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Death Trap: 1983 Toyota Crown Hearse

082816 Barn Finds - 1983 Toyota Crown Hearse - 1

Here’s your average, everyday vehicle: a 1983 Toyota Crown Hearse! This unusual ride is in beautiful Langley, British Columbia, Canada and is listed on eBay with a Buy It Now price of $32,500, or make an offer. There are a little over two days left on this auction so you’ll have some time to break the news to your spouse; you probably wouldn’t want them to be surprised to death when a hearse rolls up the driveway.

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This sixth-generation Toyota Crown is a JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) vehicle, so it has right-hand-drive. The Crown was sold in the US from 1958 to 1973 and in Canada from 1965 to 1973, so anything after 1973 has to be an import on these shores. The Crown has been in production continuously since 1955, by far the longest-running model in Toyota’s history. Can any of you think of another car that has been in continuous production for that long? I can’t. The Ford F-Series pickups are all I can come up with.

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This one is all original, right down to the tires! It’s actually an amazing vehicle, but one that I know has about as limited of a buyer pool as anything ever made. I have a friend from high school who owns a Cadillac hearse and has recently restored it. I think this one would even turn her head, even though it isn’t a classic Cadillac. This is about as fancy and decorative of a hearse as I’ve ever seen, almost literally having the top of a casket as a roof. Open the back doors at a car show and really show off the details. The seller says that this car has “zero rust”. Could you imagine taking this into a body shop for an estimate? Luckily, you won’t have to.

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So, we have right-hand-drive, and also a 4-speed column shifter on the left side of the steering column. I’m guessing that anyone who has driven a three-on-the-tree would get used to this unusual configuration in no time. I’m surprised to see the door panels being so dirty. I picture white-gloved, suited men driving this vehicle, I’m not sure if Goober just serviced it or why it would be dirty like that, but hopefully that can be cleaned up. The doily on top of the seat is a classic Japanese touch.

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This is Toyota’s 5M 2.8L inline-six cylinder engine and it could use some detailing. The seller says that it “starts immediately and runs with no noises, knocks or weirdness (but will need a carb rebuild now from sitting in storage).” Unless I’m totally off my nut, this is a fairly rare carbureted version and that means about 115 hp is available for hauling the passengers, so to speak. I know that this car isn’t on too many Barn Finds readers’ wish lists, but it’s so unusual that I couldn’t pass it up. Do you know anyone who owns and drives a hearse? Have you seen a hearse with this level of ornamentation before?


  1. JW454

    What’s disturbing is that there may actually be someone out there that truly believes this would be worth 32K. Hopefully he’s just fishing.

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  2. Dairymen

    Looks like someone stole the roof of a budist temple and put it on this poor Toyota. I wouldn’t want to be seen dead in this thing (pun intended )!

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  3. Joe Gotts

    The sellers must have inhaled too much formaldehyde prior to setting the buy it now price.

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  4. Walt

    My first thought was what was the state of mind of the guy or gal that brought
    this to North America !

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  5. Fred W.

    US Hearses never quite reached this level of bling, but they came close in the 30’s.

    Like 1
  6. daCabbie

    This is an advertisement piece…. someone will park it out front of their head-shop to draw the deadheads in… and since 50% of advertising is tax deductible it drops the price to 16k… which is much closer to its value.

    I am curious about the coffin top? How was it constructed and attached? I would hate to see it come loose on the highway.

    What do you say when the insurance agent asks, ‘Does it have any aftermarket alerations or parts?’

    Hmm…pay the mortgage off or buy a Toyota hearse?… Was anyone famous ever hauled to the impound lot in this beast?

    Like 0

    Although I am down with JDM collector cars. I have my eye on a Toyota Sera or a Nissan Silvia. My bucket list car is a Nissan Skyline GTR. they are too out of reach at the moment.

    I like and appreciate Hearses having owned a few…..I just don’t like them together….in one vehicle!

    I do not see a practical reason for this car for a private person unless for an upscale funeral home. A few have been known to buy vintage coaches in order to offer that one of a kind send off experience.Certainly in an area where there is a large Asian concentration would be suitable maybe. It would pay for itself very quickly as the standard funeral is what? In the neighborhood just shy of $10K?

    Either way hopefully someone from it’s native homeland will get it and appreciate it and above all preserve it. Not an idiot loading a casket with skeletons and Halloween garb taking it around to cruse ins disrespecting the very nature of a professional car.

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  8. grant

    This is cool. It is not 32 THOUSAND dollars cool.

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  9. RJ

    The Chevrolet Suburban name plate has been in continuous use since 1935.

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  10. Jesper

    A Toyota from India

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  11. LaOrange

    Hi All
    The Chevrolet Corvette Started in 1953 and is still here in 2016 That is 64 years
    Of fun Cars.
    ” LaOrange “

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    • RichS

      There was no 1983 Corvette. New C4 production delays pushed it too late for the ’83 model year. About 50 prototypes were built but none sold.

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      • Fast Fred Member

        Rich you are correct.

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  12. Dirty Dingus McGee

    I wouldn’t want to be caught dead in this.

    (I’ll show myself out now)

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  13. Paul

    Yes, the Suburban wins the prize, however, the F Series, as Scotty mentioned, and the Mustang have to be a close and respectable 2nd and 3rd.

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  14. Paul

    Plus, not to sure I would want to test the 115 horses with that top in place…

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  15. Wayne

    No thanks. I’ll pass.

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  16. Dairymen

    Wondering what would happen if you take the corner too fast…

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  17. RichS

    That leftmost pedal and steering column work together to provide a near impenetrable factory-installed antitheft system (as if the exterior wasn’t enough)

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    • brakeservo

      What’s so difficult about a clutch pedal and gear shift on the left side?? If you can scratch your . . . er . . . nose with your left hand, you can shift gears with your left hand.

      Like 0
  18. Hoos Member

    Is it just me, or does this look like a Toyota pickup with, what amounts to, the equivalent of a camper slide in as the business end?

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  19. 68 custom

    just imagine the horrified look of your wife, the kids, the neighbors,ETC when you drive this one home. just imagine tossing the keys to your teenage daughter “honey I bought you a car”. it’s fun to ponder this stuff but not worth 32K for the chance to actually do it.

    Like 0
    • RichS

      “Honey, I bought you a new car!”

      “Ooooh, awesome!”

      “It’s big, shiny, black with a nice gold package and has room for all your entourage”



      that might be worth $32K to me…

      Like 0
  20. Walt

    Oh, Rich, Set that up with video etc and put it on You Tube !
    It will go viral !

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  21. Gerry Member

    there is one in the National funeral museum in Texas
    The hand built bodies are regional in Japan and consist of traditional lacquer work on the wood and hand crafted metal work rivaling many of the old ornate coaches

    Not much of a market for one and they aren’t seen much here in Japan as many have reverted to traditional American style hearses


    Like 0
  22. Horse Radish

    There is too much going on ‘up there’ to make it pass as a station wagon.
    Which would make it more desirable.
    Like this the uses are very limited

    Like 0

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