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What is Berline?


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I was under the impression that a Berline was a limousine whose divider window was not surronded by a frame, and disappeared completely into the drievr's seat back, thus giving the interior the appearance of a sedan when the window was retracted. Correct?

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That sounds like a good description to me! I think some manufacturers were a little loose with some of the coach names however, so it might vary from company to company.

There was an excellent article in the Classic Car or bulletin in the last couple of years, where one of our members had researched all the various body styles produced during the classic era, and thier linage back to horse and buggy days, and one thing I remember was the variety of styles was staggering. Also, the Europeans called things different names than we 'mericans did.

Anybody remember this article?

Shawn

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Nomenclature of automobiles according to Hugo Pfau who was working at LeBaron from 1925 to 1932, taken from the CUSTOM COACHWORK ERA. The term Berline or IMPERIAL LIMOUSINE were used to designate what they(LeBaron) and Pierce Arrow called an Enclosed-drive Limousine. Only Judkins and Lincoln used this term, he described it as " A regular sedan with a partition behind the driver. So it's just another name for a Limo. If yu can find the book, it's a great insight into the era. Ed Minnie member name edinmass

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Thanks. I have that article somewhere, simply cannot find it in the mess that is my library of stuff on autos. Another person told me that "Berline" was used by European mfrs to describe simply a close-coupled ( i.e. ) club ot "two window" sedan. But I think my original proposition is more in line with what the CCCA article had to say.

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The definition of Berline seems to depend on to whom and when the question was asked. It appears that the most common declaration is a short body, like a close-coupled sedan, with two windows each side and usually a division window that can be lowered out of sight. Many limousines and formal sedans were equipped with dissapearing division windows, but the Berline configuration seems to relate to the two-window style.

This information is gleaned from a description published in 1930 and a book "The Golden Age of the Luxury Car" by George Hildebrand, which is an anthology of articles from "Autobody, 1927-1931. Several different body builders, including Judkins and Holbrook, illustrate the Berline with the Close-coupled sedan look, but with a division.

Hope I haven't muddied the water too much.

Jon Lee

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Yes, I see 2-window Judkins Berline in Damman & Wagner's THE CARS OF LINCOLN-MERCURY, p.169 but also a 3-window version. I guess Judkins used the term at will. Just wondering as I am contemplating purchase of a 3-window version and as with all my classics, I write up a commentary on the car, the mfr. the significant auto industry personages involved and place it in a window - saves a lot of breath at car shows or even in the supermarket parking lot. Speaking of personages, did you know that the fellow who forced the bankruptcy of Pierce-Arrow in 1938 was Marge Schott's ( Cincinnati Reds ) father-in-law? A bit of trivia I dug up years ago.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Pierce-Arrow used the body style name Berline to mean a short-coupled closed quarter sedan with a division window, i.e. a club sedan with a division window.

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