YOU’VE HEARD of “horseless carriages”, but what about reindeerless ones? It may surprise you to learn that over the years, some car makers have had a crack at designing their own sleighs for Santa; ones that do away with Rudolf and co. altogether.
Some involved less effort than others (we’re looking at you, Lexus) but they’ve all been created with the proper holiday cheer. You wonder if some of the designers had drunk a few too many mulled wines, in fact.
With the jolly Saint Nick beginning his annual rounds shortly before 10am UK time on Christmas Eve — most likely using his traditional mode of transport — we look back at our favourite car maker sleighs, from 800hp muscle cars on skis to self-driving sleds that can smash through the sound barrier.
Hold onto your Santa hats.
1. Vauxhall slEigh-REV (2009)
A concept from 2009 but ho-ho-oh-so modern in its thinking, thanks to its eco-friendly hybrid powertrain. Vauxhall’s slEigh-REV idea uses the same extender-range electric powertrain from the discontinued Vauxhall Ampera, promises some silent, zero emissions flying before an engine kicks in as a generator, to prevent the battery pack from going flat.
Vauxhall never cited emissions figures for the range-extender sleigh, so it was unclear if it would qualify for the Plug-In Car Grant at the time, but as the discount now only applies to pure-electric vehicles, Santa would definitely have to pay the full list price if he were to buy such a thing today. He’d avoid London’s Ultra-low Emissions Zone and Congestion Charging fees for the time being, though proposed zero-emission zones would mean a fee in future.
Of course, Father C. may choose to register it at the North Pole, rather than in the UK, thereby avoiding any such charges.
2. Dodge Challenger Hellcat Redeye Express (2018)
The one winter carriage on this list we do know the “real” power of is the Dodge Challenger Hellcat sleigh. As this vehicle is based on the Challenger Redeye, the Redeye Express features the almighty grunt of a 786bhp supercharged V8.
It’s one of the cooler-looking options available to Saint Nick but with such a loud motor under the bonnet, he would struggle to drop off his presents without waking the kids, of course.
3. Ford Evos Sleigh Concept (2011)
By comparison, Ford’s proposition is far less likely to stir people from their slumber when Father Christmas comes to town. Based on 2011’s Mondeo-previewing Evos concept car, the sleigh design study is also claimed to be very fuel efficient, as it’s powered by a 1-litre EcoBoost petrol engine.
But even with Evos’ frugal motor, Ford still reckons the epic annual trip would rack up £12m in fuel bills. Makes you wonder how energy Santa’s traditional reindeers expend on Christmas Eve… no wonder they need carrots at every house.
4. Jaguar F-Sleigh (2015)
Jaguar has released many variants of its F-Type sports car but none have been as dramatic as this “F-Sleigh” version.
Though based on the F-type’s shape, extensive modifications have been made for Santa’s convenience — including snow runners, an open-top load bay and rear-mounted jet engine. The antlers are a particularly fetching touch.
5. Lexus Flying Luxury Cruiser (2012)
With approximately 99m miles to cover on Christmas Eve, Father C. might appreciate the comfort of a grand tourer during his epic global deliveries. That’s at least what Lexus thinks, as it turned its gorgeous LC into an LFLC, or “Lexus Flying Luxury Cruiser”.
In true Lexus tradition, the LFLC uses a hybrid powertrain, though we have no idea what “800 reindeer power” equates to in bhp. Nor do we know where he’d store his pressies.
Honourable mention: White64 Motors JNGL64 (2016)
Though not from a real car maker, the White64 Motors JNGL64 is too cool for us not to feature on this list. Created by the White64 advertising agency, this flying sleigh is by some margin the most radical vehicle here, by virtue of its claimed fully autonomous abilities, 600,000 reindeer power powertrain and a top speed over three times faster than the speed of sound. Sounds a bit far-fetched to us, though.