When I was a child, this particular question used to always pop up in my little head as to who really are these people riding in these pretty, large and absolutely longer than the usual cars? Growing up in urban area, it always fascinated me as to who were these limousine riders? Limousine itself was an exciting subject matter for me but far more than that, I was more curious about the people I could see inside it. I always wondered what they did? where they came from? and why they are using limousines in particular when there were so many other modes of transportation? Over the years, I have been around to see many things, they change and go, however the excitement of seeing a luxury town car or limousine in the streets is the same. Today, with added consciousness, I attempt to answer those questions that may be looming over the minds of many.
Even though limousine travel has come a long way today, owing to the advancements in technology and economy its definition in society amongst people and its denotations has never changed. Limousines have always been a symbolization of luxury and comfort. Even when looking back in time, limo were always a higher status marker, a symbol of prosperity and prestige and a means of higher class transportation projecting the splendor and lavishness accompanied in luxury lifestyle and comfortable living.
During the mid 19th century, limousine were primarily used by the ‘Royals’ and ‘Bourgeois’, the ruler class,aristocrat, rich and wealthy businessmen, political figures, legislatures and administrators. And when the success of Hollywood entered the scene, limousines were widely used by movie actors, actresses and celebrities. But before that, limousines were used by the big band leaders and orchestras with the intention of advertising their fame and fortune in various parts of the country. They were referred to as the “Big band bus”.
In the 1930’s when limousine started to rise on high, riders of the limousines were ‘tourists’ and ‘guests’ who were driven to and from the hotels and airport. This opened up an entirely new market for hoteliers in hospitality. Other tour operators and vacation renters joined in to offer exquisiteness and luxurious comfort in their services via offering limousines to their clients as a mode of transportation. In 1939 trend of presidential limousine started, it was “sunshine special” which was used by President Franklin D Roosevelt, Lincoln cosmopolitan and Bubble top was used by P. Dwight following the trend were President John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George Bush. And now Barack Obama occupying the 73% of use of limousine under his administration for the safety of diplomats. Holidaymakers often used limousine service for sight-seeing and city excursions, hence it was named ‘Airport stretch coach’. But then the technical advancements and exclusive amenities made available in limousines services gradually made its rental cost higher and completely out of reach of ordinary people.