The Evolution of Luxury Limousines Throughout History

Perhaps you’ve taken a limo ride in style on your high school prom night or that special wedding day, maybe even for your best friend’s bachelorette party. Whatever the occasion might have been, it’s unlikely that taking a ride in a limo is a regular occurrence for you. Unless of course you were born into royalty or an A-list celeb.


Whether you regularly take rides in limousines or you have never had the luxury of riding around in a limo, it’s pretty apparent that this vehicle is unlike any other just by looking at it. It’s not uncommon to wonder about how this longer-than-life vehicle came into existence and evolved into what it is today.


1902: The Luxury Limousine is Introduced to the World


Have you ever wondered about the name “limousine” and where it originated from? The word is clearly not of English origin, so where did it come from? In a small province of France called Limoges, the first ever engine-powered limousine came into existence in 1902. The word limousine originates from the vehicle’s place of origin, Limoges.


Just like the limos of the modern day, The limos back in the early 1900’s features a separate compartment for the driver. That compartment could be sealed off depending on the passenger’s wishes. Of course, the separated compartment and the entire design of the vehicle looked different back then, but the concept of passenger privacy still remains the same.


1928: The Invention of the Stretch Limousine


Although the privacy feature still remains true in limos of today, the limousine introduced in 1902 was actually the same size as a normal car. It wasn’t until 1928 that the first “stretch” limousine was introduced. Back then they were referred to as “big band buses” instead of limos. This name came about since these vehicles were most often used for transporting bands and their instruments.


1930s: A New Era of Airport Transportation


Starting in the early 1930s, limousines became the #1 method of transportation for traveling to and from the airport. Back then, it was a big deal to fly in an airplane, and certainly not everyone was able to do it. More specifically, air travel was most common for the rich and famous, meaning they could also afford luxury road transportation like limousines.


Later on in the 30s, limos began to be used for sightseeing tours in major cities, like New York and Los Angeles. Then after that, they became the mode of transportation for actors, actresses and other celebrities around the world. Presidents and government officials also became frequent passengers of limos, especially starting in the 1960s.


Limousines Today in the 21st Century


To this day, limos still remain to be a symbol of status, but this was even more true back in the early days of limousines. Common uses of limos in the 21st century include prom nights, wedding days, bachelor and bachelorette parties, and similar to the early days of limousines, airport transfers.

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