Vintage Without the Sour Grapes

Posted on November 2, 2009 by LCT Staff - Also by this author

The most elegant weddings include a vintage car that brings the bride to the church and then takes the married couple to photos and off to the reception.

Imagine a white gloved chauffeur holding the door as the bride and groom exit the classic car shining in the sunlight. Now fast forward to the happy couple sitting in the shade watching the chauffeur trying to figure out why his aftermarket air conditioner is causing the car to overheat.

Vintage vexations

Vintage cars have vintage problems. Depending on when the vehicle was built, it probably does not have air conditioning. Parts for that classic vehicle are expensive and hard to find. Breakdowns are inevitable on new vehicles, but on vintage vehicles, it is underscored by a limited number of mechanics who can repair them. Having a vintage vehicle in your retail fleet can truly be a headache.

Most operators can’t switch vehicles out when one breaks down. Bringing a vintage vehicle up to today’s standards is costly and chancy. Imagine the scene where the charming bride becomes Bridezilla when you tell her the vintage car she ordered is in the shop and won’t be ready for her big day. Many operators who have made the foray into the vintage vehicle market have left it just as fast rather than deal with all of the headaches it entails.

Seductive Sedancia

Now, Terry Huffman, owner of Legendary Performance L.L.C. of Montgomery, Alabama has a timely solution, which will give operators the feel of vintage with the amenities of a modern day Town Car minus the high cost.

The Sedancia Royale offers timeless classic styling coupled with a comfortable, reliable, and serviceable drive train and chassis. The Sedancia Royale won’t cause you to cancel bookings while you search the world for the “made of unobtainium” part that you need. It has the looks of a vintage vehicle but is actually an updated vehicle in disguise.

Huffman’s vehicles are built using a modified 1995-1997 Lincoln Town Car chassis. He modifies the exterior using hand laminated vinyl-ester body parts to create the vintage feel with modern comforts. Huffman has been retrofitting stretched Lincoln Town Cars for the past 17 years, and is doing the same for sedans.

“The market has changed and the demand for these types of vehicles has increased,” Huffman says. “If you look into purchasing a truly vintage vehicle, it becomes very cost prohibitive. This alternative allows you to offer the look of vintage while still providing luxury service without the fear of a vehicle being out of service while you are searching for parts.”

The Sedancia Royale retails for $85,000. It has a new engine, transmission, brakes, rotors, calipers, bearing, bushing, and rear end. The vehicle carries a three-year, 150,000-mile Ford warranty on the drive train. Legendary Performance is offering a special price of $59,500 to National Limousine Association members. Operators also can supply their own vehicles for conversion which will cost about $36,000.

What do operators say?

John Nasser of Nasser Limousine of Scranton, Penn., had his Lincoln Town Car converted by Legendary Performance. He liked the Excalibur look. Before working with Legendary Performance, Nasser did his due diligence and looked at all of the companies who were doing these types of conversions.

“I looked all over the web, went to many car shows, and visited owners of these conversions,” Nasser says. “I was disappointed with all of the vehicles that I had looked at. They were all so fake looking. The grills and hood ornaments were either plastic chrome or painted. The bumpers looked like push bars and there was no continental tire kit on the trunk. There was a multitude of inaccuracies that made them look like very cheap kit cars.”

Nasser came across Legendary Performance at a limousine show. “I liked his ideas off the bat,” he says. “He was telling me how everything is built by hand and that he manufactures the grill himself out of stainless steel, (not plastic). I felt very comfortable giving him my car and a deposit.”

Nasser now is a raving fan of Legendary Performance and his vehicle.  Mark Kingsdorf, owner of the Queen of Hearts, a premiere wedding planner in Philadelphia, says, “My brides love classic vehicles not only to show up with the bride and her dad, but also for the photo opportunity and the visual of leaving in a vintage vehicle. The retrofitted cars have an advantage over the true classics. Some of the old cars were not made for stop and go traffic that we see today.

Often, they do not have air and in some cases there isn’t room for mom to come along. I prefer using a retrofit of a new vehicle to create the illusion of authentic vintage when they are available.” The Sedancia Royale rents at a premium in most markets, but can be discounted in very competitive markets because of its low maintenance costs.

Anthony Puccia, owner of L.A. Limousine in Naples, Fla., added one to his fleet. “We call it the getaway car,” Puccia says. “I wish I had a nickel for every person who sees it and takes a picture of it. I would be rich. We’ve had it about a year and our wedding business is up 30% as a result of being able to offer this vehicle. We rent it out at $125 an hour for weddings. The vehicle is very cost efficient and it is easy to maintain. It has been very popular in our market.”


(334) 279-4824 or (334) A SWITCH.

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