Funeral Hearses


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.

Read More


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?

5 Reasons Your Next Car Should Be a Hearse

Looking to buy a new car and want something that’s unique, versatile, functional and a great deal?  Consider buying a hearse.  Before you shrug the idea off as something only for goths or hipsters, take a moment to consider these five solid reasons why a hearse could be a great investment.

  • One Owner and Plenty of Service Records – Funeral directors tend to buy their hearses new and they also keep up with general and preventative maintenance.  Since funeral homes rely so heavily on hearses, they keep them in tip-top shape and have the service records to prove it.
  • Truly a ‘Gently Used’ Vehicle – You’ve probably noticed that most funeral processions go slow enough to drive Miss Daisy.  Hearses are rarely – if ever – subjected to breakneck speeds or careless driving.  Hearses are such public cars and their drivers are under near constant scrutiny.  They’re also kept meticulously clean with details done inside and out as well as winterizing on a regular schedule.
  • Delivers a Comfortable Ride – Even for the Living – Hearses are often little more than modified sedans and, as such, they’re incredibly comfortable to drive.  Leg room aplenty and often with high-end appointments such as heated seats, Bluetooth capability and built in GPS, hearses are designed for comfort.
  • Plenty of Cargo Space – Want to refurnish your house from Ikea?  Hitting up every local garage sale you can find in the height of summer?  Picking up some 6 foot lumber for a yard project?  Need space for camping, festival, concert or tailgating gear?  A hearse has you covered.   You can fit plenty in the back without worrying it will affect the comfort of the ride in the front.
  • Performance Won’t Be An Issue – While hearses are generally driven carefully, that doesn’t mean they lack in performance.  Since they’re usually hauling some heavy cargo as well as dealing with the equipment installed in the back (more on that below), hearses tend to come with plenty of punch below the hood.

A Note of Caution

To be fair, while there are plenty of reasons to buy a hearse, it’s something you should consider carefully.  Buying a hearse may mean some initial investment in getting the car ready for mainstream use.  Many hearses, for example, have a ‘coffin deck’ in the back which makes loading and unloading a coffin easier.  This hardware will need to be removed and, quite often, the back will need to be carpeted or otherwise refurnished.

Driving a hearse is also something that takes some getting used to.  The cars a re longer than most conventional vehicles and people often find they have a hard time parking or even negotiating tight turns around drive-thrus and other areas.

Still, even with the challenges presented by hearse driving, the cars are a classic and they’re always guaranteed to turn heads.  if you want something functional and fabulous, a used funeral car is definitely worth considering.


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!


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 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!

Tesla Model S Hearse Concept

Eco Friendly Hearses Offer a Greener Goodbye

Have you ever worried about what the planet is going to be like after you die? If so, there are things you can do to contribute your little part to its sustainability.  Consider making eco-friendly hearses and funeral cars a part of your pre-need funeral planning.

Many funeral homes are already turning to greener alternatives for their growing fleet of cars.  But, in the end, change in the professional sector is often driven by consumer demand.  More and more people are asking about funeral options with a smaller carbon footprint and, for many, that means discussing cleaner running cars for their own funeral as well as funerals family and friends plan for someone who has recently passed away.

Several companies have stepped up to help funeral directors modify their fleet or make a smart investment in greener cars.  Of course, when you’re talking about electric cars the first company most people think of
is Tesla.  So it should come as no surprise that Tesla has already unveiled their own fully electric hearse.   Engineers cut the Tesla in half, stretched the wheel base by 30 inches and then repositioned the battery.  The Dutch limo company RemetzCar worked with Vander der Lans & Busscher to put the finishing touches on with a specially designed funeral carriage profile.

The concept car was unveiled at the 2016 Funeral Exhibition in Gorinchem in the Netherlands and has been making headlines ever since.

And it’s been drawing plenty of attention at the 2016 Funeral Exhibition in Gorinchem in the Netherlands this week.  But it’s not the first – or only – greener hearse people can use for their final road trip.

The Hearse & Limo Company out of the Netherlands, for example, has made a name for itself as a premier dealer of hearses and one that has made eco-friendly hearse options a priority.  They now offer  hearses with hybrid technology, options that run on green gas and even fully electric models.

