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“Ever Drive a Hearse, Harold?” Funeral Cars in the Movies

Funeral car collectors may seem odd to those who are on the outside looking in. After all, who would want to drive around in such an obvious symbol of death? That same confusion or distaste does not, however, seem to carry over to film. A surprising number of films from cult classics to beloved Disney movies feature funeral cars as supporting characters. Here is a brief guide to some of the more popular funeral car films.

Harold and Maude – This 1971 cult classic is possibly the greatest funeral car film of all time. It ranked #45 on the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 Funniest Movies of All Time. Harold and Maude are possibly the unlikeliest pair of all time, and their hilarious exploits in a stolen hearse will not soon be forgotten.

Munster Go Home – Who doesn’t love the Munsters? As would seem appropriate for this unusual family, Herman travels with his carpool in a 1950s limo style hearse.

Some Like It Hot – This classic film features a scene in which a funeral car is pursued by Chicago police officers. After a great deal of gunplay, the hearse arrives at The Funeral Parlor. The funeral parlor turns out to be a speakeasy, and the deceased is a case of bootleg liquor.

The Brave Little Toaster – Even kids movies are in on the trend.  This cute kids’ movie features a singing hearse and limo duet.

A Goofy Movie – Disney doesn’t shy away from themes of death either.  This 1995 Disney film features a scene of a hearse complete with singing corpse.

Of course, the above are just a few of the many movies in which hearses and funeral cars are prominently featured. Funeral cars have played an important role in film history, and the Hollywood ties are one of many reasons that collectors value these fascinating vehicles. If you are in the market for a new or old funeral car, why not stop by our friendly dealership? We can answer any question that you may have.


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The Pink Funeral Car from the UK That Made Headlines in the Cross-Europe Road Rally

As a general rule, funeral car enthusiasts love to fix up their cars and show them off. Some prefer to restore their vehicles to their original condition, others soup them up for racing purposes. Another group, however, prefers to turn their funeral cars into showpiece works of art. A British pair has done just that and then entered their car into a cross-Europe road rally.

The car in question is a 15 year old Ford Dorchester mourners’ car that was purchased for 100 pounds. The three man

team has customized the vehicle around a disco theme, complete with disco ball, pink paint and flashing lights. They entered their modified macabre masterpiece in the 2008 Ramshackle Rally. The Rally crosses central Europe and ends in Krakow, Poland.

The rally is a popular see and be seen event, which the team entered in order to raise money for charity. Their charity of choice was the Cauldwell Charitable Trust, a group organized by friends of one of the team members that helps sick and disadvantaged children.

The trio will drove approximately 3,000 km in four days from the city of Calais, France to the finish line in Krakow. None have ever competed in an event on this scale, but all were eager to get started and excited about the prospect of making the 2008 Rally one to remember.

If you are a funeral car enthusiast, you probably enjoy taking your car out and showing it off. A road rally is a great place to meet others who share your interest in unusual vehicles. Rallies take place around the world on a fairly regular basis, and are easy to find online. If you are still in the market for the perfect funeral car, be sure to stop by our friendly dealership.


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Drunk Driving Programs Are Increasingly Realistic

Drunk driving awareness programs have been extremely popular in recent years. Groups like SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions, formerly Students Against Drunk Driving) and MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) regularly stage scenarios that attempt to shock teens with the stark realities of possible drunk driving consequences. These scenarios usually take place around prom season, as groups attempt to ensure that teens will make wise choices on prom night.

In decades past, these demonstrations have largely consisted of static displays placed on school lawns.

A student production of a staged accident.

Wrecked cars and funeral cars are generally a part of the display.   Newer versions of this type of real life display also include plays or demonstrations that include local police, fire department and medical workers in order to lend some authenticity to the recreation.  If a student has recently been involved in a non-fatal accident, his or her car may be used to help bring realism.

In recent years, these static displays have been supplanted or reinforced by live demonstrations. These demonstrations are often sponsored by police and fire departments, and may include ambulances, police cars and even funeral cars. Live actors play the roles of the injured and dead.

A group in Dracut, Massachusetts recently staged a noteworthy and realistic display in 2008.  The promotion created an impact that made headlines in the local paper, the Valley Dispatch. Held on school DrunkDriving03grounds, the scenario placed three students in cars that had just been involved in a head-on collision. A fourth student lay on the pavement, the victim of a gushing head wound. As the girl was declared dead, her mother rushed onto the scene, screaming in agony. One of the drivers, a popular student, was arrested for vehicular homicide as liquor bottles were pulled from the car. The girl was zipped into a body bag and loaded into a funeral car as her mother was physically restrained.

Later, students filing into an assembly were met with an open coffin bearing a mirror inside. A chilling note read “This could be you.” The mother of a student killed in a drunk driving accident then addressed the somber group.

