For many of our Wonder Friends, the high school prom may be a long way off. A wedding is even farther down the road. However, sooner or later, you’ll probably ride in a limo.

A limo — short for limousine — is a luxury sedan that’s usually really long and driven by a chauffeur. Unlike regular cars, limos are known for their luxurious interiors. Used on special occasions, limos can contain a wide variety of special touches, including couches, refrigerators, mirrors, lights, multiple sunroofs, special sound systems and even hot tubs!

Limos weren’t always like the vehicles we see today, though. Limousine originally referred to an automobile that had an enclosed portion for passengers and an open driver’s seat. The coverings of these early carriages resembled a cloak and hood worn by shepherds in the Limousin region of France, thus giving the vehicles their name.

Today’s luxury limos are known for their long, extended wheelbases. Many limos resemble regular cars that have simply been stretched out. This is why they’re often known as “stretch” limos.

Limousines are very expensive, so only very rich individuals can afford to own and ride in a limousine on a regular basis. Most limousines are owned by companies that rent them for use at special occasions, large companies that use them to transport executives or governments that use them to transport high-level government officials.

Special companies exist that build limousines out of regular cars. They take stock cars from manufacturers — regular cars like you might see at any car dealership — and modify them into limousines. This includes stretching the wheelbase, adding sheet metal and glass to create a longer body and adding all sorts of luxury features.

In addition to luxury features, limos often contain special security features. Limos used to transport government officials, for example, might contain special armored steel or bulletproof glass.

The first “stretch” limo was created in 1928 in Fort Smith, Arkansas, by a company named Armbruster. The first “stretch” limos were usually used to transport bands and their equipment. As a result, they were often called “big band buses.”

Today’s limos can hold many passengers in all sorts of seating configurations. For example, sport-utility vehicles, such as the H2 Hummer, have been made into limos that can seat over a dozen people. Some of these vehicles are stretched 140-200+ inches over their normal wheelbase!

Some popular sports cars, such as Corvettes and Ferraris, have also been stretched into limousine versions. Volkswagen Beetles have also been stretched to create limos for a unique novelty effect.

32 Join the Discussion

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars  (15 votes, avg. 4.40 out of 5)
    • We are SUPER excited that you enjoyed WONDERing about limos today, Mrs. Bayko’s 2nd grade class! :) We Wonder if your class has any predictions of your own for tomorrow…? :)

  1. I have ridden in a limo a lot. I just need to wait a couple months for prom…
    I think tomorrow’s WONDER will be about… you don’t need to think about it, which means I’m going to think about it!!

    Emily :)

    • What a luxurious experience in a limo ride, Emily! That sounds like a very cool way to get around! :) Keep thinking about tomorrow’s Wonder and what the future holds! Have a WONDERful day! :)

  2. Good morning, Wonderopolis!

    Today is our second day visiting Wonderopolis. We learned that limos are made from regular cars. Thank you for sharing this information with us. We hope you have a terrific Tuesday!

    Happy Wondering!
    Mrs. Phillips’ WONDERful Class

    • Our smiles are STRETCHING from ear to ear to have you here, Mrs. Phillips’ WONDERful Stars! :)

      We LOVE that you learned about those luxurious limos and how they are made– we really enjoyed seeing the first types of limos, too! We hope you have a SUPER day full of Wonder and curiosity!

      Thanks for WONDERing with us today! You are all STARS! :)

  3. Hey, I saw the El Chupacabra today. The name sounds familiar. But the video of the day was great. I think there should be a WONDER about the minotaur or Medusa. (If you want a video of them, you can find it in the Percy Jackson movie). Oh, by the way, my favorite video on this site is the secret society video. It’s HILARIOUS!!!!!!!! Keep up the good wonders!


  4. Dear Wonderopolis,

    Thank you for the Wonder about Limos. We really enjoyed the video. Our class predicts that tomorrow’s wonder will be about mind readers or fortune tellers!

    Can’t wait to find out!
    Ms. Davidson’s Class – Jacksonville, FL

    • Happy Tuesday to Ms. Davidson’s Third Grade classroom! We are so EXCITED that we can all Wonder together this year!

