If the truth be told the concept of someone being chauffeured has been around for well over 300 years now. Many horse-drawn carriages during the 1700’s were solely for the use of the rich, who would wish to travel in ultimate luxury. The practice of chauffeuring people around first began in the French province of Limoges and this where the word limousine stems from. The main feature that differentiates a limousine from a normal vehicle (or a horse-drawn carriage in this case) is that the driver sits in an entirely different carriage to his passenger.
Stretch Limos and Engine Powered Limos
The first limousine that was powered by an engine came into existence in 1902. The driver actually sat outside in a compartment that was covered. This compartment and the way in which it was covered had an uncanny resemblance to the residents of Limoges from many years before who typically wore hooded cloaks. It wasn’t until 1928, however, that we saw the first stretch limo in Arkansas. The very first stretch limos were often referred to as “Big Band Buses”, as this happened to be what they were used for. Members of an orchestra or band would be transported, along with their instruments, around the country.
It wasn’t until the 1930s that the limousine as we know it today started to gain popularity. Limos were often used for sightseeing tours and to take guests from their hotel to the airport and vice versa. In fact, the very first limousines of the 1930s were often referred to as “Airport Stretch Coaches”. The limo gained in popularity, so much so, that it eventually became an integral part of many movie sets. Limos were used to transport members of the crew and cast to various parts of the set and it wasn’t too long before the actors and actresses saw this as an ideal way to travel. In fact, this is where the use of limos became tied in with someone’s status – if you weren’t driven around in a limo, you were a “nobody”.
The Modern Era
The limousine with six doors was soon seen, although these were originally funeral cars. However, the popularity of the limo grew and grew and the rich and famous and various Presidents became used to being chauffeured around in a limousine. Limos were soon becoming known for their style and extreme luxury, but they also became increasingly popular due to the number of governments implementing no drink-drive policies. In fact, certain countries said that alcohol could only be consumed in a vehicle if the passenger was separated from the driver… just as they are in limousines.
As we come right up to the current day, limousines are still viewed as a luxurious mode of transport, mainly favoured by celebrities. However, with that being said, they increasingly can carry a much larger number of people and are therefore proving to be popular for parties, weddings, and for clubs. There are many different styles of limos now available and they can typically be hired by the hour or day. This is now the ultimate way for larger groups to get around and enjoy the many technologies and additional benefits that come from travelling in a limo.