What weighs 7,500 pounds, is 29-foot long and made completely from junk scraps? Why, a limousine of course. ‘Finnijet’ belongs to Antti Rahko, a 72-year-old chauffeur from Finland. He immigrated to the US in 1984 and is now a resident of Palm Beach, Florida. It took Rahko 10 whole years to build the limousine from scratch, initially using two Mercedes Benz station wagons joined together, several parts from a 1962 Chrysler Imperial and various components from other vehicles.
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.
Photo: Rainer Schimm
Although the Finnijet does look a little odd from the outside, it’s something you could get used to rather quickly, because of the tasteful way that it’s been done up. The exterior has about 86 lights, 36 mirrors and two jet engine housings through which the exhaust is routed. The interior is spacious enough to seat 10, and it also comes equipped with a microwave, television, freezer and a couple of air conditioning units. What’s more, there’s even a functional sauna fitted in the passenger cabin. To keep the beautiful beast running, three batteries and three alternators have been installed. What’s marvelous about the Finnijet is that despite all its rather luxurious features, it drives pretty economically. On the highway, Rakho says the limo achieves about 25 mpg, and the Mercedes turbo diesel power plant drives a dual-wheel rear axle mounted in the center of the chassis. It has a total of 8 wheels that make sure the tire and suspension components are not overtaxed. It isn’t too tough to drive around corners, despite the gigantic stature of the limo. Rakho says that the Finnijet handles corners alright thanks to the steerable rear wheels that turn the opposite way of the front wheels. The rear axle (that he got from a Chevy pickup truck) is installed backwards.
Mr. Rakho has had some pretty good times with his Finnijet. As fierce as it looks, it isn’t merely a show car. He has used it during frequent road trips all the way to Canada, and also to pick up visitors from the airport. He’s even driven a few newlywed couples from the wedding to the reception. He’s never been stopped and asked for car papers. There was this one time, however, when he was driving down to Miami International Airport and was stopped by 12 road patrol police cars and a helicopter from above. Apparently, the police just wanted to get a good look at the car. But now that he’s aging and his health isn’t what it used to be, we’ve heard he’s been trying to sell his limo. It isn’t going to be a cheap buy, though. The last time it was listed on eBay, a couple of years ago, Rahko had quoted a reserve of $950,000.