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How Limousines Work


Limousine Amenities
Hugh Heffner and friends pose in the highly stylized Playboy limousine. A swank limo interior with neon lighting
Hugh Heffner and friends pose in the highly stylized Playboy limousine. A swank limo interior with neon lighting
Photo David Klein, Getty Images Photo © Demonike | Dreamstime.com
Hugh Heffner and friends pose in the highly stylized Playboy limousine. A swank limo interior with neon lighting
Hugh Heffner and friends pose in the highly stylized Playboy limousine. A swank limo interior with neon lighting
Photo David Klein, Getty Images Photo © Demonike | Dreamstime.com

Most limousine companies (and car manufacturers) feel that doubling the length of the original vehicle is about as long as you can go before a car is no longer able to pass the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS), though some push this a little further than others. In an industry where owners have to differentiate themselves from the competition, the only option, apart from going longer, is to make the interior as opulent, technologically advanced or outrageous as possible.

Practically every limousine has a bar or drinks cabinet containing enough alcohol to keep a rambunctious bachelor party going for hours. Some bars include fancy glasses made of crystal, polished counters lined with neon lights and even a sink with running water. Some limousine bars can give Las Vegas clubs a run for their money in terms of glitz and excess.

Another big focus in limousine amenities is the entertainment system. You can rent a limousine with plasma screen televisions, DVD players, surround-sound systems with theater-quality speakers, satellite radio and video game consoles. Some companies convert buses into limousines and even include a dance floor or karaoke system.

Other signs of excess in the limousine industry range from mirrored ceilings to crystal chandeliers. Some limo interiors are filled with blinking lights and neon tubing. Many have funky seats upholstered in leather or other expensive materials. Bentley's limousines contain handcrafted cabinet work, expensive veneers and expensive communications systems so that you can stay in touch with the office even as you ride in complete luxury.

Many limousines include intercom systems so that passengers can communicate with the limo driver without lowering a privacy barrier. Most limos also have telephones installed so that you can call your best friend and ask, "Guess where I'm calling you from?"

In the next section, we'll look at some facts and figures in the world of limousines.