Partner Content: the History of the Limousine

Ever since the 1900s the limousine has always been a symbol of luxury and excess, but very recently the limo has seen its decadent reputation fall into disrepair as its commercialisation has seen it become associated with garish hen dos and high school proms.

The original limousine was simply a luxurious car containing a carriage in the back and a covered seating area at the front for the driver and accounted for much of the traffic on the roads at the time. Over the years, this relatively small car has evolved into the large stretched saloon models we are familiar with today.

In the 1990s and early 2000s, huge stretch limousines were synonymous with celebrity, and stars often turned up to film premieres and events in various extravagant models, most of which could seat at least nine people. It was this aspect of celebrity culture that catapulted the limousine into commercialisation, and limo companies began hiring out their vehicles to the general public. Limo hire is a big business in both the US and UK, and can return big profits if you can afford to invest in the vehicles and motor fleet insurance in the first place.

It’s now common for limos to be used at weddings, proms and for hen parties and stag dos. Perhaps a more masculine version of the limo is the Hummer model. The chunky exterior has a less feminine feel about it, and is often used in the same way as the classic stretch limo.  The interior of limousines is usually luxurious and lit up with coloured LED lights, as well as having space for refreshments and champagne should it be required. Rather than hiring stretch limos to get from A to B as celebrities once did, the general public usually hire the vehicle and driver for an hour at a time, and request to be driven around before arriving at their destination.

Now, we see fewer and fewer celebrities riding in stretch limousines, and instead it seems most of the rich and famous prefer the smaller models, much like the US Presidential state car (which itself has a long and decadent history as detailed in this article). It seems the stretch limousine in particular has now been handed over to the general public, no longer wanted by celebrities and public figures that more recently seem to prefer something a little less excessive.


~ by velofinds on October 1, 2009.