Funeral Cars

RichFunerals

How the Rich Splurge on Funerals and Funeral Cars

A documentary airing in the UK has shed some light on how the uber rich shuffle off the mortal coil in style.  The show follows a funeral home that has catered to several flashy funerals.  The funeral home of AW Lymn in Nottingham has plenty of experience when it comes to these funerals – and the sometimes surprising demands of the rich when their time comes.

One funeral being prepared for a traveling family kicked off with a fleet of Rolls Royces and a double decker Routemaster bus.  When the flashy convoy arrived at the funeral, they had arranged for farmyard animals grazing outside and a red carpet leading to the funeral venue.  Matthew, a company director of AW Lymn, noted that traveling families in the area are often the ones most likely to ask for outlandish displays.  The community is known for its tight-knit relationships and when someone dies, they often have everyone chip in to cover the expense.

But they aren’t the only ones with requests that raise eyebrows:

  • A grieving mother of three asked for a glass coffin for her child.  She wanted a fairy tale themed funeral and the glass coffin was a nod to Snow White.
  • AW Lymn offers a Promethean casket that costs £19,999 (nearly $27,000) which is in demand as it was the one chosen by Michael Jackson as well as some other celebrities.
  • Even burial can be costly if you want a posh neighborhood.  In one popular North London cemetary, a spot runs £32,000 ($42,000) for a spot which doesn’t include the stone, which runs an additional £15-20,000 ($20 – 26,000)

Of course, funeral cars are one of the most obvious ways a person can show their status.  From horse drawn carriages to entire fleets of luxury automobiles, the rich definitely want to make their final ride one to remember.

Currently, the Rolls-Royce Phantom Hearse B12 holds the title as the most expensive hearse.  The amazing vehicle is 23 feet long and is powered by a Rolls-Royce 6.75-litre V12 engine.  It boasts high luminescence LEDs to illuminate the casket so that the dearly departed shines in the spotlight one last time.  When asked about the motivation behind the car, company spokesman Dario Andreotto explained the company wanted something “extraordinary, something that didn’t pass unnoticed and could not be matched by anyone else.”

They certainly hit the mark.  Of course, a final ride in the Phantom Hearse comes at a pretty big cost.  The car costs around €500,000 ($640,000), making it one of the most expensive cars in the world.

Clearly, the rich are used to finer things in life and expect only the best for their final goodbye.  What do you think?  Is splashing out for a big funeral just another way to celebrate a life well lived or is it a huge waste?

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Getting Your Funeral Car Ready for Summer

There are often plenty of articles and information about winterizing cars, but what about steps that need to be taken ahead the onslaught of summer?

Hearses and funeral cars for family need to be kept in tip-top shape all year round and that means preparing for long, hot, sunny summer days.  Here are some quick tips on how you can get your fleet ready to weather whatever summer throws your way.

Test Your Air-Conditioning – Run the A/C for a few minutes in each of your hearses and funeral cars.  Be sure the cold air is strong and that there are no weird or foul odors.

Swap Tires if Needed – In some parts of the country, swapping out winter tires for summer versions can help improve performance and gas consumption.

Check Those Brakes – Winter traffic patterns often mean that brakes see extra wear and tear over the colder months.  Do a full inspection of your brakes to ensure you don’t need to have anything replaced.

Top Up Wiper Fluid – Make sure you have plenty of wiper fluid in your car to handle bugs and other windshield pests.  Since the weather will be warmer, you can also dillute your wiper fluid to help your budget.  Be sure to check the specs on whatever fluid you use so that you don’t dillute too much.

Check Under the Hood – While you’re topping up your wiper fluid, do a visual check on your other fluids as well as belts.  Check for belts that look dry or cracked and get them replaced BEFORE they snap.

Double Check That Coolant – Summer means heat and heat means your coolant levels should be spot on.  A coolant tester (available through any auto shop) will let you know if the water to ethylene glycol ratio needs adjusted.

Wash and Wax – Give your fleet a good wash and follow up with a wax treatment to remove any salt that may have built up over the winter.

Taking the time to go through these simple steps will ensure your entire fleet remains reliable through the summer.  Getting ahead of potential problems also keeps your overall costs low and gives you peace of mind.  Pretty much a win-win for funeral home owners as well as the people you work to support.

 


Remembering Robert F. Kennedy’s Funeral Train

More than 40 years ago, Robert F. Kennedy died after being shot by Sirhan Sirhan at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California.  This tragedy took place mere minutes after Kennedy won the state’s Democratic presidential primary election.

