Landaulet (car)

A landaulet, also known as landaulette, is a car body style where the rear passengers are covered by a convertible top.[1][2][3] Often the driver is separated from the rear passengers by a division,[4] as with a limousine.

During the first half of the 20th century, taxicabs were often landaulets, with models such as the Austin 12/4 and the Checker Model G and early Checker Model A being a common sight in larger cities.

In the second half of the 20th century, landaulettes were often used by public figures (such as heads of state) in formal processions. They are now rarely used, for fear of terrorist attack.


The car body style is derived from the horse-drawn carriage of similar style that was a cut-down (coupé) version of a landau.

In British English, the term landaulet is used specifically for horse-drawn carriages, and landaulette is used when referring to motor vehicles.[5]


19th century

Like many other coachbuilding styles, the term landaulet was transferred from horse-drawn carriages to automobiles.[6][3][7] The condition of the driver's section may range from having no weather protection at all, as was often the case with early landaulets,[6][8] to being fully enclosed.[9]

20th century

Since WWII, use has been largely restricted to formal processions to assure the dignitary's security. Pope John XXIII, Pope Paul VI, and Pope Benedict XVI used landaulettes based on Mercedes-Benz automobiles.

21st century

The Maybach division of Daimler AG showed a landaulet concept car at the Middle East International Auto Show in November 2007.[10] They added the landaulette to their 2009 model line.[11]

See also


  1. Georgano 1971, p. 216
  2. Clough 1913, p. 185
  3. Merriam-Webster 1991, pp. 358–359.
  4. Clough 1913, p. 185.
  5. landaulet, n. Oxford English Dictionary online accessed 4 February 2018
  6. Haajanen 2003, p. 92.
  7. References:
  8. Society of Automobile Engineers 1916.
  9. References:
  10. Car Body Design 2007.
  11. Left Lane News 2008.


  • Clough, Albert L. (1913). A dictionary of automobile terms. The Horseless Age Company. LCCN 13003001. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  • Georgano, G. N., ed. (1971). "Glossary". Encyclopedia of American Automobiles. New York, NY USA: E. P. Dutton. pp. 215–217. ISBN 0-525-097929. LCCN 79147885. Landaulet (or landaulette). A closed car, the rear portion of which could be opened in fine weather.
  • Haajanen, Lennart W. (2003). Illustrated Dictionary of Automobile Body Styles. Illustrations by Bertil Nydén. Jefferson, NC USA: McFarland. ISBN 0-7864-1276-3. LCCN 2002014546.
  • Left Lane News, Staff of (2008-10-10). "Left Lane News: 2009 Maybach 62S Landaulet". Left Lane. Left Lane News. Archived from the original on 2008-10-10. Retrieved 2008-10-19. Daimler added the Maybach Landaulet – an open-top version of its Maybach 62 S – to its lineup for 2009.
  • Line22 SRL, Staff of (8 November 2007). "Maybach Landaulet Study". Car Body Design. Rome, Italy: Line22 SRL. Archived from the original on 2011-07-19. Retrieved 2012-06-02. Maybach has revealed the Landaulet Study, an exclusive one-off based on the Maybach 62 S that revives the classic landaulet theme, with a soft top for the passengers compartment.
  • Merriam-Webster, Staff of (January 1991). "P". The Merriam-Webster new book of word histories. Springfield, MA US: Merriam-Webster. pp. 358–359. ISBN 978-0-87779-603-9. LCCN 91029965. Retrieved 2012-06-02. The motor landaulet was essentially an enclosed sedan or coupe with a folding top at the extreme rear quarter, over the rear seat.
  • Society of Automobile Engineers, Nomenclature Division (August 20, 1916). "What's What in Automobile Bodies Officially Determined" (pdf). The New York Times. New York, NY USA. Nomenclature Division, Society of Automobile Engineers. ISSN 0362-4331. OCLC 1645522. Retrieved 2012-05-31. Landaulet—a closed car with folding top, seats for three or more inside, and driver's seat outside.
  • Stein, Jess, ed. (1975) [1968]. The Random House College Dictionary (Revised ed.). New York, NY USA: Random House. p. 753. ISBN 0-394-43600-8. landaulet, n. an automobile having a convertible top for the back seat, with the front seat either roofed or open.
  • Taylor, Alex III (28 November 2011). "Mercedes puts Maybach out of its misery". CNN Money. Archived from the original on 22 April 2014.
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