Craftsmen Limousine Inc. 1989-1990 - Springfield, Missouri - 1990-1992 Nixa, Missouri - 1992-1994 - Springfield Missouri - 1994-present - Ozark, Missouri


Craftsmen Limousine was started from ground zero on January 1, 1989 by Robert J. and Robert M. (Marc) Haswell; Father and Son. Their concept is to provide a business where people who want it their way don't have to take model A, B, or C. They build all the parts, that make up a limousine, by hand. Everything is fit to the application. They are custom builders, on customer supplied base units. They 'stretch' normal cars to limousines, where you get some standard equipment combined with a number of free-to-choose options, like exterior color change, a fifth door or a Super Nintendo Mounted in the Cabinet.

One of the few firms stretching the new 2005 Chrysler 300 and Cadillac Escalade. 1991 Rolls-Royce Silver Spur II stretched to a Limousine in 1998 by Craftsmen Limousine in Springfield MO.

Craftsmen Limo; The ultimate in exquisite pleasures. Indulge yourself and your clientele in a custom stretch limousine with a list of standard features as long as the SUVs we convert. Luxury begins with dual alternators; dual AC Compressors and overhead AC vents; and much more. Your vehicle will be converted with a non-transferable lifetime warranty for the repair and trouble-shooting of the electrical control systems and against stretch sagging, breaking or bending. The people at Craftsmen Limousine are committed to manufacturing quality conversions and to keeping every customer on the road to success. We offer the service of converting your vehicle into a stretch limo. We also sell mid-sized Buses (under our trademark name LIMBUSINE™).

They built their first Lexus stretch in 1990, stretching it 93" in the middle. They've also made a 120" 1957 Chevy stretch and have worked on stretch Jaguars, Mercedes-Benz, Cadillacs, Chevrolets, and Lincolns. Some of their earlier Lincoln limos featured dual rear axles.

Luxury Limos Stretched From New And Used Suv, Custom Built Limousines And Buses Built To Your Specs.

Our favorite limousine builder is Craftsmen Limousine. They strive to build the finest user friendly and safest limousines that money can buy. Owners Bob and Marc Haswell will take your Lincoln Towncar base model and transform it into one of the finest automobiles in the country. Cars can be ordered stretched into lengths that will accommodate passengers of 6 up to 18 in the rear of the vehicle.


Full Caption: Craftsmen Limousine, Inc., and JMRL Sales & Service, Inc., d/b/a Craftsmen Limousine v. Ford Motor Company and American Custom Coachworks (Eighth Circuit, Nos. 03-1441/1544).

Date Started: November 20, 1998 (complaint filed with district court).

Current Status: A three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals ordered a new trial on March 15, 2004. Craftsmen Limousine, which won the original trial, filed a petition on March 29 asking the entire Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals to rehear the appeal. That petition was denied on May 5, and the case was returned to the district court for retrial.


This case involves limousine manufacturing. Limousines are not made by automobile manufacturers, such as Ford, but by independent firms that buy vehicles and convert them into limousines. After a series of publicized limousine accidents in the late 1980’s, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) expanded federal efforts to impose uniform safety standards on limousine producers. One firm, Craftsmen Limousine, had their limousines recalled after the firm did not file required engineering analyses with NHTSA.

NHTSA officials approached Ford and General Motors and asked them to “pool their resources” to assist limousine manufacturers comply with NHTSA safety standards. Ford responded by creating a “Quality Vehicle Modifier” or QVM program that specified the company’s view of how to best convert a Lincoln Town Car chassis into a limousine. NHTSA officials called the QVM standards a “recipe on how to build a limousine to meet all federal safety standards”. Ford paid QVM participants a bonus for each chassis converted according to the standards. Ford believed this program would reduce its potential liability for future limousine accidents.

Craftsmen declined to join the QVM program, in large part because most of the company’s limousines exceeded the length recommended by Ford. Craftsmen also viewed the QVM program as less about promoting safety, and more about giving Ford greater control over the limousine industry.

In addition to creating QVM, Ford along with General Motors (and with NHTSA’s backing) created an umbrella group, LIMO, to monitor safety issues. Only limousine manufacturers, however, served as voting members. Craftsmen was excluded from LIMO because they refused to comply with QVM standards. In 1995, LIMO agreed to admit non-QVM manufacturers who submitted certified crash-test results, but since Craftsmen didn’t conduct such tests, they were still excluded.

Craftsmen’s opposition to QVM kept them out of other industry forums. Two industry trade publications refused to carry ads for Craftsmen’s non-QVM-compliant limousines. Craftsmen was also excluded from and given disfavorable treatment at trade shows.