On June 8, Kennedy’s body passed through Delaware County on its way to the nation’s capital on a funeral train. His funeral was the only nighttime funeral in the history of Arlington National Cemetery. It was not planned that way, however. It just happened because of the delays caused by the more than one million mourners who stood alongside the tracks of the funeral train as his body went by.

One of the most amazing parts of Kennedy’s assassination was his concern for others despite what happened to him. Just seconds after he was shot, a hotel busboy heard the senator ask if everybody was alright while he was probably in anguish from the gunshot wounds.

Those words are the subject of a documentary that Oscar-winning filmmaker Jon Blair created on about the incident. He asks “Is everybody alright?” referring to the people who lined the tracks as the train’s funeral cars went by.  You can read more about the documentary here and order the documentary online.

Stories – and documentaries – like this illustrate just how important modes of transportation can be during a funeral.  While funeral trains were long retired by the time Kennedy died, reviving them for his funeral gave the country a chance to come together to mourn – and comfort.

 


PHOTO ROUNDUP: 10 Vintage Funeral Cars from Cadillac

The manufacturing of petrol-driven began in 1909 in the United States. Cadillac started building hearses in 1916 and remain a major player in the industry today.

Cadillac created a “commercial chassis” which is a stronger version of the long-wheelbase Fleetwood limousine. The commercial chassis allows for extra weight of the body, cargo and rear deck.

Below is a history of Cadillac hearses manufactured throughout the decades.

1916 Cadillac Carved-Panel Hearse

The oldest know Cadillac hearse to exist. Mourners could view the casket when the drapes were pulled back.

1916 Cadillac Carved-Panel Hearse

1941 Cadillac Gothic Carved-Panel Hearse

1941 Cadillac Gothic Carved-Panel Hearse

1946 Cadillac Limousine-Style Hearse by Superior

1946 Cadillac Limousine-Style Hearse by Superior

1953 Cadillac Landau Hearse by Superior

1953 Cadillac Landau Hearse by Superior

1955 Cadillac Flower Car

1955 Cadillac Flower Car

1956 Cadillac Limousine-Style Ambulance

1956 Cadillac Limousine-Style Ambulance

1957 Cadillac Imperial Sedan by Fleetwood

1957 Cadillac Imperial Sedan by Fleetwood

1959 Cadillac Landau Combination

1959 Cadillac Landau Combination

1960 Cadillac Victoria Landau Hearse

1960 Cadillac Victoria Landau Hearse

1970 Cadillac Crown Sovereign

1970 Cadillac Crown Sovereign

Photos via HearseWorks


Financing a Funeral Car – A Basic Overview

Individuals who purchase automobiles for their personal driving often buy on credit. Auto financing is a huge business in the personal automobile category. Even businesses that purchase cars for business use, whether they will be driven by one person or shared by a team, will purchase autos on loan. But what about funeral coaches?

Yes, even funeral coaches can be purchased on loan. Auto financing for funeral coaches works pretty much the same way that it does for other cars.

Your funeral home should come prepared to leave a down payment. Figure out how much of a down payment you can afford and that will often influence your finance rate and the length of your loan term. A higher down payment, for instance, will often result in a lower finance rate and a shorter term loan.

When you figure the life of your funeral coach, you’ll be surprised at the value of buying your coach through financing. And if your company has a positive credit rating, you’ll get good terms as well.

Here are five things that influence the terms of your auto loan agreement when you purchase a funeral coach through financing:

  1. Size of your down payment
  2. Your company’s credit rating
  3. The current market rate for financing
  4. Length of the loan term
  5. Amount you are borrowing

Funeral coach financing, like personal automobile financing, moves in waves. Finance rates go up, then they go back down. The trick to getting the best deal on your coach purchase is to purchase when the rates are low. That time is right now.

According to BankRate, auto financing rates are at a low point. That includes financing funeral coaches and limousines.  These rates can vary depending on when you intend to buy as well as your area so be sure to check back often in order to get an idea for the best time to buy.

Financing a funeral coach is easy. Your funeral home can leverage its financial position by financing its coaches and spreading out the purchase price of the vehicle over the life of the coach itself. This helps you, and it helps your clients.

Heritage Coach is committed to providing funeral homes and funeral directors with the best funeral coaches at the best prices, and that includes the best finance rates. If you think you’ll be in the market for a new funeral coach any time in the next year, then start looking now. Pick your coach and finance while the rates are low.


