Transportation’s Modern Marvels

Posted on May 1, 2003 by LCT Staff - Also by this author


istory Channel’s Modern Marvels show “Limos” takes a positive spin on the industry with a variety of interesting and entertaining facts and viewpoints. While the documentary presents the flashier side of limousines with events like weddings and nights on the town, it also touches on traditional operations like airport and corporate service.

The show works at making viewers believe that limousines, once for the wealthy, the famous, the extremely busy or those outside the law, are the epitome of creating a high profile.

Although the well-produced show takes viewers back in time to the history of limousines – from the Romans and their lavish carriages through the mass-produced horse-drawn carriages of the 19th Century – limousines as we know them today are more reflective of the automotive age.

The documentary points out that the late 19th Century saw the evolution of a limousine that combined the craftsmanship of a formal carriage with technology, like speaking tubes. Silver and mahogany components were added to the cars to give touches of class and opulence.

But it was the demands of the wealthy, and others, that really pushed the growth of technology, the show reveals to viewers. Al Capone’s limousine, for example, had bulletproof glass and an escape hatch, while decades later Elvis Presley had a gold Cadillac that featured an electronic razor, shoe buffer, ice maker and record player. Limousines are no longer exclusive to the wealthy or famous, and the concept of limousines has changed.

Decades ago, people driven around in limousines actually owned them. Today, by contrast, 93% of limousines on the road are for hire.

Everybody likes the illusion of wealth, coolness and power, whether it is trips to the airport, a night on the town or for special occasions like weddings and proms. The documentary showed that even in Las Vegas the limousine takes on a different function, transporting Elvis look-a-likes and showgirls to and from performances while displaying a glamorous and fun side of the business.

The show takes advantage of the knowledge of top industry professionals like Scott Solombrino, president/CEO of Dav El Chauffeured Transportation and president of the National Limousine Association.

He gives insight into the concept of a chauffeur by saying that a driver is someone who delivers a pizza while a chauffeur is trained, drug tested and truly professional. Another industry figure interviewed for the show is Tom Mazza, NLA executive director. He offers his thoughts on the popularity and appeal of limousines, while riding around in one during the interview.

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