Cool Hearses

13 Photos That Prove Vintage Hearses are Still Cool

The first motorized hearses were produced in 1909. Prior to that hearses were horse-drawn. It wasn’t until 1920 that motorized hearses become more mainstream. Early on, some hearses also doubled as ambulances because of the large capacity in the back of the vehicle.

The majority of hearses in North America are Cadillacs and Lincolns. Mercedes-Benz, Daimler, Jaguar and Volvo are the main bases for the hearse in Europe.

Cadillac manufactured a “commercial chassis” which is a strengthened version of the typical passenger car to handle the extra bodywork weight, rear deck and cargo. Ford Motor sells a Lincoln Town Car that is built with expectations of becoming a hearse. Coachbuilders, manufacturer of bodies for automobiles, take the base of the car and put the finishing touches on that turns the vehicle into a working hearse.

Below are 13 late model hearses, each with their own distinctive appearance.

Class Hearse Gothic

Classic Hearse Black Open

Classic Hearse Black

Classic Hearse Glass

Classic Hearse Gold

Classic Hearse Kneel

Classic Hearse long window

Classic Hearse Open

Classic Hearse Ornament

Classic Hearse Style

Classic Hearse Tall

Classic Hearse White

Photos via Bad Control

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MechanicsWorkshop

Hearse Spotlight: The Thundertaker – A Killer Cadillac Custom Car

We thought it was high time we dedicated some space to admiring some of the amazing custom hearses out there today.  For our first spotlight piece we’re looking at the Thundertaker, an amazing custom Cadillac hearse.

The 1960 Cadillac hearse Thundertaker shown below is the creation Bryan Fuller and his shop Fuller Hot Rods.  Fuller is a longtime fan of hearses and frequently drove a hearse around as a form of transportation.  Fuller craved a little more and the Thundertaker was born.

1960 Cadillac Thunder

This Thundertaker rides on one of the longest hot rod chassis out there. Fuller and his team loaded this Cadillac with every entertainment electronics available. The leather and every bolt, top of the line.  All in, Fuller estimates the project took well over 6,000 hours.  “There was, at the very least, one guy on the car for 40 hours a week for three years,” Fuller says, “but the harder the build is, the more rewarding it is in the end.”

The 1960 Cadillac Superior Coachworks hearse certainly has come alive with this incredible customization job.

 

Do you know about a custom or otherwise amazing hearse we should spotlight in our series?  Share it in the comments below!


UrbanLegends

Hearse Legends and Urban Myths (Hearse Legends – Part Three of a Three Part Series)

We hope you have been enjoying our exploration of hearse stories and legends of funeral cars.  For our final installment of this series, we decided to do a small round-up of myths and legends from around the country.  Each of these legends has its devout believers as well as its cynics and skeptics.  In each case, the stories have been passed around for years – generations, even – and so have become part of the local culture and folklore history.

Archer Woods Cemetery – Chicago, Illinois
If you plan to visit this old cemetery at night, you may see a ghostly team of horses pulling a phantom hearse through the serene setting.  Those who have seen it report it’s an extremely frightening sight, but there are still those who say it’s nothing more than the result of some healthy imaginations.

Sleepy Hollow Road – Louisville, Kentucky
With a name like Sleepy Hollow Road, you would expect a plethora of strange occurrences. Several modern-day ghost stories happen along this road, including one story of a ghostly black hearse that follows cars that pass by. The hearse not only follows the cars, but it also causes them to run off the road and over a cliff. According to sightings, the hearse begins following as soon as you enter the road. It then increases in speed, causing the driver of the car to lose control until it plunges into the 30-foot ravine that runs alongside Sleepy Hollow Road.

American Fork Canyon (Wasatch Mountains, Utah)
Locals often mention American Fork Canyon when discussing haunted places in Utah.  The local legend says that people who drive in a circle three times at the top of Tibble Fork don’t leave the park alone.  Once the circles are done and people pull out of the parking lot, they see a ghostly hearse following them.

How do you feel about these legends? Are you a firm believer in them or do you just find them an interesting part of American folklore? Leave us a comment and let us know your thoughts or share your own local hearse myths and legends!


