hearses

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.


Roadfuture

21st Century Hearse: What Will Future Funeral Cars Look Like?

21st century funeral cars and the mobility internetWhat will the next incarnation of the funeral car look like? Back in 2012, authors William Mitchell, Christopher Borroni-Bird, and Lawrence Burns believe they know. A new book describes what they call the “mobility internet,” and the implications for the funeral car business are incredible.

For starters, this trio are suggesting that all cars, funeral hearses included, will not only be driven electrically but be electronically controlled. Translation: That means they’ll have a battery that needs charging, but the inside mechanisms of the vehicles themselves will be electronic.

Another idea floated by these authors is technology that allows vehicles on the road to communicate between themselves and the surrounding infrastructure. You’ll be able to see traffic ahead of you, say, between the funeral home and the cemetery, and pick alternate routes if you have to.

One implication of the interconnected infrastructure is something they call a “clean energy grid.” A reduction in auto emissions plus the entire transportation ecosystem being driven by the internet.

Just over five years later and we’ve already seen advancements that show these authors were on the right track.  Electric cars are now seen on roadways thanks to Tesla and advancements in batteries and automotive technology mean that autonomous driving features are now almost standard.  While there’s still no communication grid between cars and their environments, the idea seems less far-fetched.

Another idea that was mentioned by the authors and may come to fruition is the idea of dynamic pricing for markets such as parking, roads, electricity, etc.  Imagine your funeral customers being able to reserve their parking spaces at your funeral home before they arrive. You can have assigned parking spaces for the cars joining the procession after the service and those that won’t be going to the cemetery service. And you can have electric battery chargers as an added service.

Of course, these advancements haven’t entirely made their way to commercial vehicles such as funeral hearses … yet.  But as consumers and the general public embraces these changes, it becomes a lot more likely we will see them become a part of professional options as well.

There’s no telling how the mobility internet might affect the overall funeral business and your ability to manage your funeral car fleet, but if the vision of these authors is any indication, it will be a wild ride.


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!


1959_Cadillac_hearse

A Review of Funeral Car Evolution – Part 2

funeral limousine dealerIn this series, we are continuing to look at the evolution of funeral cars through the ages.  Here are several more examples of how hearses have changed through the decades.

Buick Limousine Hearses
These funeral cars typically had carved windows and ornate decorations that resembled the horse-drawn carriages of decades past. These models generally had white-walled tires for extra class and a touch of sophistication, too.

The Model A Hearses
Model A funeral cars had elaborate carvings that you simply do not see on today’s hearses. The sides of these cars had carvings that looked like rippled curtains and decorative scrolls to give them a truly unique appearance.

Gothic Hearses
During the 1940s, gothic hearses and funeral cars were becoming fairly popular. The sides of the back of these cars looked like stained glass windows from an elaborate Catholic church. They had a reverent appearance that is hard to find these days.

Carved Flower Cars
Although they are called flower cars, these funeral cars were rare and they were designed to carry caskets rather than flowers. They did not have the typical appearance of a hearse, but they still had ornate panels and the sleek style of funeral cars.

Henny-Packard Flower Car
These flower cars were popular toward the end of the 1940s and included a platform in the back designed to carry flower arrangements. Underneath that platform was also a place where the casket could slide in and out.

In our next installment, we will have a few more brief descriptions of styles for you. Be sure to come back for more!


A Review of Funeral Car Evolution – Part 1

hearse dealersJust like anything that has changed over the years, funeral cars have evolved in the last hundred years or so. They have come a long way since the days when pallbearers would carry the casket from the church to the burial grounds.  In this three part series, we will take a brief look at how funeral cars and hearses have evolved over the years.  Here are a few of the different styles that funeral cars and hearses have experienced throughout history.

Auto Hearses
Once the idea of the automated vehicle caught on, funeral cars began becoming more and more automated, too. However, for many years they still looked like their horse-drawn counterparts complete with lanterns and woodwork on the sides.

 

More Sophistication
As funeral cars evolved, they became more sophisticated. One style had a tray that came out of the side of the hearse xanaxlowprice.com because there was not a back door. It was called a side-servicing casket table and it swiveled out of either side and then swiveled back in for more ease of loading and unloading the casket.

 

The Town Car
Some hearses and funeral cars became long and sleek to display even more class. On some, the driver’s area was open and the back part of the vehicle was closed in and covered with curtains to give the casket some privacy. The tires typically had white walls to give it an extra touch of class.

 

Those are just a few styles that funeral cars have evolved through over the years.  We will be adding onto this series in a new installment soon.  Come back for a brief description of more!


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.

 


DrunkDriving03

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 valium 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.