Funeral Car Restoration – Why We All Want to be Pat Brewer

Planning your own funeral is about more than choosing a playlist or even selecting your casket.  For many people, it’s also about deciding which car you’ll use for your Final Ride.  If at least part of your focus is on the car you’ll use to ride off into the sunset, then you’ll want to learn about Charles “Pat” Brewer.

Brewer, a Brooksville, Florida resident, has some of the most classic hearses and funeral cars you will ever find. One is a 1938 Packard Eight hearse. In addition, he has a 1937 Packard Super Eight limousine and a 1947 Lincoln Continental. He believes his 1937 limo once belonged to legendary boxer Jack Dempsey.

Brewer is also the founder of Brewer & Sons Funeral Homes. His son now runs the business which operates funeral homes in Brooksville, Spring Hill, Tampa, Clermont, South Tampa and Groveland. This gives Pat the opportunity to do what he loves – restore old vehicles.

The funeral home offers these old restored funeral cars to families who request them. They are requested at least one time a month. People seem to enjoy them with their two-tone gray and black paint jobs. As a result of the two tones, Brewer has not been able to rent his classic funeral cars out to Hollywood because producers are looking for hearses that are simply black as that is more historically accurate than the black with the gray.

In addition to transporting loved ones to their final resting place, Brewer also enjoys showing off his classic funeral cars at various shows. One time he took his gangster-like funeral cars to a show in New Port Richey. At the time, Al Gore was vice president and he was in attendance. Unfortunately, Brewer had a “Tommy” gun in the back of his car to give it an extra “gangster feel.” The Secret Service found out about it and confiscated the unloaded gun. Brewer got his gun back after Gore left the event later that day.

Brewer’s 1938 Packard has been with him since the mid-1980s. Before he purchased it, the Packard was used as an ambulance and later as a vehicle for a rock band’s equipment. However, the band blew the motor and the Packard ended up sitting in a garage for about 20 years.

Brewer recounts how he came across the classic hearse: “I finished playing golf one day at the (Brooksville) country club and was talking to a man from Cloverleaf who said his brother had one. I flew up to look at it. The man rebuilt the engine and then it took me two years to restore it.”

After restoring his 1938 Packard, Brewer discovered the 1937 Packard limo at an Orlando dealer. He traded his Model A roadster for it.

“It came out of Miami,” Brewer recounted about the limousine. “A land sales dealer used it for driving people back and forth. It had spring a leak in the roof and rotted out all the material.” Brewer believes Jack Dempsey, the legendary boxer, owned the limo but has no concrete evidence to prove it.

Brewer “souped up” the limo with a 500-cubic-inch Cadillac motor, two batteries and dual air conditioning. “We have to use these cars so they have to be reliable,” he explained. The front seat still has the original leather but the back has burgundy nylon velour because the roof leaked for years and damaged the original interior.

Of all his funeral cars, Brewer appreciates the 1947 Lincoln Continental the most. He has customized it with parts from various automakers to make it his own. Back in its day, it was used as a moonshine runner in West Virginia. He is currently in the process of working out some kinks in the ’47 Continental before putting it on the road for his business.

As the founder of a funeral home and a funeral car enthusiast, Pat Brewer understands the importance of the funeral process not only for those left behind, but for the dearly departed as well.  While it’s true that you can’t take it with you, the fact is, you can plan the perfect send off knowing that a dedicated team of professionals will ensure your loved ones experience one more day that celebrates your life.

 

 


Funeral Driving Etiquette: What to Do When in a Procession of Funeral Cars

There is often a lot of focus on informing drivers what to do when they encounter a procession of funeral cars – but what about when you’re in the procession of funeral cars?

Here we’ve brought together some simple, straight-forward rules on what to do when you are a part of the funeral procession.  We’ve tried to address the most common questions and challenges so that bereaved drivers can act with confidence and understand what to expect from other drivers as well as what may be expected from them.

  • Lose the Lead Foot – Funeral processions travel more slowly than average.  expect to keep your speed at least 5 miles under the posted speed limit, including when you’re on the highway.  this is done to ensure everyone can keep up and stay together.
  • Filter Out the Flashing Lights – Since funeral processions travel more slowly, they may be have a police escort.  Try not to get distracted by the flashing lights.  Keep your eyes focused on the car ahead of you in order to keep up with the procession.
  • Turn Your Headlights On – This is so other cars can see you clearly and they are alerted that you are part of the procession.
  • Stay in Position – It is extremely rude to even try to pass the car in front of you while driving in the procession.
  • Keep Up With the Procession – If you fall too far behind, you may lose the other cars and all the cars behind you will be lost, too.
  • Use Caution at Intersections – Although funeral cars are allowed to go through stop lights and intersections, drivers these days simply do not pay attention and they could plow into you. Just take a quick look both ways to see if it looks like any cars are going to pose a problem before proceeding through the intersection.
  • Are You The Last in Line – If your car is the last in the funeral procession you should have two funeral flags and have been instructed to have your hazard lights flashing.  Sometimes this is not necessary with a full police presence.
  • Run the Light – Funeral processions are usually given the full right of way at red lights and Stop signs.  No matter what you encounter, do not stop if the car ahead of you continues to go.

