Parallel parking in Stephen and Joy Katterfeld’s 1978 Dodge truck is pretty much out of the question - unless you have an entire city block.
The Newman Lake couple’s 38-foot flatbed limousine, two years in the works, was completed on Thursday afternoon, just in time for this weekend’s USA Motorsports Monster Truck Show at the Spokane Arena. The event began Friday and concludes Sunday.
The $60,000, powder-blue “Dodge Thunder” is one of the show’s featured attractions. It seats eleven people, comes fully-equipped with two TVs, and can haul a full-sized car on its bed.
“We do a little local racing,” Stephen says of his decision to build the extended truck rather than just a standard limo. “I’m a new father - I have kids 5, 4 and 3 years old - and we wanted to have something we could go to races with in style.”
Katterfeld, a hay farmer, was weaned on automobiles. His father was a race car driver and car designer in Pittsburg, and he remembers his childhood revolving around cars. He began racing motorcycles when he was 12, then graduated to go-carts and cars.
A young Stephen had to wait until his shoes had holes in them before he got a new pair.
“But if we needed a new racing harness, we had it right away,” he says.
This isn’t the first limousine-truck Stephen has built. It also isn’t the biggest - when he worked for a limousine outfit in Southern California 10 years ago, he built a 45-footer. But it is the first four-wheel-drive limo he’s ever done.
Randy Baker, a friend who lives in Tum Tum, helped sand the truck’s surface, buff its light-blue paint, and install the plush grey seats.
A body man for 13 years, Baker restored a ‘37 fire engine and helped paint the bus the Spokane Chiefs use for road trips.
“But this is one of a kind,” Baker says.
Strewn about the Katterfeld property this week were a variety of other cars that will be in the monster-truck show this weekend.
One, which will be in the demolition derby, is painted like the Batmobile.
There is also a Ford Fiesta, painted to look like an ambulance, that wil be in the monster truck show’s roll-over contest. “Nurses wanted - inquire inside” is painted on its exterior.
All eyes eventually wander back to the Dodge, glistening like a giant blue whale out in front of the Katterfeld’s home.
There’s only one thing missing from the truck, but Joy Ketterfeld isn’t griping.
“Everyone else has a hot tub,” she says. “But we decided we wanted to have a limousine that you could haul with.”