SpookyDisney

The Haunted Mansion Hearse (Hearse Legends – A Three Part Series)

Hearses and funeral cars are probably the most storied vehicles in the history of our culture. Even before the modern-day hearses, the mystique of death and the horse-drawn carriage has always grabbed peoples’ attention. That’s why there are so many legends about hearses and funeral cars in our society. We would like to explore some of those legends of funerals cars in a multi-part blog series.  We hope you will enjoy this and learn something new at the same time.

The Haunted Mansion Hearse

One of the most common legends concerning a hearse takes us to Disney’s Haunted Mansion ride. Before entering the ride, an old-fashioned horse-drawn hearse provides an ominous feeling to those wanting a thrill. According to legend and rumors, this is the same carriage that transported the body of Brigham Young, the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. His funeral took place in 1877, making this hearse more than a century old.

It’s a detail passed around Disney fans for years and is often accepted at face value.  After all, there are dozens of stories passed around about Disney history.  The fact that this one involves a hearse has made it especially appealing to generations of visitors.  The blend of Disneyworld whole fun with the macabre is simply too good to pass up.  Although this is one of the most prominent hearse legends, it is not true.

Glen M. Leonard, director of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ buytramadolbest.com Museum of Church History and Art, went on the record in an attempt to dispel the myth once and for all.  He confirmed that “historical evidence shows no hearse was used,” before going on to tell the story of Brigham Young’s real funeral transportation.

Brigham Young had set out a specific set of instruction he expected to be carried out long before his death in August of 1877.  When Young passed away, those explicit directions were carried out by his staff.  Among the directions had been the naming of pall bearers taken from his pool of clerks and employees.  These men were selected to carry Young’s body from its death bed to the Tabernacle in preparation for his funeral.  After the funeral, those same pall bearers carried Young’s body to a nearby private cemetery.  Simply put, there were no wheeled vehicles of any kind, horse-drawn or otherwise, used in the funeral of Brigham Young.

Exposing this urban legend doesn’t dispel the mystery around the hearse however.  The lineage of the Haunted Mansion hearse can only be traced back to its purchase by Disney from Dale Rickards, a collector in Malibu.  Earlier records for the hearse had disappeared and the manufacturer’s plate had been removed.  This makes it impossible to trace the hearse’s history any further and, as a result, ripe for speculation.  So while it certainly wasn’t used in the funeral of Brigham Young, that doesn’t mean it’s history is any less intriguing.

 

HauntedMansion02


https://pixabay.com/en/oldtimers-car-old-car-automotive-770407/

10 Custom Hearses That Could Make Your Last Trip the Best One Yet

Normally when people see a hearse going down the road, they’re just glad they aren’t the one getting that final ride.  But then there are hearses that just might give you some second thoughts.   Okay, so that might be a bit of an overstatement but, if nothing else, these amazing customized hearses prove that your final ride doesn’t have to be the worst.

While most choose traditional hearse options there are many cool customized hearses on the road today.  Often, these hearses aren’t used for traditional funeral services – but they could be.  Today, many of these cars are private vehicles used simply for fun, but with funeral options growing year on year, it may be only a matter of time before we begin to see them as being offered for specialized services.

Da Bears Hearse

For Die-Hard Fans

Chicago Bears Hearse

Motorcycle Hearse

For the Motorcycle Enthusiast

Motorcycle Hearse

The Gothic Hearse

From the Mad Max set

Gothic Hearse

The Drag Racing Hearse

Do you want to race?

Drag Racing Hearse

Bicycle Hearse

Great on Fuel

Bicycle Hearse

Sidecar Hearse

For that final ride into the sunset

Sidecare Hearse

The Hearse Camper

There’s definitely room to lay down!

Hearse Camper

Hot Rod Hearse

When you need to get there fast

Hot Rod Hearse in Purple

Off Road Hearse

Tough Terrain, no problem

Off Road Hearse

Toyota Prius Hearse

Is this for real?

