How is a Limo Built?

Ken Black

The process of building a limo, or limousine, is very technical. It takes many hours to go from a standard automobile to a luxury limousine. The process not only involves adding segments to the car, but many times adding an entirely new interior. But with a little luck and great technical expertise, the stretch limousine can look like a million dollars.

Limousines are constructed from standard, stock automobiles that are modified.
Limousines are constructed from standard, stock automobiles that are modified.

Many people may be surprised the first step to constructing a limo is simply to go to a car lot and purchase a stock automobile. Usually, these automobiles will be high-quality cars. Lincolns and Cadillacs are popular choices. However, nearly any type of car could be converted into a limo. Some models do tend to sell better than others.

A new interior is often required in building a limo.
A new interior is often required in building a limo.

Once the car is purchased, the major modifications happen nearly right away. The interior is nearly gutted completely and the vehicle is literally cut in half, or at least, if not in half, into two different sections. Steel supports are then put into place to accommodate the extra body that will be added. The length of the steel supports depends on the length intended for the stretch limo.

Once the steel is in place, it is then time for the floor and body panels to be added, along with the roof. This is the part of the process where the limo will actually start to look like a real vehicle again, at least from the outside. Most additional mechanical work, such as working on the electrical system and connecting any mechanical components at both ends of the vehicle, will be done at this time as well.

Once that is completed, it is then time to work on the interior. The seating in a limo is usually made for very high use and is made to standards much higher than that the auto industry normally uses for such furniture. This is because the seats often are used more than those in normal vehicles and can make the overall appearance of the limousine look poor if it is not in good condition. Further, any other luxury touches, such as a bar or table, will also be added at this point.

After the interior is complete, the limo is ready for use. However, some final alterations, such as the addition of custom rims, may also be done. If the brakes were not upgraded at the beginning of the process, this will likely also need to be done. The stretch limo will carry some added bulk and the brakes that came standard on the original automobile may not be enough to handle the additional load.

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