And let’s not overlook the other major player in the world of hybrid cars – Toyota.  When Toyota unveiled the Prius it was a game changer in the auto industry.  Strong interest and sales proved that there was a real and dedicated market for hybrid cars and the Prius became the industry’s flagship model.  Made – and priced – with the wider market in mind, Toyota has become a major player in the world of hybrid cars.  Way back in 2009 they announced their Toyota Prius hearse which boasted an impressive 49 mpg.

A shift for greener, more energy efficient cars has been growing for more than a decade now.  As we adapt the cars we use every day it makes sense that we also design new specialty cars and other forms of transport to be in line with a greener, cleaner and more Earth friendly approach.  After all, there’s something to be said for doing what we can to leave the world a little nicer than we found it.


Funeral Cars – Are They Above the Law?

Anyone who has been a driver for more than a few years knows what it is like to deal with parking laws.  Stopping outside a shop on a busy street, double parking while you run back into your house to grab something or even just misinterpreting the hourly restrictions on a side street – every driver has a story about an epic parking issue.

We rarely think about hearses or funeral cars with respect to parking laws, but a story out of the UK made headlines when those two worlds came together.  A parking attendant working in Marlborough ticketed a funeral director who had parked his limousine at the street curb to wash it before a funeral.  The curb was painted with double yellow lines, designating it a No Parking zone but, as it was the curb outside his own funeral home, the director didn’t think twice about it.

The parking attendant didn’t think twice either – and issued a ticket on the spot.  The director became so upset about it that he splashed the attendant with water from the hose he was using to wash the car.  The attendant responded by adding assault charges to the paring ticket.

Do you think parking officers should be more lenient on funeral cars and hearses when they are parked somewhere where other cars are not allowed?  Was this a case of simply enforcing the letter of the law or an example of someone abusing their position of power?

The ironic part of the story is that David Hunter, the funeral director in question, asked the city to make the area outside his funeral home a “no parking” zone because other cars were parking there and blocking his hearses from getting in and out of the parking lot. He claims he was only partly parked on the double yellow lines and he said he was not blocking anybody in where he was parked. He went on to say this: “I know the wardens have a job to do but they should use their discretion.”

How do our readers weigh in on this story? Should the funeral director be allowed to park in the “no parking” zone in front of his facility to wash his hearses or did the parking warden do her job correctly? Let us know your thoughts below.

Funeral Cars, Urban Legends and Hauntings

Many people are superstitious about funeral cars. Like all items that are associated with death, hearses and funeral cars have developed a bit of a reputation as symbols of evil, darkness and sadness. Accordingly, many urban legends have developed around the cars.

Haunted Hearses
Like graveyards, it seems that virtually every town has a story about a haunted hearse in the area. Some of these cars are owned by haunted houses or other companies with an interest in sharing ghost stories in order to boost business. Others are owned by funeral car enthusiasts who have a love of all things macabre. Still others are owned by those who would rather not be associated with ghost stories and find the whole situation most unfortunate.

Room for One More
Whether or not you believe in ghosts, a haunted hearse makes a rather chilling campfire tale. However, even spookier is the famous urban legend generally titled “Room for One More.” According to Snopes, the legend dates to at least 1912. It is so popular that it has been used in a Twilight Zone episode and in the 1945 film Dead of Night.

Urban Legend: Room for One MoreIn the original version of the tale, a girl is spending the night at the home of friends. She awakens to the sound of horses’ hooves and goes to the window to investigate. She sees an old-fashioned horse-drawn funeral car driven by an old coachman. Rather than a coffin, the hearse is filled with people. The coachman sees her watching and says, “There’s room for one more.” She is chilled by the offer and retreats to her bed.

The next morning she awakens, unable to decide whether the encounter was a dream. She heads to town to do some shopping. On the top floor of a department store, she considers taking the elevator. However, when she approaches, the elevator is almost full. The elevator operator catches her eye, and she is horrified to realize that he was the coachman in her dream. He says, “There’s room for one more,” and terrified, the girl declines. She turns away as the doors close. Suddenly there are screams and a rush of air followed by a crash. The elevator has fallen and everyone on board has been killed.

Whether or not you believe these stories, it is easy to see how they developed. Funeral cars and other items associated with death are considered taboo by many people. A fear of death is quite common, and it is easy to associate the items with the fear.