Toyota Prius Hearse

Images via Complex


A Review of Funeral Car Evolution – Part 3

hearsesHere is the conclusion of our three-part series of the various styles and appearance that hearses and funeral cars have had over the last 100 years or so.

The Eureka-Cadillac Three-Way Landau Hearse
If you like the automobile style that was so popular in the 1950s, you would like this type of hearse. It had the rounded edges and unique taillight styles.

Superior-Cadillac Royale Coupe de Fleur
This unique flower car made an appearance during the late 1950s and was a very popular addition for many funeral homes and mortuaries. You could put flowers in the back and there was a latch that allowed you to lift up the back cover so to load the casket. It was easy and classy all in one!

Superior-Cadillac Crown Royale
This is the style many people think of when they think of older hearses. It has the fins on the back with the curtains in the side windows and a sleek black appearance that only a hearse can have.

We hope you learned something or at least enjoyed these last three posts. You can learn more about these classic hearses by keeping up to date on our blogs.  Subscribe today!


CustomHearse

Looking for Something Original? Consider a Customized Hearse

If you’ve ever been interested in buying one of the hearses for sale that you see in the paper or at a dealership, think about what kept you from making the purchase.  Sure, a nice hearse is pretty much a ready-made statement piece but maybe you thought there was something missing.  After all, traditionally there hasn’t been a whole lot of artistic diversity when it comes to hearses.  When looking at the local secondhand market for hearses, older ambulances and other similar cars, you can often start to feel like if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.

That’s where customization comes into plaMotleyCrueHearsey.  Having a hearse customized can be a bit more of a challenge than your average car customization.  But any company that offers high-end car customization will be able to discuss plans for a hearse just as they would any other car.  Custom car shops are often home to some of the most creative artists and technicians who can hook you up with a one-off paint ambien job, state of the art sound system and even car wraps designed for hearses.

 

If you want to take it to a real extreme, though, consider working with the amazing team at MacNeille.  The MacNeille team started customizing cars back in 1912, almost as soon as they were rolling off the assembly line.  With such a long history in the industry it’s no surprise they’re one of the most well-respected customization companies in the world.  One of their more noteworthy services is armor plating.  They’ve plated ambulances as well as police and military vehicles.  They don’t say if they’ve ever customized a hearse with armor plating, but there’s a first time for everything, right?

Customized hearses have become a great way for private owners to express themselves but some progressive funeral homes see them as an investment as well.  After all, when you can offer clients the chance to take their final ride in a motorcycle hearse or even a bicycle hearse, you’re bound to attract some extra attention.

 


Funeral Cars, Urban Legends and Hauntings

Many people are superstitious about funeral cars. Like all items that are associated with death, hearses and funeral cars have developed a bit of a reputation as symbols of evil, darkness and sadness. Accordingly, many urban legends have developed around the cars.

Haunted Hearses
Like graveyards, it seems that virtually every town has a story about a haunted hearse in the area. Some of these cars are owned by haunted houses or other companies with an interest in sharing ghost stories in order to boost business. Others are owned by funeral car enthusiasts who have a love of all things macabre. Still others are owned by those who would rather not be associated with ghost stories and find the whole situation most unfortunate.

Room for One More
Whether or not you believe in ghosts, a haunted hearse makes a rather chilling campfire tale. However, even spookier is the famous urban legend generally titled “Room for One More.” According to Snopes, the legend dates to at least 1912. It is so popular that it has been used in a Twilight Zone episode and in the 1945 film Dead of Night.

Urban Legend: Room for One MoreIn the original version of the tale, a girl is spending the night at the home of friends. She awakens to the sound of horses’ buydiazepambest.com hooves and goes to the window to investigate. She sees an old-fashioned horse-drawn funeral car driven by an old coachman. Rather than a coffin, the hearse is filled with people. The coachman sees her watching and says, “There’s room for one more.” She is chilled by the offer and retreats to her bed.

