Junk limo worth a million

2 January 2013

According to the owner, yes it is. Antti Rahko’s scrap metal stretch limo, the Finnjet, was insured for a million for its trip to star in the recent Essen Motor Show in Germany – and will likely have a similar asking price when it goes up for sale shortly.

Rahko, a former chauffer from Finland now living in the US state of Florida, spent 10 years building the Finnjet from scrap parts grafted onto a platform from two Mercedes-Benz station wagons.

Stretching over eight metres long and weighing in at 2.78 tonnes – and just in case that size isn’t enough to catch your eye -- the bizarre behemoth sports 86 lights, 36 mirrors and two natty jet engine housings containing the exhausts.

The 10-seater interior is just as flashy, with a sauna, television, freezer and microwave. It takes three batteries and alternators to keep the cabin features running along with the Mercedes-Benz turbo-diesel engine, which drives the dual-wheel rear axle mounted amidships.

To help with cornering, the rear wheels are steerable and reverse the direction of the front wheels – achieved by mounting the rear axle backwards.

The vehicle’s humble beginnings are hardly visible today, but Rakho says the process of building it was never really complete. He just kept adding parts however and whenever he could. “I had my own car shop, I bought and rented cars.” Eventually, he thought if he succeeded in welding two cars together, he would not need to sell more than one car. That’s how the idea for the Finnijet was born.

The car is so well appreciated that it won a prize at the Art Car Parade competition in Houston, twice. Earlier this year, it was taken to Europe for the first time, to be shown at the Essen Motor Show. Packed in a 12m long container, the organizers paid all the costs of transportation and even took out a million dollar insurance policy on the car.

In addition to its star turn at Essen, the Finnjet has been the highlight of the convoy of weird that is the annual Houston Art Car Parade in Texas – even among the extreme competition it attracts.

However the limo is not just a pretty strange face. Rakho has also used it as a hire vehicle and on road trips traversing the US from Florida all the way across the northern border and into Canada. In all that time, he’s only every been stopped once by police – when a convoy of 12 patrol cars and a chopper wanted to get a closer look at the Finnjet.

But this year he’s hanging up his chauffer’s driving gloves, and putting the Finnjet up for sale. It will likely carry a hefty price tag, given that last time he listed the limo it carried a $950,000 reserve.