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.
Photos via Bad Control