1908 Studebaker limousine with an open driver's compartment
1953 Rolls-Royce Phantom IV (coachwork by Hooper)
Hummer H3-based stretch limousine (circa 2005)

A limousine (/ˈlɪməzn/ or /lɪməˈzn/) is a large luxury vehicle typically driven by a chauffeur often with a partition between the driver's compartment and the passenger's compartment.[1]

A large and fancy car with a partition as well as greatly longer than standard and that is driven by a professional driver is described as a "stretch limo".[2]

In some countries like USA, Germany, Canada, a "limousine service" is a pre-booked hire car with driver, regardless of the type of vehicle. It also describes a large vehicle for transporting passengers to and from an airport.[1]

In German-speaking countries, a Limousine is simply a sedan, while a lengthened-wheelbase car is called Stretch-Limousine.

EtymologyEdit

 
The type of limousine hood or roof described in the text (1912 Vauxhall)

The word limousine is derived from the name of the French region Limousin. A particular type of carriage hood or roof physically resembled the raised hood of the cloak worn by the shepherds there.[3][4]

An alternate etymology has the chauffeur wearing a Limousin-style cloak in the open driver's compartment, for protection from the weather.[5]

The name was then extended to this particular type of car with a permanent top projecting over the chauffeur.[3] This former type of automobile had an enclosed passenger compartment seating three to five persons, with only a roof projecting forward over the open driver's area in the front.[6]

HistoryEdit

Rich owners of expensive carriages and their passengers were accustomed to their own private compartment leaving their coachman or driver outside in all weathers. When automobiles arrived the same people required a similar arrangement for their chauffeurs. As such, the 1916 definition of limousine by the US Society of Automobile Engineers is "a closed car seating three to five inside, with driver's seat outside".[7]

In Great Britain, the limousine de-ville was a version of the limousine town car where the driver's compartment was outside and had no weather protection.[8](p103) The limousine-landaulet variant (also sold in the United States) had a removable or folding roof section over the rear passenger seat.[8](p100).

In the United States, sub-categories of limousines in 1916 were the berline defined as "a limousine having the driver's seat entirely enclosed", and the brougham, defined as "a limousine with no roof over the driver's seat."[7]

CharacteristicsEdit

The limousine body style has a partition separating the driver from the rear passenger compartment.[5][8](p96) This partition includes a usually openable glass section so passengers may see the road. Communication with the driver is possible either by opening the window in the partition or by using an intercom system.

Limousines are often long-wheelbase vehicles, in order to provide extra legroom in the passenger compartment. There will usually be occasional or jump seat at the front of the compartment (either forwards-facing, rear-facing or able to face either direction).

Many nations have official state cars designed to transport government officials. The top leaders have dedicated and specially equipped limousines. Presidential state car describes the history of United States presidential limousines.

Stretch limousinesEdit

 
Lincoln Town Car stretch limousine

Stretch limousines are longer than normal limousines, usually in order to accommodate more passengers. Stretch limousines may have seating along the sides of the cabin.

A "stretch limousine" was created in Fort Smith, Arkansas, around 1928 by a coach company named Armbruster. Armbruster's cars were primarily used to transport famous "big band" leaders, such as Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman, and their bands and equipment. These early stretch limousines were often called "big band buses". Armbruster called their lengthened cars "extended-wheelbase multi-door auto-coaches". Their 12-passenger people movers were used by hotels, taxis, airlines, corporations and tour companies.[9]

Novelty limousinesEdit

A variety of vehicles have been converted into novelty limousines.[10] They are used for weddings, parties and other social occasions.[11] Another style of novelty limousine are those painted in bright colours, such as purple or pink.[12]

Vehicles converted into novelty stretch limousines include the East German Trabant, Volkswagen Beetle, Fiat Panda, and Citroën 2CV. There are even instances of Corvettes, Ferraris, and Mini Coopers being stretched to accommodate up to 10 passengers.

United StatesEdit

 
Lincoln Navigator stretch limousine

The last production limousine, by Cadillac, with forward-facing jump seats was in 1987 (with their Fleetwood Series 75 model), the last Packard in 1954, and the last Lincoln in 1939, though Lincoln has offered limousines through their dealers as special order vehicles at times. Several Lincoln Premier cars were also built, one being owned by Elvis Presley. Vehicles of this type in private use may contain expensive audio players, televisions, video players, and bars, often with refrigerators. The President of the United States has ridden in a variety of types of limousine stretching back to 1899.[13]

In the United States the most popular vehicles for stretch limousines conversion are the Lincoln Town Car, Cadillac XTS, Cadillac Escalade, Chrysler 300, Hummer H2, Ford Excursion, and the Lincoln Navigator.

United KingdomEdit

 
Division in a 1993 Bentley Turbo R
 
The division in a London cab, black occasional seats folded up to bulkhead

Due to the partition behind the driver, the London black cabs are a type of limousine. The jump seats, also referred to as taxi-tip-seats, usually carry advertising on the underside; the advertisements are visible to the passengers when the tip-seats are not in use.

Current limousine productionEdit

"Limousine service" hire carsEdit

In the U.S., Canada, and Australia, "limousine service" (also known as "car service") is the process of pre-booked hire of any car with a driver. The car is usually a luxury car, but not necessarily a limousine.


See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Definition of limousine". merriam-webster.com. 28 October 2019. Retrieved 6 November 2019.
  2. ^ "Definition of Stretch Limo". merriam-webster.com. Retrieved 6 November 2019.
  3. ^ a b Dyke, Andrew Lee (1920). Dyke's Automobile and Gasoline Engine Encyclopedia (Twelfth ed.). p. 582. Retrieved 27 June 2015.
  4. ^ Ayto, John (2009). Word Origins. A&C Black Publishers. ISBN 978-1-4081-0160-5. Retrieved 27 June 2015.
  5. ^ a b The Random House College Dictionary. Random House. p. 777. ISBN 0-394-43600-8. 1. an automobile having a permanently enclosed compartment for from three to five persons, the roof of which projects forward over the driver's seat in front...[< F, special use of limousine long cloak, so called because worn by the shepherds of Limousin, a former province in central France]
  6. ^ "Definition of limousine" (Complete & Unabridged Digital ed.). Collins English Dictionary. 2012. Retrieved 6 November 2019.
  7. ^ a b "What's What in Automobile Bodies Officially Determined". The New York Times. August 20, 1916. Retrieved 27 June 2015. Here it is, with other body types and distinctions, officially determined recently by the Nomenclature Division of the Society of Automobile Engineers
  8. ^ a b c Haajanen, Lennart W. (2003). Illustrated Dictionary of Automobile Body Styles. Jefferson, NC: McFarland. ISBN 0-7864-1276-3. Retrieved 1 January 2019.
  9. ^ Coachbuilt.com accessed July 19, 2018
  10. ^ "Dave's Classic Limousines Pictures: Novelty Limousines". Retrieved 27 June 2015.
  11. ^ Pedersen, Stephanie (2004). KISS guide to planning a wedding. DK Publishers. pp. 195–196. ISBN 978-0-7894-9695-9.
  12. ^ Naylor, Sharon (2004). 1000 Best Wedding Bargains. Sourcebooks. p. 198. ISBN 978-1-4022-0298-8. Retrieved 27 June 2015.
  13. ^ Huffman, John Pearley (19 January 2009). "The Secret Seven: The Top Presidential Limousines of All Time". Popular Mechanics. Retrieved 27 June 2015.