By Joe Roberts @jrobertsjourno
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Videographer / director: Adam Gray
Producer: Joe Roberts, James Thorne
Editor: Ross Dower
The one-of-a-kind vehicle, which cost more than $1 million to construct and can transport up to eight passengers, uses four 28-inch wheels attached to a wingless Learjet fuselage.
Before it was debuted in 2018, the 28-metre (42ft)-long ‘Limo-Jet’ was in the making for 12 years, and is the brainchild of designer Dan Harris and co-owners Frank DeAngelo and Dima Kashevatsky.
Frank told Barcroft Media: “We’ve had people pull over on the side of the road, and they’ll get out of the car and video tape the limo.
“They treat it almost like it’s a celebrity, which is exciting. It’s really accomplishing what we set out to do with it.”
It took between 60 and 100 people to bring the unique creation to fruition, with a steel chassis used to reinforce the aluminium jet body.
Parts from numerous vehicles were incorporated into the finished product, including lights from a Jeep and suspension parts from a pick-up truck – as well as several custom made pieces.
Powered by a Vortec V8 engine, with a top speed of just over 100mph, the finished Limo-Jet weighs an impressive 12,000 pounds and has a tail fin that sits almost 12 feet in the air.
“I like to guess something over 40,000 man hours have been invested in the limo jet,” said Frank.
“People can’t believe how massive it is when it’s coming down the street.”
Owned by Frank and Dima’s company Jetsetter Inc., the fully street-legal Limo-Jet has been designed as the ultimate party vehicle.
While the wings obviously had to be removed for the vehicle to become road-worthy, the jet engine nacelles remain, and house two 12-inch subwoofers surrounded by neon lights.
Alongside the ‘engine speakers’, a motorised cover reveals a row of subwoofers and speakers along the edge of the limo, all of which makes up the exterior sound system of the vehicle.
“We have two separate sound systems,” explained Frank. “An interior, and we have an exterior, and it booms pretty good.”
And while the outside is bound to turn heads, the fully custom interior is no less impressive.
A set of fold-down stairs lead inside, where neon lights illuminate the interior, alongside a large TV screen, more speakers, and a tonne of amplifiers.
Up front, there is a single seat for the driver, or ‘pilot’, with a bank of four monitors on the custom dash.
These screens are hooked up to external cameras to allow the driver to see around the giant car during its various voyages.
Keeping the jet theme going, above the driver’s seat, in the ceiling of the limo sits a bank of toggle switches which activate the car’s custom disco lighting, as well as the lights in the special ‘Infinity Mirror’ floor.
“The interior was a lot more difficult,” said Frank. “We knew it was going to be a little tricky because everything is curved, so we couldn’t use any templates, we had to hand-make everything.
“From the centre console that sits in the dash, to the upper console where all the switches are, all the way back to the roof, we had to use special bending products – bending glass, bending wood.”
To finish off the overall look, Frank and his team opted for a dark candy red paint job on the exterior.
Currently touring the country as a promotional vehicle, anyone can book the limo for private events if they’re looking to make an impression.
Alternatively, Frank says anyone looking to buy the Limo-Jet would have to be prepared to pay around $5 million.
“If they wanted this one, all the research and development that went into this, someone would have to want to pay for it,” he said.
The Jetsetter owner plans to manufacture more custom cars along the lines of the Limo-Jet in the future, but it all depends on the success of his unique prototype.
“The ultimate goal is to build more, and we’d like to make them a unique experience,” he explained.
“There won’t be many of them because it takes so long to produce, but it’s definitely something we’re targeting.”
Looking back over the 12 years it took to create the current model, Frank remains positive about the whole experience, though he clearly wasn’t expecting it to be such a mammoth project.
“I tell people all the time, I was either smart enough or dumb enough to jump head first into the project,” he said.
“But I don’t have any regrets, even though it took a long time, I’m happy that we’re here now.”