Hollywood Town Car & Limousine

LA Limo - A Brief History

Hollywood Town Car and Limousine Articles

LA - Los Angeles And Limousines ​

A brief history of LA’s relationship with Limos.

If you are planning to come to Los Angeles and hire a limo and driver to take you to the iconic Hollywood sign, you can tell by this picture from 1923 that you are not the first person with that idea. As the music and movie capital of the world, Los Angeles has always had a great number of luxury, chauffeured vehicles for its residents and travelers to our fair city that want to have a “celebrity” experience.

In the 1890s, Thomas Edison patented the Kinetograph and many other film making equipment.  With Edison holding tightly to his patented movie-making process, many early filmakers fled to California. Since the early 1900s filmmakers that did not want to pay Edison for his equipment moved to Los Angeles to make films and the rest, as they say, is history.

In 1942, songwriter Johnny Mercer (“Moon River”) founded Capitol Records and since then, LA has been the most prolific center for recording studios in the world. All this history shows why Los Angeles and limos, although not synonymous, are linked. Nobody has spent more time in the back of a limousine than rock and movie stars. In fact, the first stretch limo in America was reportedly built in Fort Smith, Arkansas with music promotion in mind. It is largely believed either Benny Goodman or Glenn Miller ordered production of one so that they could tour the country thus cementing their legacy as “rock stars” even in a that bygone era.

Today, whether it’s a record release, movie premiere, or an awards show such as the Oscars being held in Los Angeles — it is a natural sight to see many luxury autos and chauffeured livery vehicles on our streets and at red carpet events.

Since then, Los Angeles and of course Las Vegas have more limousines than probably anywhere in the world. 

What does Limousine mean?

Limousine Coach

The term limousine comes from the town of Limousin in south-western France where the shepherds wore cloaks with large hoods to protect them from the severe winds there. There is an argument as to whether the cloak represents what chauffeurs wore when they were in open drivers compartments or the hood over the top of the open driver compartment of all limos up to about 1924. In fact, the term limousine town car (limousine de-ville) means a chauffeured car with the driver outside. One thing that is for sure is that a limousine is a luxury vehicle where the driver sits in his or her own compartment which is separate from the passengers.

As you can imagine, limos have been around longer than internal combustion engines. This picture is from the 2006 movie Marie Antoinette where the production team clearly shows what a limousine was like in the late 18th century.

Today the normal use of the term limousine refers to a traditional stretch limo. The last limo to be produced in an automobile factory was the 1987 Cadillac Fleetwood Limo. Lincoln last had a factory limousine way back in 1939.

The 1955 to 1981 the Lincoln Continental was the vehicle of choice for stretch limousine production. The Continental was renamed to the Lincoln Town Car and was produced from 1981 to 2011 the stretch space was owned by Ford / Lincoln which had the foresight to design and produce the Town Car which was the industry standard for those years. Of course, GM always tried to stay in the luxury sedan space and has had the contract for the presidential limousine since the 80s.

Ronald Reagan Cadillac Limousine 1980

President Ronald Reagan’s Cadillac Fleetwood Limousine Circa 1980

How is a Limousine Made

If you have ever wondered how limos are made, here is a video of how a coach builder transforms a sedan into a stretch limo.

What types of Limos are Available Today in Los Angeles?

There are really four types of limousines offered today:

Traditional Stretch Limousine

Stretch Limo Interior and ExteriorThe standard limousine, which holds from 6-12 passengers, are usually made from a Chrysler 300, Cadillac XTS, Lincoln Continental or even a Lincoln MKT. Limousines are manufactured by third party coach builders. Limousines are a staple at the Oscars though not in as high demand as they used to be years ago

Features:

  • Black or White Exterior
  • Leather Interior
  • Tinted Windows
  • Bar Area
  • High End Audio System
  • Flat Panel LCD Screens
  • Fiber Optic Lighting

Los Angeles pricing:

Expect to pay around $100.00 per hour. At Hollywood Town Car and Limousine, like most limo companies in LA, we have a 4 to 5 hour minimum depending on the day/time of the week. That said, exceptions can often be made for trips going to or coming from LAX.

Super Stretch SUV

These are also made by coach builders in just about the same way a sedan would be “stretched”. They are made from all types of SUVs such as:

  • Mercedes G Wagon
  • Hummer H2
  • Cadillac Escalade
  • Ford Excursion
  • Chevrolet Suburban

They are often painted or wrapped in bright colors but are most often found in white since they are most often used for weddings.

Super Stretch SUV Inrerior - Exterior

Features:

  • Tinted Windows
  • Bar Area
  • High End Audio System
  • Flat Panel LCD Screens
  • Fiber Optic Lighting
  • Disco Ball
  • Laser Lighting or Laser Shows
  • Emergency Roof Hatch Exit

Los Angeles pricing:

18 to 22 passenger Stretch SUVs range from around $125.00 to $175.00. These vehicles have a similar 4-5 hour minimum. Larger vehicles up to 28 passengers have a slightly higher price point.

