Detective Work Required: 1959 Cadillac Super Royale Hearse

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This 1959 Cadillac Super Royale Hearse will need a full restoration, but the next owner might be interested in undertaking a bit of detective work on the car’s past, and we’ll get to that shortly. The Hearse is a fairly solid vehicle, and these are cars that people have put to a variety of uses once their funeral days have passed. Located in Red Oak, Texas, you will find the Cadillac listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has currently reached $19,690, but the reserve hasn’t been met.

This is a car that might well have an interesting back-story. What we do know that the original owner of the Cadillac was Sanders Funeral Home in Lubbock, Texas. This was the same firm that conducted the funeral for Buddy Holly, following his untimely death in February of 1959. The funeral home has changed ownership since that day, and while the car’s current owner hasn’t been able to confirm this, there is a possibility that this was the hearse that was used for the Holly funeral. That would be a story for the car’s next owner to unravel. The owner of the Cadillac says that the floors in the car will require replacement, but this isn’t that unusual. He says that the rest of the car, including the rockers and quarter panels, are solid. There are some trim pieces that appear to be missing, but given the fact that there is a fair collection of bits and pieces in the back of the vehicle, these trim items might be back there.

There is no hiding the fact that the interior of the Hearse is going to require a complete restoration. It once again appears to be complete, and the majority of the parts and trim items required will be readily available. The car is fitted with an aftermarket air conditioning system, although some components have been removed, and are in the back of the vehicle. The original curtains and curtain rods are present, but as with the front of the vehicle, the rear “passenger” area will also need to be restored.

It probably isn’t a surprise to learn that the Hearse doesn’t run or drive. The 390ci V8 is complete although, once again, a number of parts have been removed, and are now in the back of the vehicle. The transmission would be a Hydramatic, and the beauty of this combination is that parts remain readily available to get the car back into sound mechanical health. Power steering and power brakes are also part of the package, but as with most of the mechanical aspects of the car, there is likely to be some work here to get everything working properly.

Even without the potential celebrity back-story, this 1959 Cadillac Super Royale Hearse is an interesting car. The success of the Ghostbusters movies has made any 1959 Cadillac Hearse far more desirable than they were 35-years-ago. This means that they now command some pretty impressive prices. I have seen these used for a number of different purposes over the years, and the use is only limited by the new owner’s imagination. However, it will be interesting to see whether this car’s next owner will decide to investigate whether this car once carried a famous passenger.

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  1. Nevada1/2rack NevadahalfrackMember

    That’s a great play on words, Adam-“ the next owner…might be interested in undertaking..”. 🤣

    Some very grave humor in this forum lately!

    Like 8
    • KurtMember

      The plot thickens…

      Like 3
      • Dave

        Looking at the rust I’m afraid I’ll have to say nevermore…

        Like 3
  2. Fred W

    The Buddy Holley connection is interesting, but being a 1959 model, the chances that the chassis was built, delivered to the coachmaker, made into a funeral car, delivered to the dealer and sold to the funeral home before February 1959 are pretty slim. Not impossible though.
    This would make a great Ecto-1 conversion! Who you gonna call?

    Like 1
    • Andre

      Noooo. No more clones ruining 59 Caddy’s… please

      Like 10
      • Miguel

        They are going to do it anyway. I am sure that is why it is bid up to that much in this condition.

        Like 1
      • Cris Catt

        I completely concur! I’m sick of seeing people ruin these beautiful creations by either turning them into some lame Ecto-1 clone, or jacking them up into some Monster Truck Hearse, or converted into some other sad monstrosity. Even worse is when someone acquires one by who knows what means, and they never drive it, nor do they ever work on it. They just “store” it improperly, and allow it to slowly rot away, only to sell it decades later at an exuberant price which they will likely receive although they do not deserve it after the years of neglect and abuse that such a creature of beauty had to endure at the hands of some apathetic bozo who had the fortune to be blessed with a beauty they shall never comprehend, let alone appreciate! Man, I miss my hearses so much!!! A 1959 Cadillac hearse has been my dream car since I was only fourteen. However, while the only guarantee in life grows incredibly nigh, I can’t help but to reflect on how few of these hearses were originally built, couple that with the knowledge that their numbers only dwindle, reduced by the passage of time, I know the supply is drying up. Further, the demand of the wannabe consumers for these rare beauties is only rising, while the extreme greed of the suppliers is only amplified by the rising demand. It is with the awareness of mentioned details that I am left with no other conclusion than the heart-wrenching realization that I shall never experience the joy of ownership that one can derive from these classic vehicles.

