New York City, America’s limousine capital and home of major coachbuilders, also happens to be home to a smaller, personalized coachbuilder, New York Custom Coach. Andy Perillo, head engineer of New York Custom Coach incorporates a personal interest in building 60 custom limousines a year for both livery services and New York’s affluent personalities.
New York Custom Coach produces a stretched limousine in six to eight weeks. Each car is individually hand crafted, not a production line vehicle. The client knows what he wants and the company delivers the goods. Designing and sculpturing a vehicle around a customer’s concept is how New York Custom Coach was born.
Perilio explained the extended conversion process step-by-step through the company’s eyes.
“The structure is the backbone of a limousine. Extending the chassis and body is critical to the point of supporting the extension with double boxing the chassis and the lower rocker arm and upper roof rails to ensure the strength and flexibility of the vehicle. The center extension is the weakest point of the car,” he said.
New York Custom Coach installs a steel crash impact bar to protect against side impact. The company offers two types of extended conversions, a single cut or a double cut body style. The normal single cut extension runs between the front door and rear door. The double cut extension is adjacent to the front door, rear door and also the rear quarter section behind the rear door. The double cut process allows the rear door to be moved up 10 inches to allow the rear seat to be hidden and permit easy entry between the rear seat and companion seats.
New York Custom Coach installs four new coil springs computerized for the weight of the vehicle. According to Perillo, Cadillac has a level ride system in the rear end, while Lincoln has four gas-charged shocks which are capable of handling the return “shock.” Springs are constructed to carry the weight and shocks are used for the return “shock.”
The Hollis, New York firm has incorporated a computerized balancing process which allows them to check variables in the drive train while the driveshaft is in the car. “In this process, we first locate the vibration problem in the shaft, rear end or transmission. Then we place the information into the computer and counterbalance the case of unbalance in the shaft so as to coordinate the sounds of the transmission and rear end. We guarantee results below one mil of variance,” Perillo said.
Incorporating a wiring system into a limousine to accommodate options as television, air conditioning and heating systems. New York Custom Coach designed independent wiring, and heavier gauge wire to handle the extending load harness for each rear accessory. “Each separate harness is controlled by thermal over circuits, not fused blocked,” Perillo said.
Filters are used to minimize high ignition frequencies in the car, and a special antenna leads to pick up signals more clearly. To secure the operation of the vehicle, New York Custom Coach installs a dual battery system which has a primary and a secondary battery. “If the primary battery is weak, we installed a push button switch to transfer to the independent secondary battery to start the car,” he said.
A separate air conditioning and heating unit is installed to handle the extra space in the extended vehicle. The first step in achieving optimum air conditioning and heat temperature is to fully insulate the vehicle. Insulation helps to protect the vehicle from outside variations in temperature. The air conditioning and heating unit must have the capacity to cool or heat the area.
Also a major factor in achieving true cooling or heating capacities is to install a fan in front of the radiator and condenser to keep the temperature normal. “New York Custom Coach achieves maximum control of the air conditioning and heating unit through the use of a vacuum-activated switch, instead of manual cable drive which doesn’t allow true flow of water for heat, and freon for air conditioning,” he said.
“We have achieved the ultimate design and cosmetic radiance. Through pioneering designs and New York City testing, New York Custom Coach offers a 24-month warranty on coach work and a 60,000-mile warranty on the driveshaft.” he said.
“The new 1985 D-body Cadillac is a new challenge,” Perillo stated. “D-body has a number of inherent problems: first is the transmission which is front-wheel-drive. This transmission will not have torque capacity to pull the extra weight. New York Custom Coach is researching the torque converter and drive gears to strengthen the transmission.
“Second, D-body suspension will not be able to withstand the weight of the extended body. This type of suspension is a ‘tower shock,’ one piece shock and spring unit. New York Custom Coach has designed a total new gas-operated shock surrounded by a strengthened coil spring, Perillo explained.
“Third, extending the body, New York Custom Coach will reinforce the body at critical stress points to accommodate extending of the D-body vehicle.”