Mopar Action Article Extra
The Finn Jet Has Landed
On the off-chance that you didn’t buy our story about the DaimlerChrysler Mergermobile, here’s the truth: This car is a lightly disguised prototype for the next version of the uber-Mercedes, the Maybach. OK, that’s not true, either. (At least, we don’t think it’s true).
Here’s the real, actual truth. We promise. We spotted this car while watching the Discovery Channel. They were profiling a guy in Palm Beach, Fla. named Antti Rahko, who built this car purely for his own amusement. He calls it the Finn Jet, and yes, it really is built from a 1962 Imperial and two Mercedes-Benz station wagons of unknown vintage -- along with various bits and pieces from 40 other cars. Before that, he built a six-wheel RV from Chevy vans, complete with a fully functional sauna. That wasn’t as a joke -- the Finns are very serious about their saunas.
Rahko, a man with a true love for the essence of American automobiles, is part of a large Finnish community in Palm Beach County, the largest, in fact, outside of Finland. He’s also something of a demigod in the Art Car movement. (http://www.artcars.com/). But Rahko didn't even know what Art Cars were when he made the Finn Jet. Alyx Kellington, the director of art education for the Palm Beach County Cultural Council, discovered Rahko’s Finn Jet when she was organizing an Art Car parade for Palm Beach. (Ms. Kellington graciously provided these photos for our website. Ellie Schorr provided the photos used in the magazine article, obviously unaware of our demented intentions for them.)
Next thing you know, Rahko is winning the gold in the annual Art Car hullabaloo in Houston -- the Arts Cars Nats, you might say -- beating out 299 others. We’d like to see the Finn Jet land at the Mopar Nats. It would be a shoe-in for the “Best Use of Non-Mopar Parts on an Imperial/Mercedes (Modified)” Class.
Here’s some more useless (but true) trivia: The name “Finn Jet” traces back to 1976, when the Finns launched the longest and largest car ferry in the world, and the only one powered by gas turbines. The original Finnjet is said to still be the fastest conventional ferry in service, with a recorded top speed of 33.5 knots.
Build Your Own Finn Jet
As a special bonus for all you Mopar Action website viewers, we’re gonna tell you how to build your own Finn Jet, with easy-to-follow instructions, so you’ll be the envy of all the Mopar Action readers who don’t have computers for access to the Internet.
Ready? Start with two older Mercedes-Benz wagons from the 1980s and a 1962 Imperial. This is a very practical combination, since it provides seating for 10 – more than any current minivan or SUV.
To get all the vital trim pieces and extra tailfins, etc., you’ll also need to pull parts from 40 different cars. You should end up with 86 lights and 36 mirrors. You’ll need some extra juice for all those lights, and the way to go is three batteries and three alternators.
Now, the tricky part is the chassis. You need eight wheels to support the 7,500 lbs. this vehicle will weigh. Use a dually setup in the middle – and that’s your drive wheels, too. The rear set is for steering only. Since it’s 29 feet long, rear-wheel steering is a must for negotiating driveways and garages. Use the front axle from a 1967 Chevy pickup, but installed backwards. Next, you’ll need a long steering bar and transfer gearing. That way, the rear wheels turn the opposite direction of the fronts for the handling agility of a Neon. If you’ve ever followed one of E-Berg’s “How-To’s,” this is easy stuff.
Put jet engines on the roof and route the car’s exhaust through them. Next, install a jet engine sound machine. Check eBay. Altogether, it should take you about six years to build. If you can’t wait that long, you can always try to make Antti Rahko an offer. He says the car is not done yet but that when it is, the price will be “high.” Negotiating will be easier if you speak Finnish. Keep in mind that the original Finn Jet has won First Place in the Houston Art Car Parade three years in a row. That’s like the “Nats” for Art Cars and it boosts the value of Finn Jet considerably. Spend a couple of bucks to have Galen Govier certify that this is a matching numbers Finn Jet, and your investment will appreciate all the more.
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