In Britain when we talk of a limousine we tend to mean a stretched limousine, a vehicle with a long wheelbase that really stands out on the road. Us Britons have adopted the limousine as a vehicle synonymous with UK partying, demanding the services of a limo driver for birthdays, weddings, hen parties, stag parties, proms and many other joyous occasions.
It is due to the size of the long limousine that we have built up a connection with the car, feeding our need to feel important when celebrating prolific events.
However, what we mean when we say ‘limousine’ is very different from what the American’s define a limo as, with the word referring to a large car in which the passengers are partitioned from the driver. What we would simply call a chauffeur car or an executive car the Americans would brand a limo.
There are many ideas about where the word ‘limousine’ came from with certain countries claiming to have come up with the word, especially the French.
Various scholars argue that ‘limousine’ originated from the Limousin region of France where shepherds would use an over-sized, hooded coat to protect themselves from the weather. This later resembled the covering of a horse-drawn carriage. Much later the word was used to describe an automobile body with a permanent roof that extended over the open driver’s compartment.
Where we are used to having a roof over our driver’s seat the original automobiles did not, with the luxury of a overhead covering being exclusive to the passengers.
Another hypothesis is that the name was given by Charles Jeantaud, born in Limoges in 1843. He was the creator of this type of bodywork that applied to the first comfortable car ever made.
As you can see, the word partook on a long journey to mean what it does today with its true history unknown to many.
Which do you believe to be true? Leave your commends below.