The History of the Limousine

Limos have actually been in use for longer than we might assume. The first automobile limousine, built in 1902, was designed so the driver sat outside under a covered compartment. We’re looking at 110 years of chauffeuring and transporting millions of people, wealthy, middle class and more frequently today, anyone needing safe, reliable transportation. Although the first limo in 1902 was seen in France, we can thank America for giving us the more modern stretch limo in the sense of the word. The first “stretch limousine” was created in Fort Smith, Arkansas around 1928. So what actually defines a limousine in the first place? The limousine body style has a divider separating the driver from the rear passenger compartment.

The more traditional definition of a limousine is a car stretched out to seat multiple passengers with a passenger compartment to contain the usual forward-facing passenger seat but with a substantial amount of foot room. Today, it’s rare to see a traditional limousine as stretch limos have taken over in popularity and convenience.

Today the limousine and chauffer industry has evolved to include a variety of different vehicle manufacturers, exotic designs, and large buses. We’ve even seen novelty designs like the East German Trabant, or VW Beetles stretched out to accommodate more people. You’ve probably seen them too, pink, blue, crazy designs or outside accessories. We’re a long way from the early 20th century when limos were used as chauffer vehicles for 4-5 people. Today some seat up to 25 and are so eccentric, they could be considered traveling nightclubs. It’s safe to say as long as modern technology continues to evolve, so will the limousine. More and more vehicles are being stretched out and the envelope pushed along with it. Who knows what we’ll see in the future.

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