Limousines are breathtaking. They are larger and more luxurious than regular cars and hence more expensive. Until recently, they were reserved only for rich and powerful individuals. Today we still have presidents, businessmen, celebrities and other VIP persons riding in often their own limousines, but, fortunately, they are affordable even to us mere mortals. At least some of them, since there are countless of limo models many of which are worth a king’s ransom.
Limousines are pleasurable to our eyes, yes, but the best thing about them is actually hidden inside. In this post, first we will teach you a short history lesson, about the origin and evolution of limousine interior and exterior, and then we will let you weep over the images of some of the best ones
The origin of limousines
Limousines are not a novelty. They date back to the 1700s, except they weren’t motorized vehicles then, of course. They were pulled by some horsepower, though. Usually two. Does this ring a bell? Yes, the first limousines were actually horse carriages.
What differentiates limousines from other road traffic vehicles is that they have a driver, or if you will, a chauffeur, who seats in a separate compartment and gives privacy to the passengers. Do you see the connection between this and the word limousine? We know you don’t, so here comes the story.
Well, as said above, wealthy had always had a thing for being driven in a private vehicle with a personal coachman. It was especially popular in Europe, where the word ‘limousine’ comes from. To be more precise, it comes from France. In France, there is a region placed in the foot of the Massif Central named Limousin. The weather there is harsh, winters are long and cold and it snows a lot.
In the past, shepherding used to be the main occupation there. In order to protect themselves from such weather conditions, shepherds in the Limousin region wore cloaks with large hoods. This compartment of the first limousines was designed in such a way that it resembled a raised hood of the shepherds’ cloaks. And since the first engine-powered limousine was invented in 1902 also in France, in a province Limoges, today we have a French name for these beasts on wheels.
In 1928, in Arkansas, USA, the first actual stretch limousine was designed by a coach company named Armbruster. They were mostly used to transport famous musicians, bands, their orchestras and instruments, and were known as “Big Band Buses”. In the 1930s limousines gained their meaning and purpose they still have today – to transport guests of the hotel to and from the airport, corporate men to their companies, as well as to transport tourists to various sightseeing tours.
Evolution of limousine interior
Like everything else, limousines have been evolving over time. They started with extra legroom in the passenger compartment and occasional jump seat facing either forwards, rearwards or were able to face either direction. In the 1940s, manufacturers and coachbuilders enlarged funeral homes to stretches with two or three rows of seats facing forwards. The first six-door funeral cars were introduced in 1974, to make getting in and out easier to families of the decedent.
Today, limousines come with various luxuries. They were the first vehicles equipped with air conditioning (1933). Many limousines include intercom systems so that passengers can communicate with the limousine driver without lowering a privacy barrier. Since the late 1980s and early 1990s, limousine interiors have almost by default been equipped with TVs, telephones, sound system, rope lighting, and minibars. Along with the technology, the limousine interior has been evolving, too.
TVs got flat, satellite dish, computers and game consoles were built in, rope lighting upgraded either to mirror ceiling and chandeliers or to blinking lights and neon tubing. For party maniacs, there are limousine buses with a dance floor, a disco ball and refrigerator full of beverages.
The most luxurious limousines have swimming pools with diving boards and sun deck. And lovebirds can hire a limousine with a private room and king size bed, fireplace and a hot tub. Can you just imagine your first wedding night in that?
Best limousine interiors
The Aventador Stretch Limo by Lamborghini
The S-600 Pullman by Mercedes-Benz
The Midnight Rider
Batman Black Hummer Limo
Ferrari Stretch Limousine
Rolls-Royce Phantom Limelight Collection
Diamond Lounge Limousine
These are only some of the many various limousine interiors. Manufacturers keep upgrading and developing them rapidly. There is Formula One Singapore Grand Prix limousine, as well as a jet plane converted into a limousine. And who knows what wonders in the world of limousine will be induced by the future developments of technology.