      We’re smiling from ear to ear at your comment- so HAPPY you enjoyed learning about limos today! What a SUPER guess for tomorrow, too… we predict you are quite close! Have a STELLAR day– we look forward to discovering tomorrow’s Wonder together! :)

    • WOW, we are SUPER happy that your class enjoyed WONDERing about limos today, Miss Wright’s 4th grade class! :)

      We cannot wait to Wonder with all your WONDERful students throughout the year! Thank you for commenting today! :)

  5. Dear Wonderopolis,

    Last week when we started school we saw the water slide video. It was awesome I loved it hoped you liked it too!!!! I wonder what tommorow is, I bet it’s going to be really cool!!! I love your website. My teacher is Mrs. Magnus. She loves Wonderopolis!!! Love your website.


    • You’ve got us smiling with such a WONDERful comment, Madeline! Thank you for expressing your love for Wonderopolis!! We LOVE great Wonder Friends like you and Mrs. Magnus– it’s so much fun to Wonder and learn together! Thank you for visiting– we can’t wait to Wonder with you tomorrow!! :)

  6. I’ve always wanted to go in a limo. Now I know some more information about them. Thanks Wonderopolis for commenting on my previous comments and that’s what I like about you.

    • We think it’s SUPER cool that you have learned something new about limos, Buckley! We really hope you get to experience riding one in the future! Isn’t it neat to see how they have evolved over time? :)

      Thank you for commenting and Wondering with us! We love great Wonder Friends like you– we hope you have a WONDERful day! :)

  7. Ok thank you for the WONDER it was WONDERful! Me and my friend think tomorrow’s wonder will be about, PREDICTING THE FUTURE!! I hope we are right!! The future is such a mystery!!

    • Hi there, A’n’A, we are SUPER happy you gave our limo Wonder a big thumbs up! :)

      We think you and your friend are on to something good– do you have a sixth sense?! The future is indeed a mystery, but we love all the WONDERing and curiosity it brings along the way! Have a STELLAR day! :)

  8. I have never been in a limo but from what I have heard it sounds cool! I am only in year 4 so I have a while to wait until a prom! I had a dream one day about marriage and that really put me off, getting married and stuff like that! Have you had any horse wonderings? And if you haven’t, could we have one some day soon please? Thanks!


  9. At school today we saw your note but now I don’t see it on my iPod is there something wrong with your website or something???? Well thank you for your reply it was great and I showed my teacher my note she giggled when she read it!!! I wonder what tommorow will bring!!!


    • Hi there, Madeline! We are super sorry that your iPod doesn’t show our reply from today, but perhaps you will have better luck checking out our Wonderopolis site on a computer! :)

      We LOVE great Wonder Friends, like you, who are posting WONDERful comments and using their imagination! It makes us smile from ear to ear! We can’t wait to continue WONDERing with you tomorrow, either! YIPPEE!! :)

  10. My mom owns a limo, she’s had it since her dad went to prom. Funny story: her dad rented it and lost track of time and the shop was closed and he went in the next morning and they said he will have to buy it or they are going to sue him for not bringing it back on time. It was awsome on my 18th birthday he took me to Las Vegas in the limo it was fun.

    • WOW, thanks for sharing your story about limos, Taylor! We bet you’re used to riding in a limo by now! :)

      We think it’s pretty cool that your grandpa celebrated your birthday in style, too! We hope you had a fun time WONDERing about limos with us– we will see you soon, Wonder Friend! :)

    • Hey there, Carlos! We are so glad you’re WONDERing about cool modes of transportation– like limos! We think it’s fun to have great Wonder Friends like you! :)

    • WOW, you’re one lucky duck, Savannah! We bet riding in a limousine is a very cool experience on a special occasion! Thanks for sharing your comment with us today! :)

  11. Very interesting! Limos long ago are a lot differant then the ones today. We agree that limos are very expensive! It is very cool that some have hot tubs in them! The video was also very cool! Thank you very much! :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • How do you stretch a limo?
  • Were limos always really long?
  • Can any vehicle be turned into a limo?

Wonder Gallery

limo_shutterstock_32552524Vimeo Video

Try It Out

Ready to design your own limo? What vehicle would you like to stretch out into a limo? What would the perfect cruising machine look like?

How about inside? What comforts of home would you include inside? Couches? Televisions? How about a hot tub?

Grab some art supplies and create some drawings of the inside and outside of your dream limo. When you’re finished, post your pictures to Facebook to share with your Wonder Friends. We can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Still Wondering

In the America on the Move Interactive Game: Drive Through Time interactive from Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, children use a virtual time machine to explore modes of transportation throughout recent history.

Wonder What’s Next?

Some of you may already know what tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day is about!

Upload a Photo or Paste the URL of a YouTube or SchoolTube Video.