: three removable types of roof: canvas, metal or transparent Bubble Top.
The X100 in open top mode
Here is the X100 in open-top version with the rear seat raised.

The X100 in open top mode

Here with one of the HESS & EISENHARDT team who prepared this limousine.

Preparers removing the light metal roof from the X100

The lightness of the parts allowed only two people to handle them...

Members of the US Secret Service on the X100's running boards

US Secret Service agents could stand on small steps all around the car.

Visit of the American President JFK in Dallas on 11/22/1963

It was in this limousine that John Fitzgerald KENNEDY was assassinated on November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas. Ironically, the car was not armored.

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Inauguration day of President Lyndon B. JOHNSON in January 1964

One would not have believed that after the Dallas tragedy, this limousine was taken off the road. But no. It was used for the inauguration of Lyndon B. Johnson in January 1964.

The X100 in front of the Hess & Eisenhardt factory in 1964

After the assassination of JFK, the LINCOLN was returned to the tuner "Hess & Eisenhardt" to be modified: more than 80% of the vehicle was replaced with armor, bulletproof glass and special anti-flat tires.


The 1961 LINCOLN CONTINENTAL - X100 in front of the White House in Washington

Lyndon B. JOHNSON used it afterwards during official visits. Not liking the navy blue color, he had it painted in black...


The 1969 LINCOLN CONTINENTAL at the White House

Other presidential limousines were ordered from "HESS & EISENHARDT" including the 1969 LINCOLN Continental...



Armored, with puncture-proof tires and bullet-proof windows, the President of the time, Richard NIXON, asked to have an opening roof through which he could greet the crowd.


President NIXON in the 1969 LINCOLN CONTINENTAL in November 1971

A rear handle allowed US Secret Service personnel to stand in the back when the car was moving at slow speeds...  Orders for "HESS & EISENHARDT" presidential cars for American presidents continued until 1992.

Cadillac Fleetwood Presidential concept by Hess & Eisenhardt

The company designed the Cadillac Fleetwood Presidential.

 Cadillac Fleetwood Presidential by Hess & Eisenhardt

Here it is in front of the White House in Washington with an escort car.

Here is an advertisement in the 80's of its achievements.  

Armored Cadillac of the President of Nicaragua SOMOZA DEBAYLE

"HESS & EISENHARDT" also built limousines for other Presidents of State, here the one of the Nicaraguan President SOMOZA DEBAYLE


1983 Chevrolet Suburban C10 armored car manufactured by "O'GARA - HESS & EISENHARDT"

The brand was sold in 1982 and became part of the "O'GARA" group, a coachbuilder specialized in military and civilian armor and was renamed "O'GARA - HESS & EISENHARDT".


Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham of 1984 by "O'GARA - HESS & EISENHARDT"

Models of presidential limousines for parades continued to be offered like this 1984 model.

Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham of 1989 by "O'GARA - HESS & EISENHARDT"

or here the 1989 model.


1992 Chevrolet armored car made by "O'GARA - HESS & EISENHARDT

This group continued to grow by acquiring other body shops specialized in civil and military armor in the 90s and early 2000s, such as the German "TRASCO" and the French "Labbé".

TRASCO presidential and escort vehicles

UNIMOG Centigon truck for the Hong Kong Police

In 2001, the company "ARMOR HOLDINGS Inc" bought this group and changed the name to "CENTIGON" in 2005.


CENTIGON "Palais Royal" limousine based on Mercedes 600L

Then it was renamed in "CENTIGON SECURITY GROUP" in 2008. The group then had factories in Ohio in the USA, in France, in Brazil, in Mexico, in Colombia and in Venezuela. The group manufactured up to 1,400 armored vehicles per year and employed 1,500 people worldwide.


with its production in its Mexican factory


Centigon "Tuileries" limousine based on a Mercedes 600L

In 2015, the group separates from the French factory which is bought by the Chinese group "DONGFENG", second Chinese manufacturer and becomes "CENTIGON FRANCE SAS".

The Chinese manufacturer, in this purchase, hoped to develop the niche market of armored limousines.


