Spending is estimated to advance another 7.1% in 2018 and will expand to $1.7 trillion total by 2022.
Kevin Boulley, co-owner of family-owned A Limo and Sedan Service in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada, knows if you want to succeed, you first have to find a niche. For him, that meant seeking out rare vehicles to comprise his fleet.
Dare To Be Different
Originally, Boulley had purchased a Lincoln Town Car because he was trying to break into the funeral business. After a while, however, he realized it wasn’t really paying off.
“I even painted it a high metallic black to try and make it look even a little bit different than every other Lincoln out there,” he says.
His penchant for standing out was what moved him to start A Limo and Sedan Service in April 2013. “Back in the day, I used to build a lot of hot rods. I worked for another company for four years and decided it was time to go on my own. Everyone would call and ask if we had the Chrysler 300, Hummers, anything but the Lincolns,” he says.
In his search for something different, he came across a Chrysler 300, but not just any Chrysler 300. This one was the longest available in Canada. It measures a whopping 180 inches in length, which is only permitted because it was built in the country.
The first owner commissioned the 300 for personal use, but his company went bankrupt before he could see it completed. When the call came saying it had been finished, the man who had taken over the company didn’t even know it was being built. He had the car shipped out to Alberta from Ontario, where it sat in a storage unit for a long time.
“I bugged him enough that he eventually let me buy it off of him,” Boulley says. With only 3,700 miles and a paint job that turns from silver blue to charcoal depending on how the sun hits it, this was the perfect start to Boulley’s eclectic fleet.
Another vehicle Boulley is particularly proud of is his 1964 Cadillac 75 series, which he found after doing tons of research. Built in California, the Caddy was only allowed in Canada because of a grandfather clause (a provision in which an old rule continues to apply to some existing situations, while a new rule will apply to all future cases).
“It was at a builder in Toronto getting work done. We found out it had been repossessed from the previous owner. I kept trying as hard as possible to find out what the repo bill was and how I could eventually own it,” Boulley says. “The original owner had to bring it to a shop and have a lot of the welds taken out and re-welded by a Canadian to meet the border standards.”
With upgraded suspension and brakes, the Caddy was stretched in 2010 and is almost 40 feet long. “It’s old enough where they can’t kick it out, but another one will probably not be allowed to come into Canada.”
Canadian regulations make things difficult for those who want to expand their fleet past the usual livery staples. “The only thing that can come in without any problem is almost any Ford as long as it’s under 140 inches and one model of Cadillac as long as it’s under 130 inches,” Boulley says. “Other than that, we could never get a BMW or something like that. Even the Hummers you guys have in the states, there’s no way.”
Other noteworthy vehicle in Boulley’s possession is a F-650 Mammoth, which had to be inspected and registered as a bus instead of a limo, and party buses he builds himself. He used to work at an RV shop and had plenty of experience taking out rugs and putting in ceramic flooring. Now, he upfits Ford F-450 vans and makes his own entertainment poles. “I figured if I can do it to an RV, why can’t I do it to a bus?”
Most of A Limo and Sedan Service’s customers are retail, although Boulley is looking into corporate business and airport runs as well. He also has two Lincoln Town Cars with more than 372,800 miles (that still run like they are brand new) in his fleet for this purpose.
However, what makes the business really interesting is how Boulley rakes in high-profile clientele. Originally, he contacted a promotion company and offered his services for free. Although they had been working with a much larger company for about seven or eight years, they decided to give Boulley’s company a shot.
“After we did our first run with them, they asked if we were willing to go anywhere in Alberta a celebrity would want to go,” he says. “Naturally, we agreed. We are going to be signing our second year contract with them in the next couple of months.”
Some of the celebrities he’s chauffeured include Danny Trejo, Rick and Kelly Dale from American Restoration, Dan and Laura from Storage Wars, Horny Mike from Counting Cars, a variety of stars from The Young and The Restless, and a bunch of the Bachelors from the show of the same name.
Aside from catering to celebs, the company also rents the Caddy out for wedding photo shoots and to draw attention at grand openings of businesses, Boulley says. “We mainly do it for celebrities when they are headed to an event to sign autographs, but also for car shows and parades as well. We were actually just asked by a rapper if he could use it for a music video.”
Word To The Wise
Boulley has a few words of advice for those who want to follow his fleet lead: “Rare vehicles are great, but prepare to be busy. I can pull up to a gas station with the Caddy and be done within five minutes, but it takes about an hour to leave no matter where I go because everyone wants to talk about it and look at it. Also, be careful who you let ride in them. Don’t ever rent out a vintage vehicle for parties. It’s very hard to find a new part if something gets broken.”
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