Saks Fifth Avenue lowered a $250,000 electric car into the posh jewelry section that lies below street level at its Manhattan flagship — an engineering feat that included removing the store’s century-old brass exterior doors and installing a makeshift crane inside.
For the rest of the holiday season, the iconic department store will display one of the world’s priciest electric cars – a Lucid Air Sapphire which accelerates to 60 mph in less than 2 seconds and is outfitted with massage seats and 21 speakers.
But it’s the story of how the Lucid Sapphire landed in the middle of Saks’ famed jewelry section, The Vault — which sells jewelry from brands including Chopard, Graff, Hermes and Bulgari — that will become the stuff of holiday retail lore.
On Saturday early morning, a semi truck rolled up outside Saks’ East 50th Street entrance across from St. Patrick’s Cathedral with an NYPD escort.
After the store closed at 8 p.m., a team of 35 soon got to work, store officials told The Post.
As the Lucid Sapphire rolled off the truck, workers removed four exterior doors spanning 16 feet. A worker then carefully drove the car through the handbag section, passing pricey totes from Akris and Louis Vuitton.
Glass panels surrounding the escalator bank had been removed and a crane was hauled inside the store to create a makeshift freight elevator for the car.
That included making use of the elegant pillars inside the store — which are topped with Corinthian capitals on the ground floor and clad in mirrors at The Vault level — to help anchor a metal platform that lowered the luxury car down 28 feet.
The move took some 14 hours – not including the haul for the truck that brought the luxe wheels from Silicon Valley where Lucid is based.
Richard Baker, chief executive of Saks owner Hudson’s Bay, said more than 1,000 shoppers came to ogle the Lucid car on Sunday alone.
Indeed, the idea is to lure more of the thousands of holiday visitors — who for generations have thronged outside the Fifth Avenue store to take in Saks’ legendary themed windows and holiday light display — inside the store, according to Baker.
“We have 10,000 people each day walking outside the store,” Baker told The Post. “And we are in the business of show business.”
Baker, who spent the night at Saks overseeing the 14-hour installation, said he hatched the plan with Lucid CEO Peter Rawlinson after the pair recently met at an event. The Lucid partnership could be the first of more such ventures, he added.
“Saks is uniquely prepared to launch and support luxury brands like Lucid,” he said, noting that the 39-store chain attracts an average of 82,000 visitors per day.
It’s probably the biggest stunt the store has pulled off since 1935, when it built an indoor ski slope on the men’s floor shortly after it opened its doors for the first time. The slope was covered with borax – an all-natural laundry detergent at the time – and customers took lessons from Scandinavian instructors, according to Untapped New York.
Saks built a ski shop next to the slope and skiing trips were organized via train to nearby resorts.
Founded in 2007 by former Tesla engineers and executives including Rawlinson, Lucid’s cars run from $77,400 to the most luxurious model, the Sapphire, which was unveiled in August as a “super sports sedan” which can travel 427 miles on a single charge and reach a speed of 205 MPH.
“I can think of no place more ideally suited to introduce holiday shoppers to the Lucid Air lineup than by showcasing the world’s first luxury electric super-sports sedan at Saks Fifth Avenue,” Andrea Soriani, vice president of Marketing for, Lucid Motors, said in a statement.
Last year over the holidays, the department store brought in a $25 million 4-foot tall, sculpture encrusted with 6,200 diamonds into The Vault.
No one bought the statue of a spaceman by artists Brendan Murphy and Johnathan Schultz, but that wasn’t necessarily the point, Saks.com chief executive Marc Metrick told The Post at the time.
“We are really trying to pivot away from being a store to buy goods,” he said. “We want to be at the crossroads of art and fashion.”