The Last Ride: 1953 German Hearse Trailer

As I found from some reading, for a long time if you were to be buried in Germany , your family had the choice of a powered hearse (more money) or one of these trailer hearses, which allowed the undertaker to use a regular car to transport the body, thus saving fuel & wear and tear. This particular one has been spirited (see what I did there) away from Germany and is now in West Falls, New York. It’s for sale here on eBay, with bidding starting at $4,500. (late add, I just found out that reader Peter R. saw this as well and sent it in after I wrote it up, so let’s give him credit too!)

I found one other reference to a trailer like this (which may have been the same one, as it was also a 1953) having been sold in 2005, but I’m still pretty sure you won’t find many others, especially on this side of the Atlantic Ocean. There is a whole subculture of fans of the macabre, and I’m sure someone out there (unlike me) wouldn’t be the slightest bit creeped out by using it as a regular small enclosed trailer.

As you can see, the trailer is in pretty sound shape on both the inside and outside. We’re told it’s been in storage for many years. The body is 8 feet long and the roof is 4′ 10″ from the ground. The seller calls it a great alternative to a teardrop camper–would the previous occupants of the space bother you?

Based on the rust streaks in the paint, I’m guessing that storage has been outside storage. Can you imagine this trailer being pulled behind some “rat rod” or hot rod with a skeletal theme? I know some folks would think that was really cool! My question to you is two-fold after looking this find over: If it were given to you (i.e. free), would you remodel the trailer into something else? And what would you use to tow it with — points for originality and keeping with the theme here, especially if you would leave the trailer alone!

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Comments

  1. Nathan Avots-Smith Staff

    It seems like this should be towed by something big and black and German (a BMW 501, aka “Baroque Angel,” might be fitting), but with that etched glass, I’m thinking a big Packard hearse from the ’30s plus this could make for a pretty roomy family camper combo…

    2+

  2. Pat A

    Those red and yellow taillights look slapped on. Were those red triangular pieces the original brake lights/turn indicators?

    0

    • Leon

      Those are modern reflectors. Maybe required later before it was retired.

      1+

  3. Alan (Michigan)

    I predict zero bids at the starting price.
    Uncommon, certainly, perhaps cool too. But there is a ton of rust held together by the paint. The reason it sits so low may be due to collapsed spring mounts, would not surprise me in the least. Even though this trailer is simpler by far than a car, bringing it back to a great condition would not be an easy or inexpensive task.

    2+

  4. Jay M

    The market for these has died. The restoration costs will bury you. Finding parts is always a dead end.
    Sorry, I’ll just see myself out now…

    32+

    • Moe

      Haha!

      1+

    • Old Ed

      You must be part of “The Walking Dead”.

      0

    • Trickie Dickie

      HMMPH !!!! Grave comments like this will only tend to make you more unpopular.

      2+

  5. Leon

    Last ride. More like last haul I think

    2+

  6. Steve R

    Buff it, install a modern axle and change the taillight, it would be good to go. No idea if it’s priced to sell, but it would be cool behind the right tow vehicle.

    Steve R

    1+

  7. Francisco

    I’m dying to take this for a ride.

    5+

  8. Keith

    Ghoulish!

    1+

  9. Sukey

    I think the next owner will get stiffed on this deal

    8+

  10. Peter S. R.

    Who says, “You can’t take it with you”… ?

    0

  11. 86 Vette Convertible

    I think as of now, I’ve seen it all.

    0

  12. Tony, Australia.

    I’d ‘kill’ for one of those !!

    3+

  13. Tony, Australia.

    A friend here in Oz has a 48 Chevy hearse with a coffin, it’s divided into 2 sections lift the lid and the front is his tool and junk box and the rear is his icebox to keep the beer cold in summer. Needless to say you can get a lot of beer cans in half a coffin.

    5+

  14. Fred

    I wonder if U Haul rents these trailers ?

    0

  15. craZee

    Perfect to haul your Harley in!

    0

  16. Rodney

    “The Trailer Queen is Dead, Long Live The Queen”

    0

  17. Mark

    Pull the body off the frame and put it behind a 41 Plymouth truck cab/frame. Would be an awesome sleeper.

    0

  18. Steve

    all morbid jokes aside, this could make an interesting motorcycle trailer.

    0

  19. Wrong Way

    I would make a camper out of it! I would pull it behind my Mustang! I am a retired trucker and am looking for a way to live on the road off grid! I am used to living in small spaces this would work perfectly fine for me to live in!

    1+

  20. xroads

    All kidding aside, I would camp in that! It’s the same size as my teardrop. It seems too small to haul my bike. I’d sure like to see the interior height. Asking price is about twice what I’d pay.

    2+

    • Chebby

      Love those teardrops!

      0

  21. Chebby

    Hard to get the old people smell out of it…..

    2+

    • xroads

      I already smell like old people.

      5+

  22. Doug

    I think it would be cool on a truck chassis, mounted behind a late 30’s cab, like a late 30’s Dodge “humpback” sedan delivery…..

    0

  23. John Vinson

    Well an unrestored vintage ambulance should be the first obvious tow vehicle…

    1+

  24. Graywolf

    Portable Kegerator!!

    0

  25. Ron H

    Upgrade for safety and maintain the original looks as much as possible. Then haul whatever you want that will fit. No need to fit it out as a camper, throw a couple sleeping bags in and a camp stove and cooler. Next week haul your bike. Then lease it to a funeral home or as a movie prop for extra cash. Unlimited options… all in one configuration.

    1+

  26. Ralph Robichaud

    I’d fix it up, paint it an antique cream color, add appropriate pin stripping, and tow it around with a three wheeled motorcycle. And, oh, hand paint the words ” Last Ride” in script lettering on right rear door.

    1+

    • Alan (Michigan)

      Put it on a set of scales first.
      I’m thinking that this is way too heavy to be pulled by any motorcycle, 3 wheeled or two.

      0

  27. bugnbox

    I spent the night in an old German VW Bus hearse once at a VW show. The only thing that creeped me out were the little drains in the floor…imagining the dead guy juices flowing through them kept me up for a while.

    You’d have to find a pretty morbid chick to get back in there with you for a romp.

    0

  28. leiniedude

    Alan (Michigan) predicted correctly, $4,500.00 [ 0 bids ] Bidding has ended on this item.

    0

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