The Midnight Rider

The Midnight Rider is the world's heaviest and largest limousine, officially recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2004 and unbeatable to this day. It is also the unofficial most expensive limousine in the world and the world's fanciest, what with its swanky interior inspired by the Pullman Presidential railroad car used in the 1800s.

The story of the Midnight Rider is perhaps as interesting as a ride inside (or a close second), and it's been featured on a handful of US and international shows along the years. It is the brainchild of Pamela and Michael Machado of Midnight Rider Inc. from California, who wanted to build a limousine unlike any other in the world, one that would help guests relive the glory days of luxury railroad transportation.

For that, they looked to the Pullman railroad car used by President Grant, and they set out to build a limousine that would embody the styling of that era. This means no plastics, composites, veneers, imitations, powder coatings or staples used for the interior furnishes, but only authentic fabrics, polished brass railings and fixtures, and solid birch wood. The result is a sharp contrast to the exterior, and it's precisely that which gives this limo an extra edge.
The Rider is technically a tractor-trailer limousine, one that was 90 percent built in-house, by a team of only five people. Putting it together was done in phases over the course of 7 years, and most of the process was trial and error, as the team submitted the rig to various agencies for clearance. When it was eventually completed in the summer of 2003, the Rider came with a tally of $2.5 million, though the owners estimate it's double that amount today. In less than four years, it was paying for itself.

The limo is a 22-wheel rig attached to a 435 HP Cummins-powered Peterbilt truck. It's four times longer than an actual limousine (70 feet / 21 meters), twice as tall as two Escalades piled on top of each other, and plays the Allman Brothers' track that gave it its name on the horn. Weighing 25 tons, the Rider can do 90 mph (144 kph) on flat surfaces and 40 mph (64 kph) on 6% inclines, and can carry 40 passengers in extreme comfort. A larger party would probably fit, but the owners don't want to fill up every space and taint the experience.

And what an experience it is! The Rider has four entertainment areas: three lounges and a full-size bar, and comes with a 4-person crew to cater to guests' every wish: two drivers, a hostess, a bartender and an operations specialist. There's the Pullman Lounge, the Observation Lounge, the Fifth Wheel Lounge and the Jake Brake Bar, each with their separate sound system, so guests can jam to different tracks or can opt for varying entertainment content on the flat-screen TVs.
Interior space is at 416 square feet (38.6 square meters) across the four areas, separated by stairs. An interior phone system allows guests from the three lounges to call down to the bar and order drinks to be brought up to them. There's an open bar for all guests, for the duration of the entire ride, and the possibility to enjoy light meals and hors d'oeuvres. There is no upper limit for rides (the rig is road-legal and certified for travel across the U.S.), but there is a minimum of three hours for each trip.

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