In 1998, Craftsmen sued Ford and several members of LIMO, alleging among other things a conspiracy to violate the antitrust laws. Craftsmen argued that Ford and the QVM-compliant manufacturers pressured the trade publications and trade shows to exclude Craftsmen, and that this caused Craftsmen to lose substantial revenue because it was unable to advertise. In other words, Craftsmen claimed to be the victim of an illegal “group boycott”.

In September 2002, a ten-day jury trial was held in Springfield, Missouri, and after four hours of deliberations, the jury found for Craftsmen and awarded more than $2.1 million in damages. The damages were tripled under the antitrust laws, and the final award came to nearly $6.4 million with costs and attorneys’ fees.

Ford and one of its codefendants, American Custom Coachworks, appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. The Court reviewed three issues: First, was there sufficient evidence to establish an “antitrust conspiracy”; and second, did the trial judge use the appropriate legal standard for determining antitrust liability; and third, did the trial judge improperly admit expert testimony from a plaintiff’s witness.

The Eighth Circuit upheld the trial court on the first question. The trial judge instructed the jury to find the defendants guilty if: (1) they threatened to withdraw advertising or boycott trade shows unless Craftsmen was excluded; (2) the defendants acted together “pursuant to an agreement to disadvantage [Craftsmen] and not be the result of independent business judgment”; and (3) Craftsmen was “injured in [its] business and property” because of the defendants’ joint efforts. The Eighth Circuit said the jury could reasonably infer the existence and operation of a conspiracy by Ford and American Custom from circumstantial evidence. Even though both defendants claimed there was no evidence of any direct threat to withdraw or boycott, such evidence was not necessary to support the verdict.

On the second issue, however, the Eighth Circuit disagreed with the trial court. Most antitrust cases are decided under the rule of reason standard, which looks to whether a challenged business practice “imposes an unreasonable restraint on competition, taking into account a variety of factors, including specific information about the relevant business, its condition before and after the restraint was imposed, and the restraint’s history, nature, and effect.” In this case, however, the trial court decided to apply the per se rule, which automatically assumes a practice is illegal, and permits a defendant no recourse for defending his conduct. In other words, once the jury inferred the existence of a conspiracy, the defendants were automatically guilty.

Per se analysis is generally limited to cases where the courts collectively have extensive experience with a particular type of restraint and can tell it’s an antitrust violation, essentially, by looking at it. Here, the trial court held Ford and American Custom had formed a “horizontal restraint”, meaning two competitors in the same industry ganged up on a third competitor. The courts presume there is no “pro-competitive” justification for such a restraint. The Eighth Circuit, however, found that Ford simply established voluntary safety standards, and such policies are usually analyzed under the rule of reason because they might be pro-competitive. “Because the economic impact of safety standards is not immediately discernible,” the Court wrote, “something more than a cursory per se analysis is required to determine whether the restraint was reasonable.”

On the final issue, admissibility of expert testimony, the Court again agreed with the defendants and reversed the trial judge’s decision. At trial the judge permitted David Cole, an accountant, to testify for Craftsmen on the issue of damages. Acting under the assumption that any business loss suffered by Craftsmen during the three-year period at issue in the trial was solely due to the defendants’ antitrust violations, Cole estimated the damage to Craftsmen’s business at $2,109,770. The jury relied on this figure in awarding damages. The Court of Appeals said Cole’s testimony should not have been admitted, because “he did not determine whether other factors, including the emergence of two direct competitors, may have affected Craftsmen’s growth rate.” This type of analysis is required under a rule of reason standard, which as discussed above the trial judge erroneously refused to apply.

Accordingly, the Court of Appeals vacated the damage award and ordered a new trial to be held under the rule of reason standard. The Eighth Circuit’s opinion was written by Judge Michael Melloy and joined by Judge Lavenski Smith. Senior Judge Donald Lay filed a dissenting opinion, arguing the per se rule was appropriate in this case.


Craftsmen failed to demonstrate any coercive or fraudulent conduct on the part of any defendant. As the Eighth Circuit stated, Ford simply established a voluntary safety protocol, and exercised its power within the marketplace to encourage the protocol’s adoption. Craftsmen ultimately has no right to advertise in a particular publication or appear at a given trade show. Even if Ford and other limousine manufacturers threatened a group boycott if Craftsmen was not excluded, such conduct was neither unreasonable nor anticompetitive. Ford was trying to promote its vision of a safer limousine, hardly an anti-consumer premise. If Craftsmen believed its product was safe and met consumer needs, it should have made greater efforts to promote its limousines outside traditional industry forums, rather than subjecting itself and the defendants to more than five years of litigation. There were no grounds, in CVT’s view, to support the jury’s verdict, and a retrial should vindicate the defendants on all counts.


