Who doesn’t geek out just a little bit when a limo rolls down the street? Whether you’re used to taking a VIP limousine service to cruise around town or you’ve yet to ride in one, here are some fun facts about the world’s most luxurious automobile. But remember, limos aren’t just for the rich and famous.
1. The limousine took its name for the historic province of Limousin in France. Here’s why. This region was best known for a traditional outfit that featured a hooded cloak the local shepherds wore to shield themselves from nasty weather conditions. Since the covered cab of this automobile looked so much like the hood, people simply started calling it the limousine.
2. The luxury limousine was first developed in 1902. The interesting thing about these early models is that since they were designed to give passengers privacy, they were built so that the poor driver sat in a separate open cab, shielded only by a roof. (Let’s hope passengers in the early days of limo service were good tippers, since their driver was exposed to rain, wind, and snow.) In 1916, the Society of Automobile Engineers published this definition of a limousine: “A closed car seating three to five inside, with the driver’s seat outside.” Luckily for today’s chauffeurs, the driver’s section is only separated by a sound partition today that can be raised and lowered at the push of a button.
3. The first limousine was built in Fort Smith, Arkansas in 1928 by the Armbruster Company, who was well-known for building high quality coaches. The term ‘stretch’ is due to the body of the automobile looking as if it has literally been stretched out to seat more passengers with a whole lot of extra foot room.
4. Originally referred to as ‘buses’, these first limos were the ride of choice for Big Band musicians from the 1920s to the 1940s. Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman made these ‘Big Band Buses’ popular by riding around town in them as well as using them to haul their band and instruments to gigs.
5. The word ‘limousine’ refers to the characteristics of the vehicle, not the brand. Most notably, the extended body, the privacy partition, and the luxurious accommodations for the lucky passengers.
6. Modern limousines come in a variety of shapes and sizes including limo buses, vans, and even SUVs. The latter is available in two sizes, the 140-inch model that carries 14 passengers and the 200-inch one that can hold up to twenty-four people. What’s the difference between a limo and a super-limousine? It boils down to capacity. A limo typically seats ten passengers while a super limousine holds up to twenty or so people.
7. Limousines were the first to use air conditioning a whopping twenty years before it was available in mass produced sedans. The Packard Motor Car Company of New York developed luxury automobile air conditioners in 1939, which were released the following year in 1940. This early system wasn’t very efficient, and it took up about half the trunk space.
8. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the world’s largest limousine is 100 feet long, a white vehicles manufactured in 1997 by Jay Ohrberg. This super-sized ride features twenty-six wheels, a Jacuzzi, four TVs and a couple of fax machines, and a middles section hinged to fold to allow for turns.
9. Some of the most extravagant limousine sport swimming pools with diving boards, helicopter landing pads, satellite dishes, and even king-sized beds.
10. While there are plenty of affordable limousine options on the market, some of the most extravagant, such as a Rolls Royce or Bentley, come with a price tag of a million dollars or more.
11. GM and Ford produced the SUV limousine to cater to VIPs who wanted the latest in luxury amenities. In the 1990s, early safety regulations required that SUV limos could be no more 120 inches long, which maxed out their capacity at seating only ten passengers. SUVs are very popular with VIPs as well as the general public who want to attend special occasions in style.
12. Luxury limos have become even more popular due to drunk driving laws. A chauffeur is the best way to make sure you have a designated driver.
13. Limousine service is the ultimate must when dealing with VIP clients, whether their destination is the red carpet, a private event, or a public gala.
14. Ever wonder what’s so special about the President’s limo? Nicknamed ‘The Beast’, it runs on diesel fuel, is replaced every four years, only the driver’s window open, it has night vision cameras, and packs plenty of fire power in case the need ever arises. Security is off the charts, with five inches of bulletproof glass windows, flat-run tires, steel plates and foam insulation around the gas tank that protect against explosions, and a special seal to prevent chemical attacks. The Secret Services provides top-notch limo service, as would be expected.
15. The Lincoln Navigator is the most popular limousine for hire. (Executives favored the Lincoln Town Car as transportation to and from airports until it was discontinued.)
A & G Worldwide Chauffeur Services is the top name in VIP limousine service along with being the best affordable limousine company. Their main fleet is located in Los Angeles, but they provide luxury limousine service across the entire United States.