For many women, a dream wedding might not be complete without an elegant limousine to leave tongues wagging months after saying ‘I do.’
Grooms sweat the small stuff to hire limos to please their women. Limos don’t come cheap, but there is this dude from Kiambu on the outskirts of Nairobi who has a cheaper limo option, seeing as it is, he has designed one himself.
John Kimani’s 25-foot stretch black limo comes with all the features found in the original machine minus the logo, headlamps and other specs. The 55-year-old mechanical engineer, who lectured in city colleges for more than two decades, took more than five years to turn his dream into reality early this year.
“I was curious about things electronic in my childhood, but I found elegant limos irresistible. I realised that it costs an arm and a leg to import a limo. The lack of an assembly line locally made venture into this business,” said the man who is born and bred in Nyeri.
Kimani bought well-maintained Nissan Sunny B14s and started the process of interlocking them for more than five months before the limo was used by the first couple. “Initially, I thought it will not take much time or cost a lot, but around 25 men had to come in under my instruction and close supervision all the time,” explained Kimani.
Some of the parts that had to be changed include suspension springs, exhaust pipe, and braking system, as well as the fitting paint applied by a glass expert. Kimani’s limo comes with cosy seats, cabinet for champagne board, large led screen and air-conditioner adjusted to passenger specifications.
The interior finishing includes lights that change depending on the occasion, from purple, greenish to red, making the interior warm and conducive all the time.
Kimani recalled that, “Not long ago, the vehicle was parked outside a bank in Kiambu town. Unknown to me someone had alerted police that it was a security threat judging by the tinted windows and ‘unknown owner.’ I received call from the area OCPD advising me to park it elsewhere.”
That is not all.
“The first time it was hired for a wedding,” recalled Kimani, “the maids forgot to take photos with the newlyweds and concentrated on the limo. This also happens a lot when I drive it for service.”
Kimani charges Sh50,000 per day within the city and an extra Sh10,000 for towns outside the city. An original limo can set one back almost ten times that much.
Kimani says it’s easier to drive a truck than a limo, hence the need for a specialised driver and that aside, “I am planning to design other limos for other towns, not only as means to expand the business, but also to drive point home that with enough support, we can go the extra mile in the motor industry.”