Monday, September 25, 2023 Sep 25, 2023
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The simple joys of the limo life
By Fran Gardner Youssef |

MAYBE IT’S THOSE dark-tinted windows. The allure of the unseen. The mystery.

Sure, the sleekness of the beast is nice, foot after endless foot of cobalt shininess streamlined with chrome piping. And the size of the thing is impressive. Not to mention the way it gets the best parking spaces.

But surely the true appeal of a limousine is what you can’t see. The senator. The socialite. The star. The best people doing, perhaps, the worst things.

And, of course, the glamour. The fleeting coattail, the cloud of fur, the blur of diamonds as the car speeds out of sight. One more concert, one more gala, one more night on the town.

They’re fun to watch and wonder about. And wonder what if…

The limousine life in Dallas is healthy, so to speak. You see them at the ballet. At Reunion Arena. On the tollway at 2:30 in the morning. These plush Lincolns and Caddies carry the famous, the would-be famous and the would-ifcould-be famous to parties, performances and, often, to no place in particular. And wherever they go-no matter who’s in them-limousines spell class.

Oh, they’re functional, too, as the limo rental people are quick to tell you. They hold more passengers. They’re ideal for escorting clients to and from meetings. The car is always waiting, and the never-obtrusive chauffeur will be at the wheel, so you’re free to focus on other business.

Have I mentioned weddings and funerals?

There are any number of reasons for renting a limousine, but maybe the best reason is no reason at all. Honestly, not many people really need a limousine. But why not get what you want every once in a while?

Texas Taxi, 8615 Director’s Row. 634-8294. From the steer horns sprawling across the hood to a genuine cowboy chauffeur, Texas Taxis are the real thing. Your white Caddy arrives with Texas flags flying. As you wheel around town, you marvel that you’ve lived this long without experiencing this service. Texas Taxi was the brainstorm of Kirk Dooley, DeWitt Ray HI and J. Michael Meadows, who believed that limousine service in Dallas should be more fun and more distinctive. Texas Taxi offers nine 46-inch stretch Cadillacs complete with wet bars, sun (or moon) roofs, color TVs, stereo cassette players, window dividers and tinted glass. The service also offers special bus tours to Billy Bob’s and Southfork Ranch. Rolls-Royces and minivans are also available. Fees are paid on an hourly basis and depend upon the vehicle hired.

Limousines by Jan, 3108 San Vicente. 279-4192. Owner Jan Korkames has been in the limousine business since the days when there were only five services in Dallas. But things are different now, and the demand for chauffeur-driven limos has been on the upswing. Korkames drives her own cars, and she employs several other “chauffeuses” to drive her all-white Cadillac Fleetwoods. She and her staff wear white caps and jackets with epaulets, black bow ties and black pants.

Korkames was the first woman chauffeur in Texas as well as the first woman in the state to own and operate a transit service. Her company specializes in corporate accounts, entertainment events, proms and chauffeuring women on shopping sprees or to luncheons and parties. Her fees are $35 per hour plus gratuities.

The Limousine Company of Dallas, 6711 W. Northwest Highway at Preston. 960-1429. Everyone loves richly appointed antique cars, but how many can be found for hire? At The Limousine Company, you can rent a fully restored 1927 canary-yellow Rolls-Royce with a black roof, running board and interior for a mere $125 an hour. The Limousine Company also provides the usual stretch Lincolns and Cadillacs loaded with conveniences: wet bar, color TV, sun roofs, etc. These limos rent for $45 to $50 an hour; the next level of limo, the so-called “formal limousine” (white cars with navy interiors), rents for $27.50 to $30 an hour.

Limousines Incorporated, 8615 Director’s Row. 827-7900. Here you’ll find a fleet of 17 Cadillac Fleetwoods and a gorgeous 1956 burgundy-and-cream Silver Wraith Rolls-Royce with cream leather interior and rosewood appointments. There are only two cars like it in the United States. The Rolls is driven by one of the company’s two senior chauffeurs, who wear caps and full uniform. Champagne served in a silver bucket and a bud vase with a blooming rose can be included to set the elegant tone to perfection; it’s yours for $75 per hour.

“Limousines Inc. is the oldest and largest limousine service in Dallas,” according to sales representative David Bush, “and the only one invited to join Limousine Operators International, a select organization that arranges limos in different cities to be available and centrally billed for special corporate clients.” Bush is introducing a new limousine service by offering not only chauffeur-driven cars, but also the capability to fully plan a special evening for clients. The new service will arrange an entire evening’s entertainment, from cocktails to dinner, theaters or nightclubs.

Limousines Inc. features executive and luxury stretch limos with blacked-out windows, bar and setups (napkins, ice, but no alcoholic beverages, since liquor is optional and extra). They rent for $35 to $45 an hour with a three-hour minimum. In addition to corporate limos and formal cars for $30 and $27.50 an hour respectively, Limousines Inc. provides party buses (minivans that seat 15 to 17 people).

Touch of Class Limousine Service, 944 S. Buckner. 391-0176. This is a smaller limo company, with three VIP Cadillac stretches which rent for $35 to $45 an hour. The cars have the requisite fittings-astro roof, tinted glass, velour interiors and black-and-silver trim. There is a bar, but unless the operator has a liquor license, only ice, napkins and a mixer or two are offered.

Thoroughbred Limousines Inc., 400 Chisholm Place, Piano. 484-7555. This is a general limousine service equipped with Cadillac Fleetwoods in excellent condition. Formal cars rent for $25 per hour with a three-hour minimum and $40 per hour for luxury limos, which have a three-hour minimum. Thoroughbred Limousines also offers 24-hour service.

D/FW Limousines Inc., 2914 S. Beckley. 467-5355. D/FW Limousines has been in business for 12 years in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Cars rent at escalating rates from $27.50 an hour to $125 an hour for a 1954 white Rolls-Royce Phantom with a beautifully appointed interior.

Dallas Limousine Service Inc., 11332 Mathis Ave. 484-5770. If you have an unsatisfied craving to imitate J.R.’s act in Dallas, call Skip Klahr at Dallas Limousine Service. For a mere $50 an hour you can rent his “top car,” the white stretch Lincoln in which J.R. and Sue Ellen rode to their wedding. Complete with hydraulic bar, vanity mirrors, stereo equipment and other amenities, this car, Klahr says, “has everything but a commode.” Dallas Limousines has a fleet of nine cars, from a standard executive Cadillac limo to luxury stretch Lincolns.

Royal Limousine Service, 528-8335. In this highly competitive market, Nancy Dana Foster of Royal Limousine Service doesn’t provide a “dog-and-pony show,” but does provide self-designed services to meet her client’s needs. Royal Limousine Service has been in business for almost two years and has five basic corporate and executive cars. She has no stretches (although she can obtain them), but she does have sedans for people who need good service but not fancy cars. Vans are available for groups. The rates are $30 an hour for three hours minimum; depending on the vehicle hired, this rate may rise.

Formerly a health-care administrator,Foster likes to help retired people maintaintheir autonomy without the responsibility ofowning or driving a car. She says she feelsa personal joy in getting people to a placewhere they couldn’t ordinarily go. Often,Royal Limousine Service will take seniorcitizens or the handicapped to gala artsevents such as the opera, but her clientele isthe usual mix of corporate and private persons. Royal Limousine Service, Foster says,provides “good and efficient service to ourclient’s expectations.”