Cool Hearses

NissanLeafExperiment

The Great Eco-Hearse Experiment – How a Nissan Leaf Conversion Made Headlines

Eco-friendly, electric and hybrid cars have officially gone mainstream thanks to the technological advancements and marketing savvy of companies like Tesla.  A green approach to transportation is now pretty well represented in both passenger cars and public transportation vehicles.  But this green trend hasn’t made much of a change in the world of hearses and funeral cars.

The Converted Nissan Leaf

One UK funeral home, however, has launched an interesting campaign to change that.  Leverton & Sons operates out of North London, placing them at the epicenter of traffic and congestion.  The funeral home also has a reputation for advancing sustainable and environmentally friendly burial options so the idea of an eco-friendly hearse is a natural match.

Leverton & Sons teamed up with Brahms Electric Vehicles to create a fleet of funeral cars and hearses from Nissan ‘Leaf’ models.  The concept was a success and won the company the Best Green Funeral Director Title in 2013 and again in 2017.  They were also shortlisted for the Camden Business Awards ‘Carbon Reduction and Energy Efficiency’ category.

Critical success aside, the enduring popularity of the option has proven there is a market for environmentally friendly options when it comes to funeral transportation.  With the growing popularity of low and zero-emission vehicles, the market for eco-friendly options is clearly thriving.

While this project was an aftermarket modification it sends a clear message to auto makers and funeral car developers:  People want green options even after they’re gone.

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HC-hells-hearse-fest

Hell’s 17th Annual Hearse Fest

This year marks the 17th annual Hearse Fest in Hell, Michigan.  The annual event has become a popular gathering place for fans of funeral cars, custom and vintage hearses as well as those who simply enjoy funeral culture.

The event is slated to take place Saturday, September 15th and is organized by Just Hearse N Around, the local group of hearse enthusiasts.

This year, they have been going the extra mile when it comes to promotion since there will be a film crew on hand.  Film director Steve Shippy has arranged to bring an entire film crew to film a full-length documentary.  The crew will be focused on cars and interviewing owners as well as the culture surrounding hearses.

Vendors are also turning out in droves and are sure to appeal to everyone from serious professional collectors to casual fans and first time visitors.  A partial list of vendors already confirmed include:

  • Deadly Grounds Coffee
  • Crooked Seams by lindsay J
  • Nicole’s Disturbed on Canvas
  • Zachariah Messiah’s Morbid Curiosities
  • Grave Digger Candles
  • Dead Sled Morgue LLC
  • Hardcore Hearse Club
  • Voodoo Doll’s Accessories

You can check out the latest news and developments as well as posts from fans over at the Hell’s Hearse Fest Facebook page.


HC-collecting-hearses

Collecting Hearses: Child’s Play

Funeral car fans may pine for a classic hearse or even plan their own customized dream funeral car but you don’t have to break the bank to start an amazing collection.  Models and sets have made it easier than ever for all funeral car fans to begin developing their collections no matter what their budget.

Matchbox City Action ’63 Cadillac Hearse 1:64 Die Cast Car Model  ($35.95, Amazon)

Most, if not all, of us remember Matchbox cars as being synonymous with race cars.  But the toy car company knows that the kids who cut their teeth on race cars grow up to be gearheads with a soft spot for these nostalgic collectibles.  This 1:64 scale die cast model is bound to please any funeral car fan with childhood memories of Matchbox cars.  Reading through the comments, we found a special tidbit on this model.  One reviewer reports that the car is “the one with the hand coming out of the coffin in back”.  In order to see it if you decide to invest (and open the package) you’ll need to “look from the passenger side back, and everything is gray, but the coffin is open and a hand is out laying on the open lid”.

FordModelTHearsewithOrnate

1921 Ford Model T Hearse with Ornate Carved Detail ($190.95, Rakuten)

This 1:18 detailed model is made by GreenLight toys as part of their Precision Collection.  It comes complete with detailed replica coffin, rotating wheels and opening driver passenger and rear doors.

 

TMNTHearse

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles T-Machines Rat King in Hearse Diecast Vehicle ($15, Gift Universal)

Hearse fans who grew up in the 80s and 90s are bound to fall in love with this throwback hearse model.  The officially licensed TMNT model allows fans to take on Shredder and the Foot Clan with this “powerful line of T-Machines to save the streets of New York. Grab your Shell and Roll!”

 

MunstersHearse

Riding With The Munsters ($99.99, The Hamilton Collection)

What toy hearse collection would be complete without one of the most identifiable hearses of all time?  This 1:18-Scale Hearse Sculpture features amazing detail.

  • Fully-sculpted 1930s-style hearse in oversized 1:18 collector scale
  • Gleaming chrome-look trim
  • Iconic skull hood ornament
  • Hand-numbered with a matching Certificate of Authenticity
  • Side images of the entire Munster clan – including Herman, Lily, Grandpa, Eddy and Marilyn
  • A three-dimensional Herman Munster “bursting” out through the roof

 

NightmareBeforeChristmas

Nightmare Before Christmas Hearse ($99.99, The Hamilton Collection)

Speaking of eye catching hearses, consider this homage to Tim Burton’s holiday crossover classic A Nightmare Before Christmas.  Inspired by the design of their Munster hearse, this officially licensed product features plenty of amazing details including the Pumpkin King himself, Jack Skellington, sitting stop the 1930s style hearse.

