Body Styles: What Are Berline And Brougham Bodies?

1908 FN 2000 Berline. Photo from

The Berlin body style started before the development of automobiles and was initially used to describe a type of horse carriage that was a two-seat covered carriage with the driver on the outside. First designed around 1660 to carry one of the political officials from Berlin to Paris. It was in Paris that the style caught on as a superior design.

The French dubbed this carriage style “berline” after the city from where the coach came from.  The design was said to be more convenient than other carriages, lighter and less likely to overturn. It wouldn’t take long for the berline carriage to become the new standard.

It was natural for the berline body style to carry over from the carriage to automobile when designers began creating bodies for these “horseless carriages.” These berline body styles are easy to identify due to the partition separating the driver and passenger compartments. The term “berline” has become the French term for the saloon or sedan.

1908 Babcock Model 7 Brougham. Photo from jacques-leretrait.

Brougham Body

Like the berline, the brougham is another body style that transitioned from the carriage days. The driver and passengers were in separate compartments, like the berline, but the driver’s compartment was not enclosed as the passenger’s compartment was.

1899 Peugeot Type 27 Brougham. Photo from

The brougham design featured a sharply squared rear end of the roof and the forward-curving body line at the base of the front of the passenger enclosure. These were characteristics brought over from the nineteenth century brougham carriage on which the car style was based.

We’ve come a long way since the horseless carriage.

About the author

Bobby Kimbrough

Bobby grew up in the heart of Illinois, becoming an avid dirt track race fan which has developed into a life long passion. Taking a break from the Midwest dirt tracks to fight evil doers in the world, he completed a full 21 year career in the Marine Corps.
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