Barn Find Flower Car: 1965 Cadillac Fleetwood

Every time I spy an old flower car like this 1965 Cadillac  I immediately think of Cab Calloway’s ride from the 1980’s film, “The Blues Brothers“. Other than images and TV shows/movies, I’m not certain that I have ever seen a flower car in the steel. I remember thinking “what a unique vehicle” while noticing a parade of flower cars at Vito Corleone’s funeral from the first “Godfather” movie. Sure, you can understand the cost and need for building a stretch limousine and a hearse, but a modified Cadillac just for flowers? Apparently, the answer was yes. This 1965 Cadillac Fleetwood flower car is barn bound in Delphi, Indiana and is available, here on eBay for an opening bid of $10,000.

Utilizing a Fleetwood model, this flower car was constructed by Superior Coach, a Lima, Ohio, a firm still operating today over 100 years after its founding. Superior’s current line-up includes just two vehicles, both Cadillac-derived, a hearse and a limousine. I generally avoid covering hearses, regardless of their model or status, it’s just a “thing” that I have with them and their former use. A flower car, however, is fair game. It’s like an El Camino used for a somber affair but it delivers some joy because of its bright and colorful lading.

This example has been sitting for who knows how long and it has the dust and dirt to prove it. The body is showing some rust-through, dents, and missing trim but none of the wear/damage appears to be terribly significant. The aluminum build-up (parapet?) around the top of the cargo bed is interesting looking, this is the closest glimpse of a flower car that I have experienced. While it’s not evident, it is my understanding that the cargo bed of a flower car from this generation is constructed from an aluminum sheet and is rather fragile – it supposedly dents easily.

Under the vast plain of this Fleedwood’s hood is a very dormant looking 340 gross HP, 429 CI V8 engine connected to a Turbo-Hydramatic automatic transmission. While not exactly mummified looking, it’s a safe bet that it hasn’t turned a lick in many moons. As usual, the air cleaner assembly is missing – hopefully just removed in an attempt to get the big Caddy V8 to turnover. There is no word if that actually occurred and any success was registered. Note the master cylinder, it’s a twin circuit component, and employed here, two model years before it was a Federally required item.

As with a single cab pickup truck, or a Ranchero, this flower car’s cab is limited in size though it’s certainly wide enough. The biggest issue appears to be all of the dirt that has settled over every surface – parked with the window(s) in the down position perhaps? A good cleaning may reveal a pretty usable environment. The instrument panel, as dusty as it is, is rather plain and restrained for a Cadillac. Of note, there’s no A/C in this Caddy!

OK, it’s what to do with it time. Beyond the obvious and giving it a thorough scrubbing, I’d probably lean more towards a performance-oriented El Camino/Ranchero vibe and try to make the cargo bed usable for something more than hauling or displaying flowers but basic black is the hue that I would retain. This vehicle wouldn’t creep me out as some other funeral cars would. How about you what would you do with this ’65 Cadillac Fleetwood flower car or would you prefer to take a pass?

WANT ADS

WANTED 1981 – 1989 Renault LeCar, Alliance, Medallion Looking for near-new condition Contact

WANTED 1973 Plymouth 340 Duster Looking for a 1973 Plymouth Duster, 4 speed, with factory sunroof. Any condition in the East Coast. Contact

WANTED 1958,1959,1960 Chevrolet Corvette Looking for body and interior for a resto mod project 1958-1960 corvette Contact

WANTED 1982 Corvette Chevrolet Corvette Under 40,000 miles. White exterior, Contact

WANTED 1960-1962 Plymouth Valiant Looking for a running project. 60-61 Valiant. In Ohio, willing to travel out of state. Contact

Submit Your Want Ad

Comments

  1. Hoss

    Is there a car under all that dust and junk ?

    Geez, I kinda like to see what’s worth $ 10,000..

    From what I can barely see from the pictures, this

    car isn’t a 10K car. What are people thinking ?

    Like 32
  2. Claudio

    Wow , such a great DEAL
    Even the bumper has rotted out !
    The check is in the mail , don’t worry !

    Like 14
  3. Blindmarc

    Danny Coker could tell if it’s real or not. He already has a limo and hearse.,..definitely not worth the asking price…

    Like 4
  4. Ken Carney

    This ticks all the boxes for me. It’s a
    Cadillac and it’s a pickup to boot! Cleaning
    all that dust and grime? No problem! Just
    bought a brand new Wagner pressure steamer and I’m sure that it would be up to
    the task at hand. Getting this big beast
    running shouldn’t be a problem if you can
    turn the engine by hand. Don’t forget to
    fill the cylinders with Marvel’s Mystery Oil,
    you’re gonna need it to free up the rings and
    seat them properly. And as for the rust and
    rot, that’s gonna be your biggest expense
    here. Those specialty parts are hard to find
    and very expensive if you find them. Thankfully, I don’t have a wife to talk me out
    of it, but my niece and my SIL would certainly try.

    Like 1
  5. Gary

    Seller added to many zero’s, $100.00 is more like it. There is a professional car following but I’d think if it was valuable they would have snapped it up. Saw a 62 Chevy hearse on here, kinda cool looking

    Like 5
  6. Jim McNerney

    These were very common in the mid to late 20th century. They have pretty much been replaced by vans or SUVs to take flowers from the funeral home to the cemetery. In the 1970’s a funeral director patented a drop-in insert with a short roof for Cadillac convertibles that could be used as built until a flower car was needed.

    Like 2
  7. Thomas Crum Member

    This 1965 Cadillac funeral vehicle appears to be about 500 pounds light from oxidation. Ayear of body work I feel will be required, plus a year of mechanical work. I am now spoiled since I now live in California and no longer see rusted cars. What I want is to to find old cars that has had cats around to protect the wiring. Right now have found a 1970 Falcon 4 door, 1965 Chrysler, New Yorker Deluxe 4 doot HT.

    Like 2
  8. david R

    10k and he can’t even be bothered to clean out the junk for pictures. Kinda show zero respect for potential buyers, Plus it’s a pile of junk. Easy pass.

    Like 15
  9. John

    I doubt this is a Superior flower car. It would have a tag with the Superior name, which the seller fails to provide. When I looked at Superior flower cars online, they start out as sedans, keeping the rear doors and adding a rear door. This, I believe, is so they could carry the casket inside and the flowers on top. My guess is that someone cobbled up a coupe to make a homemade flower car. I also predict this listing will expire without any bids.

    Like 5
    • Bill McCoskey

      John,
      I’m very familiar with Superior products, and I agree with you, this ain’t one of them. Superior flower cars always started out with the commercial chassis as used in the hearse & ambulance cars.

      I can’t tell for sure due to the poor photographs, but I suspect this started off as a cheap Calais 2-door hardtop. Not only does it not have A/C, but it has crank windows. All the other series had P/W as standard. It also has a radio. Funeral homes simply didn’t order cars with radios. I’m betting that it was a used car that was turned into a flower car in the late 1960s by a local bodyshop, and used by a “less expensive” funeral home.

      By the early 1970s, in most areas of the country, it was damn near impossible to sell a 1965 Cadillac without A/C and power windows. Few people wanted such a car. So what to do with it? A flower car! Didn’t matter what options it didn’t have. That said, superior was not in such poor financial condition that it would take on such a job.

      Like 3
  10. Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac Diva Member

    Exactly, John, that’s pretty much what I was going say. This add says it started as a Fleetwood. They didn’t make 2 door Fleetwoods, and no, the rear doors were not sodered in
    The other thing that is suspicious about it being a Superior , Superior, and all the other professional car makers used tailgates. This has no tailgate. They simply scooped out the interior and trunk and plopped in a truck bed. This is a home hack job.
    $10,000? Not even close. $1000 at best. Or as one person said, $100

    Like 5
    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      Note the Fleetwood badge image.

      JO

      Like 1
  11. Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac Diva Member

    JO

    Every ’65 Cadillac had that

    It says. ” Interior by Fleetwood,” Body by Fisher. In this case, it is not the model Fleetwood. It’s the Fleetwood company.
    As John said, this is a cheap Calias.

    Like 1
  12. Andy Frobig

    I’d like to see a full side view of this. I had a ’65 Calais years ago and I think the ’65s have the best lines of the decade from Cadillac, just ahead of the ’66s… I’d like to see if this ruined those lines. In my hands, this would get a tailgate and I’d haul old motorcycles in it, which wouldn’t be worth the $10k to buy it and $25k to make it nice again.

  13. Harry

    I’ve thought funeral cars of all sorts were just the shits, always wanted one, hearse, flower car, whatever. When I was in high school around 1963 or so, a local gas station had a 1936 Pierce Arrow flower car to sell. It ran and drove, and they only wanted it couple hundred bucks for it. Again though, I was a high school kid and had no money at all, it might as well have been ten thousand. I wonder what it would be worth close to sixty years later.

    Like 1
  14. Bob McK Member

    Just think, if you spent around $100,000 restoring this car. It would be a really nice 65 Flower car worth close to the current asking price.

    Like 2

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.

*

Keep me in the conversation via email. Or subscribe without commenting.