19K Mile 1982 Airstream… Funeral Coach???

I pride myself on being a pretty knowledgeable automobile enthusiast. A jack-of-all-trades, master of a few kind of person. But I’ll have to admit, this one made me scratch my head a little bit. You are looking at a 1982 Airstream 28-foot Hearse (technically: Funeral Coach) that is for sale here on eBay with an asking price of over $53,000! Located in Santa Cruz, California, if you’ve never heard of one, you are probably not alone. The history of these rides is pretty interesting so let’s take a closer look. Thanks to Matt W. for the tip on this very unique ride!

According to airstream.com, the Funeral Coach was developed by Airstream in 1981. Most of you are probably more familiar with the Airstream trailers that have been popular for decades and have seen a retro-resurgence in recent years. Back in 1979, they launched a motorhome version of their trailers which was timed (unfortunately) with the energy crisis. Seeing slumping sales for its motorhomes, the company looked to diversify by offering variations which included mobile sales offices, corporate offices, and the Funeral Coach. The selling price back in 1981 was $85,000 which is nearly $250,000 in 2019 dollars!

The Funeral Coach allows up to 14 family members to travel together in a living room type setting. There is a rear hatch that holds up to 20 baskets of flowers and the through-compartment discretely holds the casket. The driver’s area is pretty typical for a motorhome of this generation.

This angle shows the classic Airstream profile. The rounded corners of the shiny aluminum are the hallmark design of Airstream that is still carried on today. So, if this was your ride, what would you do with it? Maybe a retro camper? Let us know your thoughts.

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Comments

  1. Coventrycat

    If I didn’t see the casket I’d have never known it was a funeral coach. Classy looking paint scheme, and I’d fill that void with a casket size cooler.

    Like 4
    • Al

      Just think ! People were dyin’ to use this.

      Say the magic words “Aber-Cadaver”, and it opens up.

      How appropriate, to list this near Memorial Day.

      Actually, I can see no practical use for this rig, beyond its original intent.

      Like 1
      • Sam61

        Very witty…abra cadaver. You could have decals made and drive around NASA style

      • grant

        Really? Take the casket rollers out and you’ve got a nice party bus/ limo with plenty of storage.

    • v

      or you can bring good old uncle bob who used to annoy you when you were little. a true restful sleep.

    • Who Gives

      Or an (unused)repurposed casket insulated to be a cooler?

      Like 1
  2. Kenneth Carney

    Definately cadaver transport for sure. Here in Florida, it’s big business with some drivers making 80K or more yearly. Oh sure, it’s morbid, but that’s where the money is. My family thinks I’m weird, but to me, it’s just a business–one that allows the average Floridian to make more than quadruple their income, (The average income here is $30K yearly or less) The only way to make that much cash yearly is to work for 3M of Polk county–moonshine, meth, and marijuana.
    Very cool ride though.

    Like 3
    • Chebby Staff

      I would consider that job for $80k in Florida dollars, but I interviewed to be a first-call driver in San Francisco and the pay was only $15 an hour. Gotta wear suits, and wrangle fresh stiffs down the stairs and into the hearse, even if it’s 3am. It would have been good for the stories, but for that money, no way.

      Like 3
    • Dan Altman

      Great use for such vehicle. I would like to know more about this Cadaver transport business if you have any.
      Thanks

    • Larry Z

      Ken, WTH ? where did you get your facts from.
      POLK : people of little knowledge, lol

  3. Srt8

    Nope, that stuff creeps me out. No hearses, funeral coaches, ambulances etc….
    What’s odd is that I was a firefighter/emt so I dealt with people that needed both and obviously I worked in one of the above mentioned rides but I damn sure don’t want one.

  4. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    Would it be crass to affix a “Dead Head” sticker on the back bumper”?

    Like 6
    • MG

      I would love to convert it to a motor home. Problem is when you add the $53000 to the divorce costs, it is way too expensive!

      Like 1
  5. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    The ad reads “Sleeps 2”!

    Seriously, it’s Perfect for someone to have as a “toy hauler” with a bike or UTV!

    Any hardcore Tailgaters out there?

    Like 3
    • Andy

      Did they leave out “eternally?”

      Like 1
  6. gary

    What about the engine, drive train & mileage ?

  7. cynthia k layne

    In the day, Airstream was thought of as being an “Upper Class” trailor.

    Like 1
    • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

      And to this day it still is, Cynthia. Not like some of the poorly made garbage rolling out nowadays from the MegaBuilders focused on the profit and no interest in the after-sale or customer satisfaction (unless your into the 6 digit RV’s).
      They’re still a class act.

      Like 1
      • Jerry Brentnell

        there must be a funeral home in a small town who could use this exatly what its meant for when you consider what a new caddy hearse costs or a lincoln for that matter! that would make better use for it

        Like 1
      • Miguel

        Jerry, most wouldn’t have a garage big enough to put this vehicle.

  8. Wayne

    No mention of the drivetrain. (Engine? Transmission? Chassis?)
    I think it is cool, but would want to make some changes for my “personal use”.

    • DS

      Chevrolet…….that being the P30 chassis

    • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

      Wayne, I think these used a Chevy 454 drivetrain, probably the truck 454 as what I assume was used in the GMC Motorhomes.

      • ACZ

        GMC Motorhomes used a 455 Olds engine with a THM425 Transaxle. They were FWD.

        Like 1
  9. OhU8one2

    I would convert it into a Wine tasting party hauler. Install a wine bottle holder where the caskets now ride. That way you could safely haul all your customers bottles without breaking them. Then where the flowers are, I would build a mini coat closet, along with personal cubical’s for women to hang their jackets when chilly or raining. And keep their purse or other belongings there also. I see lots of girls having party tastings, wedding parties, birthday parties, you name it. This thing would be booked every weekend, spring and summer.

    Like 1
  10. Jim in FL

    Good friend of my Dad when I was growing up owned a funeral parlor. One of the nice things dad did, as a service director at a car dealer, was take people’s cars in instead of them bothering to come to the dealer. So working for dad since I was 12, I got to hang out in a lot of his friends’ houses and cars. I remember riding in Caddy hearses with dad when Mr. Beck needed them serviced. So, Mr. Beck liked the idea of putting the whole shebang in one vehicle and bought one of these Airstreams. I remember it, but never rode in it. He also had a conversion Chevy van that he used the same way. He still uses hearses but I think the airstream and the van was a passing fad. I’m sorry I never checked it out. I wonder what happened to the vehicles. May be long gone, but you never know. When Dad passed away in 2008, Mr. Beck brought out a 60something hearse and flower car for his services, without me even asking. They looked like they were brand new. It brought some cheer to an awful day.

    Like 4
    • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

      Mr. Beck was obviously a classy guy, Jim, and thought well of your dad.
      That says something of you both.

      Like 2
    • Mike S

      Build the ultimate tailgate game cruiser and replace the casket storage area with a slide out refrigerated cooler. Replace the fold out rear stairway with a gas grill and party on.

  11. Dave

    Munster Koach 2.0?

  12. art

    Not no, but Hell NO.
    Ghoulish. I can find many other nice ways to part with $53K..this “ain’t” it.

  13. Wayne

    The GMC front wheel drive, tandem rear wheel coaches were mostly 455 Oldsmobile with some 402s tossed in in the later coaches. In my opinion they should have been 500 Caddy engines. But these were already being phased out at the time.

    Like 1
  14. Buickman

    This may be a bit off topic, but I understand that those in business need to make money. However, I feel that having us subscribe to your site and pay $9.00/ month to give a thumbs up on comments is a bit much. I guess the next step would be to make all us “tourists” to your site subscribe to be able to read about the great “barn finds”. Whatever happens will happen. It’s been great fun to read about those old cars hidden away.

    • North Star

      I’m with BUICKMAN…WHY should I have to pay to give a thumbs UP or Down to a reader? I’m giving a THUMBS DOWN on this pay-for-a-thumb idea!

