September 29, 2005
Gas Prices High? Try an Eco-Friendly Skycar
CHICAGO -- If that Hummer is draining your cash at the gas pump, Neiman Marcus Group Inc. has the perfect holiday gift: A fuel-efficient, $3.5 million "Skycar" that flies 350 miles per hour and burns environmentally friendly alcohol.
The luxury retailer's annual Christmas Book of gifts for the rich and richer shows no signs of scaling back in times of economic strain -- although there are a few stocking stuffers such as a $15 paperweight for those on a tighter budget.
The M400 Skycar prototype is a vertical takeoff and landing aircraft that gets 21 miles per gallon and is designed to be "as safe, affordable and easy to use as an automobile.
"A limited number of M400s is expected to be available within the next three years, but you can purchase the actual prototype for yourself or your favorite commuter now," Neiman Marcus said in the catalog.
Delivery is not included.
Buyers must clear regulatory requirements, including International Traffic in Arms Regulations and Federal Aviation Administration authorization.
For those who can't get clearance, there is always the private Elton John concert. For $1.5 million, you and 500 close friends can enjoy an intimate piano concert while helping a good cause -- the money goes to John's AIDS foundation.
Sports fans can opt for the $65,000 IndyCar race simulator. For an extra $10,000, they will throw in a "race hospitality package" for the famed Indianapolis 500, including pit access, four nights' hotel and autographed merchandise. Act fast -- only five hospitality packages are available.
There is also a jewelry collection for $1.2 million, and a "levitating sculpture" that uses an invisible magnetic wave to suspend an oval-shaped aluminum sculpture with no visible means of support. The sculpture comes in a 6-foot limited edition for $90,000, or a 16-inch version for just $18,000.
For the environmentalist who can't afford a Skycar, Neiman Marcus offers a special-edition 2007 Lexus GS 450h luxury hybrid sedan for $65,000. Only 75 will be made, with exclusive Crystalline Ice exterior paint.
Don't procrastinate. The retailer said the limited-edition cars -- as well as many other items featured in its Christmas catalog -- have sold out every year since 1995. Cars tend to sell quickly, often in the first 24 hours.
The Christmas Book, first published in 1926, will be mailed to some 2 million households worldwide this week.
On the Net: