In some form or another, the concept of a chauffeured vehicle has been in existence since the 1700’s. Developed with the wealthy in mind, they started as horse drawn carriages, gilded in gold and pulled by only the finest animals.
The word limousine is the feminine adjective formed from the word Limoges which is the province in France that started it all.The notable feature that makes limousines different from other vehicles (or in this case carriages) is that the driver is in an entirely separate compartment from their fare.
The first automobile limousine developed in 1902 was designed so the driver sat outside under a covered compartment. Thus bringing us back to the origin of the word limousine, called that because this covered compartment physically resembled the cloak hood worn by those that resided in Limoges.
The first actual stretch limousine was created in Arkansas around 1928. They were often reffered to as “big band buses” because the were mainly used to transport famous big band leaders, their orchestras, as well as their instruments to various parts if the United States.
In the 1930′s Limousines really started to take off. They were used to transport guests of hotels from the airport to the hotel and also on different sightseeing tours.
Thus, the name “Airporter Stretch Coach” was born. After seeing the growing popularity of the vehicles, the movie industry immediately jumped on board. They used limousines to carry film crew and stage personnel around movie sets. During that time, limousines also became a common accessory for movie actors and actresses. You weren’t considered “it” unless you arrived in a stretch limousine.
Soon after, the six-door limousine was invented. These were typically funeral cars and were built on Cadillac Chasis’. Over time, limousines continued to become more and more popular. They were used to transport everyone from movie stars to the President of the United States wherever they needed.
Along with the comfort, style & other luxury benefits, limousines useage have grown in many countries (especially in the US) due to “no drink – drive” policies implemented by governments, meaning that travellers in vehicles can not have open alcohol containers and must be seperated from the driver.
Today, limousines are still used to shuttle the rich and famous, but are also designed to carry much larger numbers of people. The addition of new technologies and different types of vehicle available to stretch has led to a rise in the “new style” limos. Perfect for shuttling large numbers of people around to parties, clubs, weddings & wine tours.