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21 Jan, 2010 10:05

Sheikh’s envy! Rolls-Royce Phantom found in Kazakhstan’s boondocks

If it looks like a Rolls-Royce Phantom, drives like a Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and has a 24-year-old mechanic at the wheel, then it’s probably a Kazakh-style “Pimp My Ride” in action.

When the swan-white posh sedan replica turned up on the streets of the Kazakhstan city of Shahtinsk, its 59,000 residents were puzzled.

The replica luxury automobile was made by hand by its proud owner Ruslan Murkanov, a professional auto mechanic. The young man didn’t have $300,000 to spare for an original Rolls-Royce, but had plenty of free time and skill to recreate one from scratch.

The chassis of the model is from a second-hand Mercedes E-Class, which his friends delivered from Germany for next to nothing. Ruslan overhauled it and fixed it up just like new.

The body was all made by hand from plaster covered by glass fibers. The most challenging part was finding low-profile wheels and an original Rolls-Royce logo.

All in all, the project cost him about $3,000, Ruslan says, not to mention the effort it took to convince traffic police that the car is roadworthy.

It is worth mentioning that the Kazakh imitation is smaller than the original Rolls-Royce Phantom, but the difference hasn’t diminished the creator’s hope of selling it for a tidy profit so that he can start a new project – a black Rolls-Royce.