vintage hearse

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Veterans Come Together to Recreate The Lincoln Hearse

When it comes to iconic hearses, the coach that carried Abraham Lincoln on his final ride is a fan favorite.  Not only was it an important historical funeral vehicle, it was also something of an enigma.  While other famous funeral cars often become part of a collection or get acquired by museums, Lincoln’s carriage was destroyed by a fire in 1887.  As a result, only a handful of photographs remain, making it a funeral vehicle lost to history.

That was the case until a group of veterans decided to come together and recreate the hearse for the 150th anniversary commemorative ceremonies to honor President Lincoln back in 2015.

The Blue Ox Veterans Program was originally founded by Eric Hollenbeck, a master craftsman who was grappling with PTSD.  As a way to work through his own issues and offer a helping hand to fellow veterans, Eric founded the Veterans group and tasked them with the auspicious project if recreating Lincoln’s funeral carriage.  The group worked from photographs to create the hearse, focusing on the details and doing their best to create a fully functional and exact replica of the infamous hearse.

Veterans involved with the program brought in family to help with the build as well, making it a project that gave back to the community in more ways than one.  Not only was the funeral carriage complete in time for the honorary festivities being held in Springfield, the hearse remained with the Staab Family Livery and is available for the public to see in the Lincoln Library and Museum each summer.  The project also brought together vets from across different generations, conflicts and backgrounds in order to give them a way to work together and channel their energy while connecting with fellow vets.

You can check out the full story of the Lincoln Hearse rebuild as well as more information on the vets program and the Blue Ox community at their official website.


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


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.

 

 


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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