With the world recovering from the crushing effects of the Depression only to be plunged into war, the luxury car and limousine industry was again delayed from being available to the average couple wanting a stylish way to travel to the theatre or a dinner party.
These double blows to the luxury car industry meant that many limousine manufacturers who had survived the Depression were destroyed by the war. Limousine manufacturer Isotta Fraschini, who started marketing luxury limousines in the 1920s, was forced to cancel production after the war. Their last model in production only turned out five units.
There was however still production of limousines around the world, Detroit was famous in the 1940s for its leadership in producing salt products, electrical refrigeration, seeds and luxury cars and limousines.
Cadillac was also one of the stronger luxury car manufacturers to come out of the 1930s and ‘40s and their 1939 Cadillac 60 Special was a special favourite of actress Betty Grable. Grable often used her Cadillac limousine to travel through the streets of Hollywood in the 1940s as well as being chauffeured in it to her movie premieres.
The Cadillac Series 70 was in production from 1936 right through to 1976 and was Cadillac's only full sized V8-powered car from the 1930s to the ‘50s. The short wheelbase in the Series 70 was replaced in 1941 by the Series 62. The Series 75 made a comeback after the war and was Cadillac's largest model with a spacious 136 inch wheel base.
In the 1940s, everyone noticed limousines on their streets and who was riding in them. A historian from Atlantic City recalls the creativeness of the chauffeurs in the 1940s. He remembers seeing limousines with a rope rigged from the driver to the curb-side door. As the chauffeur pulls into the curb, he pulls on the rope and the door swings open. But was this ingenuity or laziness? It may have been a bit of both because if the passenger getting out was on the inside seat, everyone else had to get out to let them out!
Thank goodness that even though we still enjoy the classic limousines of the 1940s our chauffeurs have developed past the pulley system.