A fancy carriage
Most people can picture a limousine but what actually makes a vehicle a limo? Simply stated, a limo is a luxury class vehicle, sometimes with an extended wheelbase, that is driven by a chauffeur. The driver and the passengers are also usually separated by a partition. The first limousines were actually built hundreds of years ago and depended on horses, not motorized horse power. The driver, even in the first automotive version of the luxury vehicle, sat in an open compartment that might or might not have been covered.
Always considered a symbol of class and luxury to the private individuals who own them, limousines are also available for virtually anyone or for any occasion. Many are owned by governments and large corporations or retained by businesses for the safe, comfortable and secure transportation of important people. Today, many rental services offer everyone the opportunity to travel in style.
Types of limousines
While the top of the line, luxury model of almost any make vehicle can be considered a limousine, there are several standard types of limousine.
- The Sedan Limousine is designed to seat 2 or 3 people comfortably and is a more comfortable form of transportation than a taxi cab or more convenient than driving on your own. This is the least expensive of the vehicles in a limo service fleet, but it provides a touch of luxury that executives, clients and other important people appreciate.
- The Stretch Limo, first built in 1928, is designed to carry 6, 8 or 10 people, although that may be a bit tight. During the 1930s, not only did the Big Bands use limos to travel, hotels provided limos to transport people to and from the airport, Hollywood studios used them to get their actors to locations and wealthy people began to use them as a symbol of luxury and status.
- The Super Stretch Limo takes the idea of a stretch limo just a bit farther and can fit 14 to 20 people. Due to the length of the vehicle, some models include a fifth door for easier access to all around bench seating. The size of super stretch limos makes them the ideal party car with the addition of high tech sound systems, TVs, bars and fancy lighting.
- SUV Limousines, in extended body and stretch versions, offer luxury with a bit more space. Makes like Hummer, Range Rover, Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln Navigator combine greater power and durability with elegant interiors for superior comfort and a smooth ride.
Another feature that limousines offer is enhanced safety for the passengers. Not only is a limo a luxury ride, it can also be armored and outfitted with bullet proof glass to withstand gunfire and small explosions. This is the most important consideration for many heads of state and wealthy businessmen and women who could be the target of violence. The presidents of the United States have ridden in specially armored limos since the end of the 1800s as have many other influential individuals.
Everyone can make a statement
The wonderful thing about limos today is that there is one for every taste, need and budget. For comfortable, convenient transportation or to make a splashy entrance at the special event, there is a limo that is perfect for you.