The Origins

We might as well let it out right away. Who made the first limousine, a question
posed by Jean Henri-Labourdette, a prominent Parisian coachbuilder who learned the
art in 1905 from his father, goes unanswered here: “Who, then, was the first to
baptize this type of automobile carriage?”

[But one thing we know, the limousine has always been
and always will be, the stuff of legend…]

Orig-02.JPG (26075 bytes)

The first 3/4-enclosed limousine, 1901

The carriage was a sure symbol of status — and sex appeal. In an outpouring of
enthusiasm worthy of Madison Avenue’s best, Jean de La Bruyère wrote,

“When a society lady hears the noise of a carriage stopping at her door she sparkles
with life and goodwill towards the occupant without knowing who it is; if from her window
she has seen a magnificent team and liveries, if several rows of perfectly gilded studs
have dazzled her, what impatience seizes her to see the gentleman or magistrate
immediately in her room! What a charming reception she will give him! She will
not take her eyes off him. He can do no wrong in her sight for he is still held
responsible for the double suspension, and the springs which allow
the carriage to run smoothly. She esteems him more highly on
account of them; she loves him more for their sake.”