There are movie cars which are easy to recreate in your backyard, and there are movie cars which are all but impossible to recreate.
The Spirit of Nemo falls into the latter category. It replicates the extremely long and stylish car driven by Sean Connery in the 2003 film, “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”. It’s a six-wheeled, 24-foot long vehicle that instantly turns everyone’s heads, even if they’ve “seen everything under the sun”.
The Spirit of Nemo (also called the Nemomobile and the Nautilus car) is the result of countless hours of work put in by North Carolina-based builder, Ken Freeman.
Even for an enthusiast and expert like Freeman, making the Nemo was a monumental and incredibly involving task. He started out with two Cadillac limos, with a Cadillac 425 V8 under the massive 10-foot hood. In a bit of ingenuity, he thought up how to make the quad-steer front end–all four front wheels rotate when you turn the steering wheel–by linking the steering gear of both cars.
However, this was just a prop car; it was not practical. Freeman wanted the car to be roadgoing, and what he had made was not that.
To achieve that, he scrapped the Cadillac frames and replaced them with a custom frame which would be rigid enough for a car that long. As the car was a convertible, it needed reinforcement under the floor. However, it was too low to have an X-bracing reinforcement, so Freeman used steel I-beams from a dismantled bridge. To keep the massive hood from shaking, Freeman reinforced it with carbon fiber.
And he didn’t skimp when it came to decoration. He carved the elephants on the front of the car into a mold and plated them with aluminum and pewter. He did the same for over 80 other pieces spread all over the car, some of which he cast in a total of 18k gold. The Nemo features an automatic turbo 400 transmission, rear wheel drive and a big block Cadillac engine.
And Freeman realized his goal: it’s road legal in every state in the US. This 7,000-pound machine took over 6,500 hours to build, and it cost Freeman a lot of cash to make. But it’s worth it. This is the first and only replica of the Nemo in the world.