Travelling by Limousine is the ultimate treat and they are a big part of special occasions worldwide. The idea of being driven by chauffeur has existed since the 1700’s. At this time the wealthy were driven in decorated carriages pulled by the most highly bred horses.
The History of the LimousineThe word Limousine is a feminine adjective from the French language and comes from the word “Limoges” a French province where it all started.
Limousines powered by engines were developed in 1902, their distinctive feature was that the driver was in a different compartment to the passengers.
In the original limousine designs in 1902 the driver sat outside the main part of the car under a covered hood that looked like the hooded cloaks worn by the people of Limoges at that time.
In 1916 the “Limousine” was defined by the Society of Automobile Engineers as a “closed car seating three to five inside with the drivers seat outside”. Limousines as we now know them are luxury sedan or saloon cars. If the chassis is extended this is known as the stretch limo.
In the 1920’s the designers of Limousines were as well recognised as the fashion designers of the day. Everyone knew names like Le Baron, Willoughby, Fleetwood and the luxury car industry took full advantage of the place that Limousines played in the lives of the rich and famous and also for formal occasions such as weddings and funerals across the classes. They were also used to transport the iconic Big Bands of the day when they were known as the “big band buses” By the 1930’s they were used extensively by hotels and governments to transport guests, heads of state and political figures. They are now used for many purposes to make an occasion unique and glamorous to the heavily armored limousines used for official purposes.
Rolls Royce, Bentley, Lincoln, Hummer, Cadillac, Chrysler, Mercedes are just a few brands of luxury car that have produced Limousines. The traditional versions were either Limousine Landaulet with a removable folding section over the passengers or the De Ville, which has a solid roof.
The ever-popular Stretch Limo is now made by several brands and features an extended chassis and capacity for more passengers. The driver and the passengers are often separated by a soundproof glass partition, which can slide across if the passengers need to talk to the Chauffeur. The partition provides total privacy for conversation and if the occasion is right, to allow a party atmosphere whilst ensuring a safe journey.
Many of the old classic limousines are still used and run by limousine companies who treasure their matchless style and quality. Rolls Royce limousines and Cadillac Wedding cars are luxurious and elegant whilst the stretch hummer provides a more glitzy “rock and roll” experience. Some more exotic designs commissioned mainly in the USA, sport an even longer chassis that can bear the weight of an operational hot tub!
Today Limousines are not only for the rich and famous, you can easily hire a limo out that suits your occasion and arrive relaxed and in style.