These simple rules can help make the journey to the cemetery a bit less stressful.  if, however, you feel you are too emotional to drive, ask the funeral home about transportation options through their funeral car service.


MuscleCarHearse

Muscle Car Hearses – Funeral Cars for Old School Car Enthusiasts

MuscleCarHearse

Mention ‘muscle cars’ to most car fans and they’ll waste no time telling you about their favorite model.  Chevy’s iconic Corvette, Ford’s Mustang Shelby, Pontiac’s Firebird Trans Am and – of course – the Dodge Charger have all become such cultural icons they are recognizable to car enthusiasts and the general public alike.  These cars have come to represent power, freedom and the thrill of the open road.

So what happens when someone who loves these iconic pieces of American history passes away?  For some, the thought of making their final ride in a traditional hearse leaves them feeling underwhelmed.  Their family and friends often feel the same way and wish there was a way for their loved one to ride to their final place in a car befitting the way they lived.

That’s where muscle car hearses come in.

Back in 2009, these funeral cars made a splash when they were a part of Detroit’s Woodward Dream Cruise.  Every August, the Woodward Dream Cruise in Detroit, Michigan, dazzles thousands of spectators who come to see the best that the automakers have put out over the years. More than 40,000 custom cars, collector automobiles, street rods and other impressive vehicles line Woodward Avenue revving their engines and showing people what they got. But this year there is going to be a new unique addition to the annual event.

As part of the event, Lynch Sons Funeral Home of Clawson displayed a classic 1939 Henney-Packard hearse at Peabody’s Restaurant in nearby Birmingham. The hearse was part of a much larger display that showcased the history of the American funeral.  The display, “Reflections: The American Funeral,” was a museum on wheels complete with exhibits on funeral customs, practices and other funeral-related items designed to educate and entertain.  It featured relics from the past and glimpses of the future – including innovative new designs for funeral cars.

Muscle hearses were still new back then and, while they still haven’t exactly gone mainstream, they have developed an enthusiastic fan base.   South East Funeral Services in Australia, for example, now offers muscle car hearse options for people who want to make their last ride one to remember.   Then, in 2013, a team out of Atlanta, Georgia unveiled their custom hot rod hearse – a ’60 Cadillac Superior Coachworks hearse they had completely revamped, reworked and re-imagined into something new.  They dubbed their creation the Thundertaker and had it featured on HotRod.com.  You can check out the details of this 36-month build on HotRod’s feature article on the Thundertaker.

Muscle cars and hearses were not traditionally the kinds of cars most people would think of combining.  As funerals have become more customizable, however, hearses have also become a way for people to express themselves.  Collectors and funeral homes alike now see the benefit and the joy there is in creating beautiful hearses and other funeral cars by reworking the traditional views and creating a fleet of cars for a whole new generation.


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Vintage Funeral Cars – A Walk Down Memory Lane

We love looking at the newest technologies and options when it comes to funerals and funeral cars, but we also love looking back.   Let’s take a walk down memory lane. These unique vintage funeral cars exude a style and flair that will stop you in your tracks.

The funeral cars featured below include: Lincoln, Lorraine, Packard, Pontiac and Sayer and Scovill

Most of these hearses have been restored and resold via auctions throughout the years.

1941 Lincoln V-12 Custom Ambulance

1941 Lincoln V-12 Custom Ambulance

1947 Lincoln Hearse (Argentina)

1947 Lincoln Hearse (Argentina)

1920 Lorraine – Twelve-Column Carved Panel Hearse

1920 Lorraine

1937 Packard Flower Car

1937 Packard Flower Car

1938 Packard Art-Carved Model Hearse

1938 Packard Art-Carved Model Hearse

1941 Packard

1941 Packard

1940 Pontiac

1940 Pontiac

1919 REO Hearse

1919 REO Hearse

1924 Sayers and Scovill

1924 Sayers and Scovill

1936 Sayers and Scovill Romanesque Hearse

1936 Sayers and Scovill Romanesque Hearse

Photos via HearseWorks


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.