A Limo Bus or Party Bus

A limo bus or party bus can be made from either a Coach Bus or a Passenger Bus. These vehicles are taken to a coach works and the interiors are converted into a moving night club for you and your guests. These vehicles can seat as many as 40 passengers safely and comfortably.

Limo Bus Interior / ExteriorFeatures:

  • One or more large flat screen TVs
  • A High-quality, Bluetooth Enabled Home Entertainment System
  • A Video Game Systems
  • Beverage Service Area (Bar)
  • Hardwood Dance Floor
  • LED Lights
  • Dance Pole
  • Laser Lighting or Laser Shows
  • Disco Ball
  • Emergency Roof Hatch Exit

Los Angeles pricing:

A Party Bus starts at $150.00 per hour for smaller vehicles and as much as $250.00 per hour for the largest vehicles. All party and limo buses in Los Angeles have a 5 hour service minimum. We have never heard of anyone offering point to point transfers in LA as the vehicle preparation time is extensive.

Mercedes Sprinter Limo

Sprinter Limo Interior / ExteriorThe sprinter has become the industry standard for limousines in the past several years for several reasons. The most important to your comfort being that all the passengers can stand in the Sprinter. Sprinter coaches that have been to a coachworks to become retrofitted to be a limousine usually have 7-foot to 8-foot ceilings. This ends the need to slide in and out which separates them from traditional stretch limousines and super-stretch SUVs where guests still need to slide in and out. This feature is especially important for anybody wearing a dress. Sprinter Limos seat from 8 to 12 passengers.

Features:

  • One or more large flat screen TV’s
  • A high-quality, Bluetooth-enabled Home Entertainment System
  • A Video Game Systems
  • Beverage Service Area (Bar)
  • Hardwood Dance Floor
  • LED Lights
  • Dance Pole
  • Laser Lighting or Laser Shows
  • Disco Ball
  • Emergency Roof Hatch Exit

Los Angeles Limo FAQ

What other amenities are included in a limo or party bus?

All our limousines come stocked with the following:

  • Ice
  • Canned Sodas
  • Bottled Water
  • Mixers such as juices and the like
  • One Carafe of Liquor

FYI. If you would like to add anything special, please call us at (818) 918-3800 and we would be happy to get anything you want such as specialty beverages or food trays. Unfortunately, all alcoholic beverages must be removed by law if there are any passengers under 21 years of age.

Can I drink alcohol in the limo?

In California, it is legal for anyone that is not in the front portion of the car to have an open container in the rear of a legally licensed commercial vehicle such as a taxi or any TCP-licensed vehicle. So yes, you can get your drink on provided it is safe and of course fun. Again, if any passengers in the vehicle are under 21, all alcoholic beverages are prohibited by California law.

Can I bring my own alcoholic beverages?

We encourage you to bring your own liquor, beer, wine, champagne or anything else you want to drink in moderation. We can provide these things for you at an additional cost of the beverages and the time it takes to procure them.

Do I need a Car Seat in a Limo in Los Angeles?

In Los Angeles, anyone in the back seat of a limousine must obey California law. If there are ONLY side-facing seats, then car seats are not required, since they can’t install safely and that’s the exception. We always recommend car seats for infants and toddlers for their safety. We can provide car seats for a nominal charge. Just let us know well in advance of your trip.

Can I bring my pet in a limo in California?

Unfortunately, no. We only allow licensed service animals in our limousines as per California state law.

Los Angeles Limo Safety – How do I know my limo is safe?

We have all seen some tragedies in the news in the past few years. Although California Laws covering all forms of ground transportation are some of the toughest in the country, we don’t feel there is enough. Your safety and the safety of your guests is our primary concern and we always do more than the law requires to ensure that everyone makes it home having had a great time. In addition to $1.5 million in insurance, here are just a few of the safety standards we use:

  • Regular (and random) driver drug-testing by a California-licensed testing facility
  • Class B drivers license for all vehicles above 10 passengers
  • Pre-trip and post-trip vehicle safety inspections
  • Emergency roof exit hatches in all party buses, sprinters and stretch SUVs

If you would like any more information on reserving a limo for your next big night (or day) please call us at 818-918-3800 today to find out what we can do for you. We hope to see you soon.

Los Angeles Limo – LA Limo

People searching the internet use the term ”limo” to find a lot of things. They could be looking for a sedan or an SUV to pick them up at LAX airport, a party bus to go to prom, or even a Mercedes sprinter coach for a tour of the Hollywood Hills. A little-known secret in the limo industry is that what people are really searching for is a driver. Can you imagine renting a limo to drive yourself to that big event? Certainly, the vehicles and amenities are important, but having a professional driver to get you there is the epitome of luxury. Nothing is so rewarding as being chauffeured around a city especially in Los Angeles  where style and appearance is everything.