Although demonstrations like the above could be considered too graphic for students, proponents believe that these programs make a difference. Student drinking statistics are down, and some groups partially attribute this to these realistic anti-drinking and driving displays.

If you would like to donate your funeral car for use in a school display, contact your local chapter of SADD or MADD for more information.


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Funeral Car Enthusiast? Check Out These Hearse Clubs

If you are a funeral car collector or enthusiast, you may want to consider joining the Professional Car Society . This international society was founded in 1976 to encourage the restoration and preservation of professional cars. A professional car can be virtually any customized vehicle that is based on a passenger car and used in livery, funeral or rescue services. Special attention is given to dual-function vehicles such as hearse/ambulances and invalid coaches.

The society is a gold mine of information for anyone attempting to restore, maintain or preserve a car that fits within its guidelines. A quarterly magazine, The Professional Car, is distributed free of charge to members. The magazine carries numerous articles and advertisements that are of particular interest to professional car enthusiasts. Each issue also provides a free Classifieds section, which can be quite helpful in obtaining needed parts for your funeral car.

An international meet is held each summer, always in a colorful and interesting location. This is wonderful opportunity to meet and mingle with others who share your hobby, and to trade valuable information and tips.  The society also maintains a significant web presence. Here you can find information on your local chapter, learn about the society’s history and plans for the future, submit details about your car for possible display at future events, and keep up with ongoing events.

There are also clubs that focus on hearses specifically.  These clubs offer local chapters so it may take some digging to find one in your neck of the woods.  But many are active online as well, making it a bit easier to network even if you don’t find one locally.  The Nightmare Cruisers, Phantom Coaches and Just Hearse N’ Around Hearse Clubs all maintain updated web pages and social media options.  The Denver Hearse Club even hosts an annual convention – HearseCon – devoted to fans of hearses.

If this piqued your morbid curiosity and you’re in the market for the perfect funeral car , we invite you to visit our convenient dealership. We can help you find the funeral car that is right for you.


Ever Wonder About the Harold and Maude Funeral Car?

Funeral car enthusiasts and cult movie lovers alike are extremely familiar with the 1959 Cadillac Superior hearse featured in the film Harold and Maude. Over the decades, the fate of that funeral car has been widely debated. Numerous people have come forward claiming to be the current owner, from celebrities to funeral car collectors. However, the popular funeral car club Grim Rides appears to have located the actual owner.

So Who Owns the Car?
The gentleman who currently owns the Harold and Maude funeral car has decided to remain anonymous. However, he met with the owner of Grim Rides and provided documentation that proves that his car is the one from the film. The letter that the current owner received from the Department of Motor Vehicles, giving the car’s history, is posted on the club’s website.

How Did He Get the Car?
The owner’s account of the story is also available on Grim Rides’ website. According to that account, some scenes from the film were shot in his hometown. He had the opportunity to view the funeral car up close on several occasions. After the film was released, he became an enormous fan. In 1974, he decided to track down the vehicle. He read the license plate from the movie screen and had a friend’s police officer father locate the owner. He then called the owner.

As it turns out, the owner was also a major fan of the movie. The pair stayed in touch over the next months, and when the owner was ready to sell, he offered the car to the gentleman in question. He was not yet old enough to drive, nor did he have the money for the car. However, his father came through and purchased the vehicle for him.

He drove the car regularly until 1977, and has had it in storage since 1979. At last, the mystery has been solved. As for the Jag hearse that was driven off a cliff at the end of the film? It was destroyed during filming of that scene.

If you would like a funeral car of your own, we invite you to visit our friendly dealership to find new and used hearses for sale. We will be happy to help you find the car that is right for you.


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Check out This One-Stop Online Funeral Car Reference

Funeral car clubs are surprisingly common, both in person and online. Some groups consist of average workaday people whose interest in the macabre does not extend beyond their car collections. Others are more gothic types whose interest in hearses and funeral cars is symbolic of their larger interest in all things dark and spooky.GrimRides01

No matter which group you fall into, your interest in these fascinating vehicles is likely to extend beyond your own car. You may be interested in historic funeral cars, hearses in the movies or other funeral car-related topics.

If you are looking for a one-stop internet resource (besides this blog!) to help you find funeral car information, you can’t do better than the Grim Rides Funeral Car Club. Although the club’s membership is limited to those who live in the Northern California area, the website resources are available to everyone.  They have moved much of their content to various social media outlets and they continue to maintain their standalone domain.

If you are looking for a funeral car club in your area, Grim Rides acts as a hub for clubs and fans all over the country.   There are also links to funeral car pictures online, as well as a detailed list of funeral cars in the movies.

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If you are still in the market for a funeral car, why not visit our friendly dealership? Once you have your new or used hearse, drop by Grim Rides to get in contact with others who share your hobby. The site is a lot of fun, even for non-funeral car owners like me.