72-Foot Car Too Long to Maneuver : Encino Man Stretches Limousine to the Limit

Times Staff Writer

What, no sunroof?

Well, you can’t expect a 72-foot-long Cadillac El Dorado limousine to have everything.

Besides, a passenger in the massive stretch car could find more than ample diversion in the two 25-inch color televisions, three telephones, videotape recorder or redwood sun deck and spa.

Jim Wagner, owner of the limo, said he wishes that the car had a fax machine as well as a sunroof, but the people who custom-built it didn’t have enough time to add them.


“It will still attract some attention, I think,” Wagner, who lives in Encino, said Friday.

Wagner was watching several workers at the Alterdyne custom body shop in Chatsworth put the finishing touches on the car, which he hopes will soon be registered in the “Guinness Book of World Records” as the world’s longest car. The record book lists a 60-foot Cadillac as the longest.

Alterdyne owner Walt Kurczynski, 31, customized the limo, which was just an ordinary 1982 sky-blue El Dorado Cadillac six weeks ago. Kurczynski and his crew worked night and day to convert the car into an 18-wheel pleasure palace. They cut the car in half and stretched it with about 7,000 pounds of steel. Wagner said the conversion cost about $125,000.

The engine powering the vehicle is “your basic El Dorado engine, a little souped up,” Wagner said.


The car is so long that it has to be bolted in the middle. “The hardest part of making this thing was making it not bulk down in the middle,” Kurczynski said.

It also has the standard limousine features--bar, refrigerator, tinted windows.

But don’t expect to see Wagner’s car pull up to your neighborhood drive-through or even to a valet at Le Dome.

Although the car can move back and forth, it is not drivable on the road. It cannot turn standard corners. Wagner said it would not be permitted on highways because of its length.

Wagner on Sunday is shipping the car to Helsinki, Finland, where it will be featured at auto shows there and in Japan during the next year.

After that, the car may return to the United States for other car shows.

“We don’t know right now,” Wagner said. “It’s pretty booked for the next year.”