First limousine ever made

The first limousine ever made was created in the 1720s, as far as history can tell. It was patterned after the Sedan Chair (a mode of transport which was carried by people) and it was used in pre-revolutionary France, probably as a means to chauffeur the upper class. Of course, there are no photographs of this limousine, because photography as we know it was not developed until the 1820s.

First Limousine Build
First Limousine Build

The word limousine actually derives from the French region Limousine. Apparently, this name was given to vehicles that could seat three to five people because the hood that covered the vehicles resembled that of the hood on the cloak used by shepherds in Limousine.

Horse-drawn carriages that could seat three to five inside were not uncommon throughout the mid-late 1700s and 1800s. Horse-drawn limousines were used to transport groups of people, however as far as we can tell they were not limousines in the traditional sense of the word – they lacked a completely separate compartment for passengers.

Horse-drawn limousines have enjoyed a renaissance in recent years and are typically used for weddings.

Who invented the limousine?

This is a very good question. We do not know who invented the first horse-drawn limousine, and unless we invent a time machine nobody ever will, however we do know that Armbruster Coach Company is considered to be the first true limousine company, having developed the first stretch limo in 1928.

Internal combustion limousines

The first petrol-powered limousines, or automobile limousines, were built in 1902 and were designed so that the passenger effectively sat outside under a covered compartment – this was to give the passenger privacy away from the chauffeur. Although history is quite hazy as to which manufacturer created the first ever fully enclosed engine-powered limousine, the 1908 Studebaker-Garford B limousine with its open driver’s compartment for the chauffeur is the most iconic limousine of the early 1900s. Very few of these limousines are known to exist today, and it could very well be that Studebaker was designing this limousine at the turn of the 19th century.

Another iconic fully-enclosed limousine of the early 19th century is the Winton Six, produced in 1915.

In 1916, the Society of Automobile Engineers published its definition of a limousine: “A closed car seating three to five inside, with driver’s seat outside.”
The first stretch limousine was created by a coach company called Armbruster in 1928. This concept took limousines to the next level, offering unrivalled space for passengers. This form of limousine back then was used to transport only the richest of passengers, and big band leaders, such as Glenn Miller.

Modern limousines

Modern Limousine
Modern Limousine

Modern limousines come in all shapes and sizes, and they’re more accessible than ever. Their use in the celebrity and corporate world is well-known, but they’re no longer considered to be a mode of transport reserved only for the rich and famous. That’s because unlike in the early 1900s, people rent limousines rather than buy them outright, unless one runs a fleet operation.

For only the rich and famous…

Historically, limousines were for the upper class. Nowadays, anybody can hire a limousine, but there are certain models out of the reach of even well-off people. The three most expensive limousines you can buy today are the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, which starts from $154,000, the Cadillac One (Government only), which starts from $300,000.