At the onset of the trend, limousines were exclusive to the wealthy elite of society, the upper echelon consisting of movie stars, businessmen, and politicians. They were considered a symbol of status and power to them.
To be fair the connotation still remains true today despite the thousands of parents who rent limousines for their teenagers for prom. Riding in a limo is a social status symbol even if it is now accessible to the general public and movie stars alike.
Even with such developments, there are still some facts about this luxurious vehicle that are still shocking to most.
1. The first ever limousine was built in 1902 and had a maximum capacity of 4 passengers. Needless to say they were not as stretched out as the versions we have today and with good reason as they were exclusive to a few people at first.
2. Due to the nature of the people who could afford limos in the beginning, the chauffer’s seat was built outside the main compartment to give passengers their privacy.
3. Despite the name, there is no actual brand called ‘limousine’ rather the term is used to refer to the type of car which possesses certain characteristics including partition between the chauffeur and passengers compartments and its outstretched body.
4. The word ‘limousine’ is derived from the Limousine region in France with the initial design resembling a traditional cloak and hood worn by shepherds for protection against the elements. The name has never changed but the popular abbreviation ‘limo’ has been widely accepted.
5. A limo driver is called a chauffeur which is also French meaning stoker, referencing operators of steam engines.
6. A vehicle cannot be called a limousine unless it has a chauffeur.
7. Limos were the first automobiles to have built-in air-conditioning.
8. 1928 was the year stretched limousines were introduced and were used by big bands as transport to get to concerts for example Glenn Miller would travel with his orchestra and their instruments in the vehicles.
9. According to the Guinness World Book of Records, the longest limo was built in 1997 in California. It was 100 feet long and among other things had a swimming pool, Jacuzzi, king-sized bed, helipad and two fax machines.
10. Two popes drove in limos; Pope Pius XII owned a Ghia and Pope Paul VI owned two Imperials; a 1965 and 1966 model.
11. Many brands are making their own versions of the limousine while the most popular ones are the Lincoln Navigator and SUV Limo, there are also other brands that have made the leap including Ferraris, Mini Coopers and pickup trucks limos.
12. KAZ, an Italian-Japanese partnership, has invented the electric limousine which uses large-sized lithium-ion batteries. It has six electric engines and cost 4 million dollars and 5 years to make.
13. The Midnight Rider has set the record as the heaviest limo in the world, weighing in at 25 tons.
14. Limos are divided into two categories; traditional and exotic.