 

LegoHearse

LEGO Vampyre Hearse ($72.50, Amazon)

This now-retired Lego set is in high demand but can still be found on sites like Amazon, eBay and other resale venues.  Set features invclude:

  • Includes the Vampyre’s Hearse and Dr. Rodney Rathbone’s motorcycle
  • Moonstone accessory and 4 weapons
  • Coffin with catapult function
  • Dodge the Vampyre’s catapult attack
  • Measures over 4″ high, 3″ wide and 7″ long when complete

5FamousHearses

Five Hearses Everyone Knows and Loves

There are plenty of examples of widely recognized cars but, when asked, many people may not immediately think of hearses as being a car everyone can recognize easily.  but there are a handful of hearses that have become pop culture icons – as recognizable as The Bandit’s Trans Am.

1.  Claire Fisher’s Green Funeral Coach (1971 S&S Victoria, Six Feet Under)

SixFeetUnderHearse

HBO’s award winning series, Six Feet Under, followed the lives of a funeral home family.  The show ran for five seasons and Claire was the youngest member of the family.  Claire used the lime green hearse as her daily ride throughout the show and it was routinely featured in promos and fan art for the show.

2.  Harold’s Morbid Ride (1967 Jaguar XK-E Hearse 4.2 Series, Harold & Maude)

Harold

The 1971 cult classic Harold and Maude features two noteworthy hearses:  a 1959 Cadillac Superior 3-way and a custom model he makes from a 1967 Jaguar XK-E Hearse 4.2 Series.  The custom hearse has become a more recognizable hearse, though some car fans are quick to point out calling it a hearse is a bit of a stretch (pun intended).

3.  John F. Kennedy’s Final Ride (1964 Cadillac Miller-Meteor)

JFK

Pretty much anything and everything John  F. Kennedy touched quickly became worth its weight in gold after his tragic death.  This was true of the car that carried him to his final resting place as well.  The  “cotillion white” 1964 Cadillac Miller-Meteor became an instant must have item for collectors of JFK memorabilia as well as hearse and funeral collectors.  The car was sold at auction for $176,000 in 2012 to Stephen Tebo of Boulder, Colorado who reportedly added it to his private collection of more than 400 noteworthy vehicles.

4.  Munster Koach (Custom Made, The Munsters)

Munsterkoach

The Munsters may not have transcended generations the same way the Addam’s Family did, but there’s no denying the campy monster family remains a cult favorite.  The Munsters’ family car couldn’t have been anything but a hearse, but theirs simply couldn’t be a run of the mill hearse.  Instead, producers had the Munster Koach custom made and used three Ford Model T bodies, making it 18 feet long. The car featured blood red interior and black pearl paint and it took artists 500 hours to hand-form the ornate rolled steel scroll work.

5.  The Ecto-1 (1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor, Ghostbusters)

Ecto1

Okay, okay .. let’s get one thing out of the way right off the bat. While it’s generally accepted as a hearse for the sake of arguments (and lists like this), it’s important to point out the car is, technically, an ambulance / hearse combination. Still, it’s probably the most recognizable “personal health car” in the country.  The car has a long and interesting history and remains a fan favorite.  In the highly debated reboot, the car was revamped as a Fleetwood hearse, making it officially a hearse in the Ghostbusters universe.

Fun Fact:  The original Ecto-1 was notorious for having car problems.  Scenes from Ghostbusters II where the car breaks down, backfires and starts billowing smoke on the Brooklyn Bridge were not the result of special effects.  The car was, in fact, on its deathbed.  The resulting traffic jam resulted in heavy fines for production and having the car converted for the rest of the film.


UsingSmartPhone

Want to Control Your Hearse Fleet With your Smartphone? There’s an App for That!

Remote control iphone app for funeral hearsesImagine, if you will, being in the middle of a funeral service and you pull out your iPhone. You open up the remote control app you have installed and start one of the hearses in your fleet. Then you push a button and the hearse wheels itself around to the front of the building and stops to wait for the pall bearers to carry the casket to the back of the vehicle. Amazing thought, isn’t it?

Well, you can’t do all of that with your iPhone, but you can start your hearse and control some of the functions on your vehicles with your iPhone.

The technology is courtesy a company called Delphi. Using Bluetooth technology, the company has created an app that allows you to remote start your vehicles through your key fob. You can also unlock doors and operate several other vehicle functions remotely.

This is a huge step forward from yesteryear, huh?

As a funeral director, you are always trying to make your processes more efficient and elegant. Your iPhone can now participate and make that happen for you and your business.

Delphi isn’t even the only company getting into the smartphone apps for car control.  Viper SmartStart, for example, offers remote start, real time tracking and security features which can be useful for funeral directors managing a large fleet with multiple drivers.

The next time you speak to your funeral coach dealer, ask about the iPhone remote control app. Ask if they’ve heard of it. This technology is only bound to get better and that’s something to look forward to.


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


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