Larry Plachno - Craftsmen Limousine: A Success Story in Mid-Size Buses - National Bus Trader - April, 2003

One of the more interesting success stories in the bus business today centers around Craftsmen Limousine of Ozark, Missouri. Founders Bob and Marc Haswell, a father and son team apparently have an ability to guess where the market is going and get there ahead of it. Their unique mid-size, body-on-chassis buses are not only selling well, but customers are pounding on their doors to place repeat orders. One big reason for their success is that even with a questionable economy, these buses are making money for their owners. Here is the interesting background on this successful company and how it got where it is today. The story behind Craftsmen Limousine starts with Robert J. Haswell. Bob’s father died in an industrial accident when he was a youngster, and he was raised by his mother who was a school teacher. They moved to Springfield, Missouri, in 1946 when she was hired by the public school system there. Bob married his high school sweetheart, Janet Sell, in 1955, and they subsequently had three children: Pam, Saundra, and Robert M. (Marc) who later joined him in business. Bob and Janet are about to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their first date. In the 12 years after graduating from high school, Bob held a variety of jobs including working for Kraft Foods, Fuller Brush Co. and an assistant manager for Crown Finance Corp. He then sold life insurance for American National Insurance and managed the casualty insurance division for C.O. Sperry. In 1967, Bob started his own insurance business handling excess and surplus insurance as well as writing hard-to-place lines of insurance for other brokers. In 1970, he got into manufactured housing by erecting mobile homes and briefly building them. He also got involved with developing lots and a subdivision. Going back into insurance in 1976, Bob started a malpractice insurance company for doctors. For a dozen years starting in 1977, Bob answered a call to the ministry and served as the pastor of churches that he and his wife had founded. Meanwhile, Bob’s son Marc had completed high school and attended Evangel College for two years. He established the USA Today delivery route for Branson, Missouri and then was employed by Executive Coach Builders in Springfield. Here he developed some expertise and experience in several areas including limousines and became interested in going off on his own.

As a result, Bob and Marc started what became Craftsmen Limousine in 1989. Bob and Marc were soon faced with the limo depression of 1990-1992. They turned this to their advantage by being able to hire experienced help who had been let go by other companies downsizing. By late 1989, they were already stretching limos and looking for production space. October of 1990 found the company moving to a larger facilities in Nixa, Missouri, which they soon outgrew. Less than two years later, in February of 1992, the company moved into part of the complex of the bankrupt Corporate Coach Works plant in Springfield, Missouri. This also proved inadequate, and the move to the current facility in Ozark, Missouri, took place in August of 1994.

Over the years, Craftsmen Limousine developed a reputation for innovation and new features. They were the first to offer TVs mounted in the front post, mirrored ceilings, side reflective fiber optics, dual axle limousines with quad air bag, rear springs and the highly effective slave rear braking system. Dual alternators for supplying electricity were offered in 1996. Stretching limousines is still the largest company activity. In the late 1990s, the company was still stretching town cars into a length of 180 inches. Some were equipped with dual rear axles. In 1999, management predicted that the future of the stretched limousine business was in SUV vehicles rather than town cars and switched production exclusively to SUV stretchouts. Today’s products include the stretched Lincoln Navigator, Cadillac Escalade, Ford Excursion
and Hummer II in lengths of up to 200 inches. Bob Haswell says the Hummer II model accounts for most of their stretched limo business these days. In addition to numerous American and foreign limousine operators, past limousine customers have included the royal family from Saudi Arabia as well as the president of United Arab Emirates. One very special stretched Cadillac for a handicapped princess included a seat that emerged from the vehicle to meet her wheelchair.

Expansion into buses came as a result of pressure from existing limousine customers who wanted more seats and more passenger amenities. To meet this need, Craftsmen purchased a 27-foot bus shell from Goshen Coach in 1997 and installed a limousine interior which seated 23 passengers with a restroom. While this proved successful, the limo operators wanted a larger bus with more features. Unable to find a workable mid-size bus on the market, Craftsmen Limousine decided to find a suitable chassis and
build their own. After looking at various alternatives, the MB55 front engine chassis from Freightliner was selected for several reasons including quality and durability. The first of these chassis arrived at the Craftsmen plant in November of 1999. Craftsmen Limousine continues to offer this same unit today as their 37-foot front engine bus.

Requests from customers for a more sophisticated bus prompted Craftsmen Limousine to work with Freightliner in 2001 to obtain a rear engine raised center rail chassis which would allow underfloor luggage
all the way through. This is currently offered as a 40-foot rear engine bus.

I am sure one of the reasons for the success of Craftsmen Limousine is their high degree of vertical integration. After moving into their current facility in 1994, the building was expanded to provide room for several in-house departments. Now covering a little more than 26,000 square feet, the facility includes a carpenter shop, upholstery shop, electrical shop, painting and finishing areas, and even a steel shop with sheet metal tools. Most of the parts going on and into the limousines and buses are built in-house. I noted that some of the fiberglass and cabinetry is outsourced, but most everything else including parts of the metal frame structure are built right in the same plant. The current facility is large enough to work on 10 SUV stretched limousines along with five buses.

