My first couple of Stretch Limousines were second hand. I engaged a local coachbuilder in Melbourne, Victoria, to build my first new car. They specialize in stretch Limos and hearses. I purchased a new Ford G6E injected gas 6 cylinder car, and handed over the keys.
This is the second car of its type. The first has been built and engineering submitted to DOTAR to ensure it is complianced Federally so it can be registered in any Australian state.
First they stripped the car almost completely. Next, they cut it in half, and removed the entire roof section. The front and rear ends were then aligned by laser, so that their alignment is millimetre perfect. The rear end was tilted slightly upwards to create the cleanest lines through the middle section of the car.
A timber ‘template’ was screwed to both ends, ensuring no movement whilst the frame was welded in place. This template was removed once the steel framework was welded in, and the template is then used in the construction of every subsequent car of the same model.
All the wiring and electronics are laid out in the shell, as the access is very easy.
Unlike American stretch limousines, the extended rear doors, side panels and roof are made of fibreglass. These are moulded in-house and fitted to the car, filled and sanded until they are perfect in line.
American cars have their sheetmetal overlapped and pop riveted. This untidy work is then hidden with a vinyl roof. This means the American cars are heavier, more prone to water damage, rust and more expensive to repair. (When my American built Ford was involved in a collision, the amount of body filler was astounding. My car would have had 50 -60 kilos of body filler in it)
The carbon fibre floor goes in, it weighed around 3 kilos! I know, because I picked it up expecting 50 kilos of weight. Another huge saving in weight over my American stretched Chrysler 300C.
Side glass goes in, again half the thickness of my Chrysler, but half the weight. The trade off is it is in two pieces, not one. But many kilos of weight saved here. Custom interior is fitted next, with 3 sections of seating, along with the massive bridal/fifth door (in fibreglass) allowing room for 12 people to sit in comfort.
The spray booth is next, painted to the new owners specification. Internal fit out is completed along with re-assembly. Choice of rims that comply with the extra weight of the car are added. Nearly every stretch limousine you see with mag wheels probably does not comply with the added weight restrictions of the car.
The finished product? An Australian built stretch limousine that runs on Liquid LPG, half the running cost of my diesel Chrysler 300C. A car 500 kilos lighter that stops and turns like a limousine should. A car my drivers fight over, because that’s what they want to drive. A car that’s seats 12 in more comfort than my 11 seat Chrysler fits 10. More head room, more leg room and more comfort.