Exploring The History Of Limousines

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Exploring The History Of Limousines

Most of us are always awed by a limo as it fast or slowly drives by. And quite a few of the people have had the pleasure of riding in one. But do you know how the limos came about? Well, since the early 1700’s limousines have been the mode of transport used to stylishly and luxuriously get the rich and famous from point A to B.

Simply put, the concept of chauffeur driven vehicles dates back to the 1700s when horse drawn carriages were the in-thing. These carriages were overstated with gold and were drawn by the best of the horses. They were mostly used by the wealthy in the society. In the 1900s, some engine powered 2 compartment carriages came into being. These were chauffer driven, with the driver using the outside compartment and his charge, the other.

A brief history of the words “chauffeur” and “limousines”

The words “limousine” and “chauffer” have been in use since the 20th century. Carriages and trains in this century required professional drivers to manage the horses and the steam engine. Originating from the limousine region of France, both the driver and the passengers used over-sized hooded garments like those that were used by the shepherds to protect themselves from the weather. Later on, powered automobile drivers would use the same types of garments as they sat in the exposed cockpits, whilst their owners or masters rode in the rear seats in total comfort and luxury. This all later evolved to chauffer driven luxury autos that reflected a definite symbol of status, sophistication and class.

The first stretch limousine

Leaving behind the horse drawn carriages, the first stretch limousine was built by a coach company going by the name Armbruster in Fort Smith, Arkansas in the U.S. These cars were mainly used to transport the rich and the famous” big band” leaders like Benny Goodman and Glenn Miller, as well as orchestras and their musical instruments and equipments across the states. This being so, the early stretch vehicles were commonly referred to as the “Big Band Buses”.


1930s and 40s

The period between the 1930s and 1940s saw the introduction of Airport Stretch Coaches. These were produced for use by hotels throughout the states to transport their guests to and from the airports. Sightseeing companies that used to take groups of tourists on tours later started to make use of these stretch vehicles to transport sightseers all over the states. At around this time, stretch vehicles became the must have mode of transport by all Hollywood actors and actresses. They also became the practical mode of transport for the film crews and stage personnel around the set.


In 1962, Stageway Coach Company from Cincinnati, Ohio and Armbruster merged to form Armbruster-Stageway Coachbuilders. They went on to build the first 6-door funeral limousine in 1974.This vehicle was built on Cadillac chassis. They further went on to produce a product line that went by the name Lincoln Stretch Limousines. These vehicles were introduced to cater for the rising demand for Lincoln vehicles within the limousine and funeral industry. Note however that the general mission statement for the company and the cars was simply to move people from one place to another in larger vehicles.


Moving into the 1970s, stretch limousines became increasingly popular for use by who is who in the United States of America. Presidents, moviestars, corporate leaders and the famous, all started to use the now popular stretch limousines to move from place to another. Due to the increased popularity of these vehicles, more and more custom coachbuilders began building and trading in these cars all over the U.S. As a result, Armbruster-Stageway found the going tough and was bought out by Federal Coach in the late 1980s. Although this coachbuilders was bought out, the tradition it commenced when it come to building the vehicles has remained up-to-date.


The current stretch limousines are multipurpose, meaning that they are used for any purpose, for example to make an event something to remember. Besides, the current limousine can be custom-made on any other chassis that the owner prefers. When it comes to the accessories that can be included, the sky is the limit for the builders, and even for the owners.

All in all, while the current stretch limousine may look exclusive for use by the powerful and wealthy in the society, the proliferation of limo service providers has made the cars affordable and thus reachable to the ordinary folks.

Today, people are using these luxury vehicles while touring the city or to reach their destinations in unique styles. Best of all, there are many reputable limo service providers available to cater for everyone’s personal requirements, tastes and preferences. Furthermore, there are many different makes and models of stretch limousines that can be opted for by those looking for rides like no other, or ultimate taxi rides in luxury, style and comfort or even just to get the curious taste of the automobile history.

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