The next morning she awakens, unable to decide whether the encounter was a dream. She heads to town to do some shopping. On the top floor of a department store, she considers taking the elevator. However, when she approaches, the elevator is almost full. The elevator operator catches her eye, and she is horrified to realize that he was the coachman in her dream. He says, “There’s room for one more,” and terrified, the girl declines. She turns away as the doors close. Suddenly there are screams and a rush of air followed by a crash. The elevator has fallen and everyone on board has been killed.

Whether or not you believe these stories, it is easy to see how they developed. Funeral cars and other items associated with death are considered taboo by many people. A fear of death is quite common, and it is easy to associate the items with the fear.

 


Types of Funeral Cars – An Overview

 

When most people think of funeral cars, their minds automatically go to hearses. However, funeral directors are aware that there are actually several distinct types of funeral cars, each with a unique job function.  Professional car enthusiasts clubs generally admit those who own any or all of the following vehicles.

First Call Vehicles

Technically, this is the least standardized type of funeral car. Its purpose is simply to retrieve the deceased from the place of death and transfer them to the funeral home. Some funeral homes use their hearse for this purpose, but most find that it saves wear and tear on the hearse.  As a result, many choose to reserve hearses strictly for funerals.  A work van has historically been one of the most popular options, but many funeral homes prefer to use an older hearse or an SUV instead. Custom fittings can be installed to secure the casket or stretcher.

Hearses

These are the fancy cars that carry caskets during funerals. At one time, they were generally horse-drawn buggies, but now are usually based on strengthened car chassis. Hearses are available in a variety of styles and colors, tramadol though many funeral homes stick to traditional understated colors such as blue, black and dark grey.

Flower Cars

Flower cars were once a popular part of funeral processions but are infrequently seen today, due to the increased expense. A flower car is similar to a hearse in design, but features a back that is open like a pickup truck.  Some flower cars carry only flowers, while the casket rides in a traditional hearse. Other flower cars carry the casket as well, surrounded and topped by flowers.

Combination Cars

Not in use today due to modern advances in ambulance-carried medical equipment, combination cars were capable of serving as both hearse and ambulance. In many towns, it fell to the funeral director to make ambulance runs for the town, and in the interest of practicality, combination cars were developed. The most famous example in modern times may be the Ecto-1 of Ghostbusters fame.

Funeral car enthusiasts often collect multiple styles and types of funeral cars. Each has played a unique role in the history of funeral transportation.

 


Ecto-1_HoodOrnament

Who Ya Gonna Call? The Ectomobile!

 

Who can forget the 1980s classic film series, Ghostbusters?  The film, originally released in 1984, has become an American icon.  More than 30 years later, the franchise has been rebooted and a whole new generation will gain an appreciation for proton packs and, of course, getting slimed.

The Ecto-1

Every bit as famous as the guys themselves is their car, the Ectomobile or Ecto-1. Strictly speaking, the Ecto-1 is not a funeral car at all. Instead, it is a 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor Ambulance that the Ghostbusters inherited along with their fire station base. Nonetheless, as we have previously discussed, ambulances and hearses were largely interchangeable until the 1970s in many towns, with the undertaker often making ambulance runs for the city. Besides, since the vehicle was used in the final dispatching of the dead, or undead, the case could be made that the Ecto-1 was a funeral car of sorts.

Ecto-1

So What Happened to the Cars?
The original Ecto-1 actually died during the filming of Ghostbusters II.  The car sputtered to its end on the Brooklyn Bridge, making headlines as it tied up traffic and resulting in a fine for the filmmakers.  For a long time, the Ecto-1a, the upgraded model from the second film, was housed at Universal Orlando, but the car eventually fell into disrepair.   In the end, both Ectomobiles were eventually restored by a group of die-hard Ghostbusters Fans.

The new Ectomobile
In the 2016 reboot of the Ghostbusters franchise, the team keeps true to their roots and the new Ectomobile an old school classic.  The new team of Ghostbusters, Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones, answers their calls in a 1980s Cadillac Fleetwood Station Wagon decked out with the gadgets and paint from the original 1980s Ecto-1.

If you would like to create your own replica Ecto-1, as many fans have done, why not contact our convenient funeral car dealership, where we have new and used hearses for sale? We would be happy to recommend a funeral car that would make an excellent base.