Some time ago limousines were accessible only to the upper class because they were either too expensive or private and rented only to the special class of people. Now, when those times are past, everyone can rent a limo and oh boy do people rent it.
Whether you want to go to a special event such as a prom, a birthday or a simple night out with a bunch of friends and you just want to have fun and be seen, which you definitely will be, since there is rarely a person that will not turn its head when a loud, glamorous and shiny limo passes down the street. True, when people mention the word limousine they usually think about the class and the luxury it represents, but there is more to it than you can see in the movies and special events.
Let’s take a short tour through some fun facts about the most luxurious vehicle there is.
1. Limousine Origins
The very first limousine was built in 1902. The driver had to sit outside under a covered compartment, and it had the capacity of 4 passengers. Rich owners of expensive carriages were accustomed to their own privacy and were used to leaving the driver or coachman outside at all times.
When automobiles arrived, the same people required the same arrangement for their chauffeurs. Even the definition of the limousine by the US Society of Automobile Engineers is ‘’a closed car seating three to five people inside, with driver’s seat outside’’. In 1916, the same society sub-categorized the berline as ‘’a limousine having the driver’s seat entirely enclosed’’.
2. Did someone order a French cloak?
The name limousine originated from the word ‘’Limousine’’, which is a region in France. The region itself is best known for its local traditional outfit – a cloaked hood worn by shepherds for protection against the harsh weather.
Early automobile drivers used a similar hood to protect themselves, therefore, the automobile was simply called a limousine. Although the name was not changed since, the abbreviation for limousine – ‘’limo’’ – became very popular.
Apart from the French word for the limo, ‘’chauffeur’’, the limo driver title was also derived from French. It means the stoker since the early limousines were based on the steam-powered technology and they required the stoker to stoke the engine.
3. Is it hot, or is it just me?
Even though it sounds unusual now, the first automobiles didn’t have air conditioning.
The first modern air conditioners for limousines were built in New York and Chicago in 1939, and the first limo with built-in air conditioning was released the next year.
The clients could choose whether they want to have the air condition or not, and it cost an additional $274. The old system was not very efficient because it took about half of the trunk and there was no way to measure the temperature.
4. It’s a plane. It’s a train. It’s a limo!
According to the Guinness Book of Records, the longest limousine ever built was a 100 feet long Lincoln. It was made by Jay Ohrberg from California in 1997. If you are asking yourself why on Earth would someone need a hundred feet long car, the answer was quite simple; why not.
The limo was first built for advertisement, but since it was on display, many people wanted to rent it. The limo, because of its size and its 26 wheels, had two drivers; one on the front and one on the back. For it to turn, the middle part has to split up and turns into a hinge, so that it folds when it turns. This white limo appeared in many movies, shows, and commercials because of its uniqueness. It was also equipped with many amenities, such as a Jacuzzi hot tub, four televisions, air conditioners, two fax machines and more.
The limo was marked as the world’s longest vehicle and its record was not been beaten since.
5. Big Band Buses
Because of its luxury and uniqueness, the limo was irresistible to normal and famous people alike.
The first stretch limousines were introduced during the swing music era in 1928, built in Fort Smith, Arkansas, by an Armbruster Company. They were nicknamed ‘’big band buses’’ because they used to carry big bands such as Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, and Glenn Miller, as well as all of their equipment and instruments. BBB became so popular that many more musicians started using limousines for transportation.
6. Size does matter
Since the first limo could carry around 4 passengers at most, companies competed with each other who can make a limo with more space, while keeping the luxury, accommodation and most importantly drivability. Even though there are only two main groups, traditional and exotic, varieties are plenty.
Starting from a stretch limo that could hold up to 10 people, up to super-stretch limo that could easily grasp up to 20. Then there are custom made SUV limousines, manufactured to satisfy every client’s need for amenities and luxury. And for those that have a different taste, there are exotic limousines, which are often made from luxury or sports cars and even Minis.
7. In the driving seat
Since the limo is unique in its own way, the passengers are mostly behaving in a somewhat special way, to say the least. The driver’s seat is separated from the passenger’s part, but nonetheless, passengers and drivers get harsh with each other’s, therefore, according to the laws, it is important to hire the designated driver for the comfortable journey. Each company trains their own drivers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and aside from training them how to drive the limo, they are training them on customer service.
Having a good relationship with your client is of utmost importance, and drivers are expected to meet their expectations by performing well in the job and catering to their needs.
8. All shapes and sizes
If you thought it can’t get any weirder, you were wrong.
The fastest limo in the world can hit 170mph. It’s a Ferrari limo and it can seat up to 8 people. It is 20 feet long and it has 400bhp.
The most expensive limo to be built costs around $14 million. It is owned by the Sultan of Brunei, it was used for his wedding day and it is 24-carat gold plated.
The heaviest limo in the world is called the ‘’Midnight Rider’’ and it weights staggering 22.933kg. Also, the horn of this vehicle plays ‘’The Midnight Rider’’ by the Allman Brothers.
When it comes to height, the tallest one is 3.33m tall. It’s a vintage white stretched sedan and has 2 engines and 8 monster truck tires, setting it 30cm of the ground level to climb into.