“It’s a dream, really, and now it’s come true.”
One thing is for certain, there’s no forgetting this dream. The entire driveway of Kuljas Joshi’s home in Page is taken up by a behemoth of a car, all 12 metres of Chrysler 300C Super Stretch limousine.
Kuljas came over from New Zealand years ago to a job with NSW Police. He now heads up security at the ACT Law Courts, but fingers crossed, that’s about to become part-time.
“It all started when we were looking for a new car,” he explains.
“My colleague came past me one day in a limousine and asked if I wanted a ride. It was then we thought, ‘Why don’t we get our own?'”
Kuljas and Julie Marshall have gone on to start their own limousine business, dubbed Silver Fern Limousines. On 11 and 12 of June, they offered a minimum of three people the lift of a lifetime into Canberra for $25 per person.
“They’re a big deal in Sydney and Melbourne, but we thought we’d bring the experience here to stay.”
After looking around the marketplace to no avail, the business partners finally stumbled across the coach-built Chrysler from Set the Scenes Limousines in Penrith, Sydney, selling for about $70,000.
“We went up there, had a look, drove back down to Canberra and thought about it for a week,” Kuljas says.
“It turned out the owner was retiring and he offered us a package deal – the limousine and the business.”
Hands were shaken and Kuljas and Julie are now in the process of upgrading the car, website and social pages with Silver Fern branding.
“We’re in for the long haul and do everything we can from weddings to formals to parties to funerals to just a trip into town,” he says.
The Chrysler is powered by a six-cylinder turbo-diesel Mercedes motor, currently with 180,000 km on the clock. From front to back, it’s about 12 metres long, or “two and a half HSV Senators”. Either way, enough room to comfortably seat 12 in the party room.
A long, swirly leather couch lines one side and curves around the front, with a mini bar, music amplifier, and screens opposite. Colour-changing strips grace all the main contours while fibre optics blink out the impression of a starry sky on the roof. A privacy screen separates the driver and passenger cells. The mini bar can be stocked with champagne and chocolates, depending on the package.
“I hate to think what they were brand new,” Kuljas remarks.
Despite the blend of fibreglass and steel stretching from the nature strip to the carport, he describes the limo as “actually quite easy to drive”.
“You can drive it on a normal passenger car licence, but that said, it’s like having a big trailer – you have to go wider through the corners,” he says.
“People are good and courteous too, giving way and letting us manoeuvre our way through the roundabouts. We do have to be careful going over the speed humps so as not to knock the bottom.”
To clean, Kuljas has to take it through a truck wash. As for servicing, a conventional hoist is obviously out of the question, so it goes to a specialised place in Mitchell, where it can either go over a mechanic’s pit or put up on jack stands. The number of head turns on the street make it all worthwhile.
“Wherever we stop, we get people taking photos and videos with it,” he says.
“It’s magic. We get the thumbs up at every set of lights we stop at.”
So far, the response has been “overwhelming”.
“We’ve had customers comment on the service and the cleanliness of the vehicle – which is a big factor.”
Silver Fern Limousines is just one limousine for now, but Kuljas says they’re definitely looking to expand.
“I also have the last VF series of the HSV Senator as my weekend car, which also makes the perfect getaway car for weddings.”