Bob and Marc Haswell did not want just another “throw away” bus. As a result, both bus models offered have several features which make them stronger, more durable, and more like the big buses than the typical mid-sized bus. Both models are 101.5 inches wide and use 22.5 bus wheels and tires. They are heavily undercoated to prevent rust. The frame structure is designed with some flexibility to insure a long life and is puck mounted to the chassis to reduce vibration. Big bus insulation is used with solid inserts into the frame structure. A one-piece fiberglass roof is used with matching end caps to eliminate roof leaks. Space-age bubble insulation is used in the roof. The standard floor in a Craftsmen Limousine bus is designed so that the owner can wet vac it in the event that customers spill their favorite beverage. Above the floor is a layer of foam for both thermal and sound insulation. This is covered by one-eighth inch thick waterproof rubber followed by a commercial grade carpet. Sidewalls are made from Alukabond which consists of two pieces of aluminum glued on each side of a honeycomb core which is then glued to the exterior steel frame. A Bode electric plug door is standard equipment as is a Thetford electric flush toilet.
The Thetford toilet can be charged with two to three gallons of water. Options include an additional five-gallon reservoir which comes out on rollers and can be moved to a dump location. Optionally available is a three-inch hose which can be used with a campground-type dump station. Buses which will be used while parked are equipped with a separate seven KW Onan generator for the air conditioning and lights. Rooftop air conditioning is standard, but interior units are optionally available. Unless equipped with an auxiliary generator, the buses use a simple 12 volt system. NAPA or Pep Boys is your parts warehouse. Interesting options include larger passenger windows for a tour coach, a side entry wheelchair lift, fiber optic accents with a limousine interior and extra luggage capacity at the rear. It should be stressed that while construction and systems are similar from bus to bus, the interiors are usually unique. Craftsmen Limousine provides a wide range of interiors ranging from an exotic limousine interior with fiber optics to conventional bus seats and everything in between. However, the company does keep notes and even
digital photos on several things including the electrical system. In the event of a problem, the staff at the plant can provide phone support and have been known to hop on a plane to help a customer.



For more information please read:

Larry Plachno - Craftsmen Limousine: A Success Story in Mid-Size Buses - National Bus Trader - April, 2003

The Professional Car (Quarterly Journal of the Professional car Society)

Gregg D. Merksamer - Professional Cars: Ambulances, Funeral Cars and Flower Cars

Thomas A. McPherson - American Funeral Cars & Ambulances Since 1900

Carriage Museum of America - Horse-Drawn Funeral Vehicles: 19th Century Funerals

Carriage Museum of America -  Horse Drawn - Military, Civilian, Veterinary - Ambulances

Gunter-Michael Koch - Bestattungswagen im Wandel der Zeit

Walt McCall & Tom McPherson - Classic American Ambulances 1900-1979: Photo Archive

Walt McCall & Tom McPherson - Classic American Funeral Vehicles 1900-1980 Photo Archive

Walter M. P. McCall - The American Ambulance 1900-2002

Walter M.P. McCall - American Funeral Vehicles 1883-2003

Michael L. Bromley & Tom Mazza - Stretching It: The Story of the Limousine

Richard J. Conjalka - Classic American Limousines: 1955 Through 2000 Photo Archive

Richard J. Conjalka - Stretch Limousines 1928-2001 Photo Archive

Thomas A. McPherson - Eureka: The Eureka Company : a complete history

Thomas A. McPherson - Superior: The complete history

Thomas A. McPherson - Flxible: The Complete History

Thomas A. McPherson - Miller-Meteor: The Complete History

Robert R. Ebert  - Flxible: A History of the Bus and the Company

Hearses - Automobile Quarterly Vol 36 No 3

Marian Suman-Hreblay - Dictionary of World Coachbuilders and Car Stylists

Daniel D. Hutchins - Wheels Across America: Carriage Art & Craftsmanship

Marian Suman-Hreblay - Dictionary of World Coachbuilders and Car Stylists

Michael Lamm and Dave Holls - A Century of Automotive Style: 100 Years of American Car Design

Nick Georgano - The Beaulieu Encyclopedia of the Automobile: Coachbuilding

Marian Suman-Hreblay - Automobile Manufacturers Worldwide Registry

G.N. Georgano & G. Marshall Naul - The Complete Encyclopedia of Commercial Vehicles

Albert Mroz - Illustrated Encyclopedia of American Trucks & Commercial Vehicles

Beverly Rae Kimes & Henry Austin Clark Jr. - Standard Catalog of American Cars 1805-1942

John Gunnell - Standard Catalog of American Cars, 1946-1975

James M. Flammang & Ron Kowalke - Standard Catalog of American Cars, 1976-1999


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