Audi A8L - Centigon

The French factory, located in Lamballe, Brittany, prepares more than 350 vehicles from one to forty tons each year and employs more than 160 people.


 BENTLEY Mulsanne

It builds limousines as well, 


 Peugeot 508 Centigon

as well as armored escort cars,


 Renault ESPACE Centigon

of different sizes,

Land Rover Discovery IV Sentinel -- Centigon

or ambassadors' escort cars.


 CENTIGON Fortress 200 of the French GIGN

It also prepares special vehicles for the police forces, with here the CENTIGON Fortress of the French GIGN

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  13 CENTIGON Fortress 200 of the French GIGN

The French GIGN has ordered 13 of them.

 CENTIGON Fortress 200 - 2021 of the Irish Ministry of Defense

In 2021, CENTIGON FRANCE SAS delivered 28 4X4 armored CENTIGON FORTRESS 200 to the Irish Ministry of Defense.

  Four CENTIGON Fortress 200 - 2017 of the Irish Ministry of Defence

It joins 24 similar 4X4s ordered in 2017 by Ireland, which at the time deployed them to the Middle East. These new armored SUVs will also be used for United Nations peacekeeping missions where Irish forces will be sent.

6 UNIMOG CENTIGON trucks for the Hong Kong Police

As well as more specific vehicles like here armored trucks for Hong Kong

Scania 8X8 with armored cab

But also armored solutions for the army. 


as well as armoured vans for the transport of cash for large groups, like the American company LOOMIS for its European branches,

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CENTIGON truck for the company BRINKS
The American company BRINKS, also for Europe,

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  CENTIGON vehicles for the company PROSEGUR
or the Spanish company  PROSEGUR

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The factory in Colombia also prepares armored cash transport vehicles for the entire American continent.
Armored truck for the Bank of France - Centigon
The French factory also equips the Central Banks of countries, such as the Bank of France, the Bank of Algeria, the Bank of Morocco and Scandinavian Central Banks.

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Armored van of the "Labbé" preparer

This factory is the cradle of the coachbuilder "Labbé" which was created in 1948. Its first armored transport vehicle dates from 1971.


Van of the coachbuilder Labbé
He will then propose a whole range of armored vans to French cash in transit companies

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Volvo S90 Limousine of the "Labbé" preparer

Its first armored car was built in 1976. This one was a Peugeot 604 intended for the Czechoslovakian Marshal TITO.


Peugeot 605 Limousine Labbé - 1990

In the 1990's, Labbé was also preparing limousines for embassies like here with this Peugeot 605.

Peugeot 605 Limousine Labbé - 1990

This one was used for high officials of an African Embassy in Paris.

Peugeot 605 SV24 Phase 1 Gendarmerie/Banque de France - Labbé

The coachbuilder Labbé also designed about twenty Peugeot 605 SV24 for the French Gendarmerie to escort trucks of the Bank of France.

Peugeot 605 SV24 Gendarmerie/Banque de France - Labbé

These were assigned to two Bank de France Fortress depots, one in Paris and the other in Clermont-Ferrand, and were used for escorts from 1991 to 2008.

Peugeot 605 SV24 Gendarmerie/Banque de France - Labbé

Labbé's preparations consisted in equipping these cars with "puncture-proof" flat tires, front and rear armor reinforced with sheet metal and bullet-proof glass, as well as rear lights.

The French Presidential 5008 in the courtyard of the Elysée
 We can also note that "CENTIGON FRANCE SAS" prepared the Peugeot 5008 presidential for the French President.
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Range Rover L405 - Centigon

The French factory was put up for sale at the end of 2020, handicapped by industrial difficulties on a contract for armored truck cabs for the Dutch Army.

Among the candidates for the takeover are the French "ARMORIC HOLDING" and the Indian group "LIBERTY".


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CARAPACE tractor truck manufactured by "ESSONNE SECURITE" for the French army

The "ARMORIC HOLDING" group is known in various trades of industrial bodywork, with, for agriculture the "Carrosserie GUITTON", for fire vehicles the "SIDES" company and for the army "ESSONNE SECURITE".

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