      Like 2
  15. Tony b

    I saw one on eBay several years ago, where the back that dropped down, was refrigerated and held up to 5 caskets. It was quite a bit longer too. Yes, I’m a motorcycle fanatic and could really hit bike events in style…and then my time came around, I could STILL go with family and friends! 😆

    Like 1
  16. John

    Looks like it would be great for a group of surfers too!

  17. moosie moosie

    It’d be good as a party bus transporting clients to Las Vegas ETC. from ? Or entire wedding parties. Probably too costly to turn it into a true RV, too many pieces and parts that’d have to be $ourced .Following the flea-bay ad leads you to the dealers online ad that has it as powered by a 454 Chevy on a Chevrolet chassis, so yeah probably a tall deck big block. Looking at the pictures shows a massive amount of rear overhang.

  18. Fred Alexander

    I used to leave the odd comment – – some fairly wordy but that’s a me thing – – and me won’t be paying $9 / per month USD = 12.50(ish) for he content that is relevant to my interests in the hobby, and will continue to read some articles. The comments are the biggest thing here and that’s why the webmaster / owner of the site sets upon cashing in – – – nothing wrong with that but not for me (at this time).
    Thank you for the postings though – – good job.

  19. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    Might be able to put a golf cart and clubs in that casket bay with a little modification on the kart. Fill the flower compartment up with refrigerators for your favorite beverages and follow the golf circuit. I can think of many ways to use this rig, but for the money why not buy a used motor home.
    As far as the thumbs up thing goes; who cares. How many commenters go back to see if anyone gave thumbs up or down. I know I don’t, I want to move on to other articles and comments.
    God bless America

    Like 1
  20. Hammerdog

    Small town Funeral operations in my area use rental hearses and funeral sedans from companies that rent on a need to use basis. Freeing up capital and converting to variable cost as opposed to fixed cost.

  21. Curty Bug

    No bath room or tub, shower? Kitchen, bedrooms, maybe Realtor, for looking at houses for sale, mobile sign. $53 thou, would have to be a business for good tax right off, maybe, looks good though.

  22. Kenneth Carney

    Hi Chebby! You can indeed make 80K here in Florida doing cadaver transport providing you can do it all yourself. You say you were offered $15 an hour? Maybe it’s because you live in California and taxes there take everything you make. Here in Florida, we don’t have all those burdensome taxes that take every last dime you have. Shoot, we don’t even have an income tax! Anyone who makes $80K here in Polk County without selling dope is okay in my book. Since I can’t do this myself, I’ll have to get my neice on board after finishing my due diligence. Maybe, I could build a Mustang hearse to get her interested or just look for another partner.

  23. Louis Q. Chen

    It would a great vehicle for any hi-end funeral home outfit. It would be a perfect final ride when you’re eternally resting in a meta/alloy casket!

  24. PAUL MURPHY Member

    Actually, the concept has been around since motorized transport has. “American Funeral Cars and Ambulances since 1900 by Thomas McPherson Hearse Book | #1840217144”, shows many examples and with extraordinary comforts. Some of these even have a pulpit for the service in transit.

    Like 1
  25. Larry

    I would use it to date my ex-wife

    Like 2
    • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

      I dunno, Larry-dating the ex is like smelling the milk gone bad in the carton but putting it back in the refrigerator thinking it might be better later….

      Like 3
  26. Wayne

    And Larry, where would you take her? Where ever that is, you cam take my ex also!

  27. Larry Z

    Ken, WTH ? where did you get your facts from.
    POLK : people of little knowledge, lol

  28. Kelly Breen

    This ride is to die for …. ! Had to say it.

    Like 1
  29. garry connors

    im all in but thats a good buisness for a smart guy

  30. Miguel

    This would make a great swap meet vehicle. You put all of what you are selling in the back and you have the luxury to relax in the front.

    Like 1
  31. Tom Justice

    Grandpa Munster’s other car.

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