        Even if I shall never have the pleasure to be behind the wheel of one, I still wish others would not play god and morph these immaculate beauties into things which they were never intended to be. Thus, ensuring that tomorrow there shall be others who will have the ecstatic experience for which I yearn today.

        Like 5
    • Terry

      The new model auto’s came out in August if I remember right, so you could own a new 59 Caddy, say in August or September of 58, which would be the new model for the upcoming year. So, it’s very possible that this is the hurst that hauled Buddy Holly.

      Like 1
      • Miguel

        New models usually came out in September.

        The new design would have to had been sent to the coach company and then the car would have been built.

        There is no way a 1959 would have been used in August of 1958.

        Also if you look at the pictures, it shows a 1956 hearse was used for the funeral.

        Why did you mention an Oldsmobile Hurst in this comment of yours????

        Like 0
  3. Superdessucke

    People at one time were dying to get into this. And apparently that still holds true on e-bay given the bidding activity!

    Like 4
    • James

      Everyday, it’s a gettin closer.

      Like 2
  4. Will Fox

    I think one starting point in looking into this hearse’s past would be to decode the VIN. You’ll need to pinpoint the build date–in particular the MONTH in `59 this was built. Even if it never hauled Buddy Holly to his final resting place, it’s a fairly solid hearse, and being a `59, worth restoring. A buyer simply needs to approach this vehicle with an open mind, and accept the high possibility that this hearse never even saw Buddy Holly.

    Like 3
  5. Kenneth Carney

    Cadaver hauler all the way! I’d have to have a lot of runs to even undertake a full restoration on this thing. And with that 35K asking price, he doesn’t have a ghost of a chance on selling it. Got a feeling we’ll be seeing it in some later installment on Barn Finds. Same barn finds time, same barn finds channel.

    Like 4
    • local_sheriff

      I would agree with you on all the above points,however as you might know it sold for 25k! Any winged ambulances/hearses have gotten increasingly popular, 59 Caddys in particular. Though it’s good they’re finally getting appreciated , I’ll admit 25 grand for a PROJECT is shocking!

      Like 4
  6. James

    That’ll be the day.

    Like 5
  7. TimM

    Get the ladders out boys!!! We got a mile of roof to sand!!!!

    Like 2
  8. Mountainwoodie

    James wins the BF Snark award……….but I couldn’t have put it better myself, if I do say so myself.

    Come on people… more P car jokes…..lets start some Caddie hearse jokes…………TWENTY GRAND for a junkyard hulk?

    Like I’m fond of saying……. I’m gonna start selling ice to Eskimos!

    Like 4
  9. Bill Wilkman

    It always amazes me that with cars that were maintained to a very high level during their service years (hearses, ambulances, fire trucks) that they are allowed to deteriorate so badly in the subsequent years. All later owners would have had to do is keep these vehicle under cover. I know they’re very large, but still…

    Like 5
  10. John Oliveri

    Though a very long shot to celebrity body hauler, that would be the only way 20 grand is at all sensible, now the white Hearse that carried Elvis, caught fire in Fort Lauderdale in 78 or 79, if we could find that burnt out shell, now that’s a discovery

    Like 2
    • Bill Wilkman

      My guess is it’s been reconstituted into half a dozen or so Toyotas. ;o)

      Like 1
  11. Rob Bruining

    $100,000. restoration and what do you get? Only a vehicle a dead guy would want to ride in!

    Like 2
    • Miguel

      That is not true.

      These cars are a hoot to drive, especially the 1959 model.

      Like 3
      • Marshall

        Back during the 1980s, I used to pal around with a Cadillac loving friend who did not care for Volkswagens (“funky bug!”), which I had. In fact, he infected me with “Cadillac fever“, as I had a 1960 four-door flat top, and a 1969 Fleetwood Brougham that we used to pal around in on weekends. Anyway, he once told me that “I would rather drive Herbie”, than drive any Cadillac hearse. I remember how shocked I was to hear that. That guy loved to laugh, and he loved to make others laugh. (RIP Tim K 1954-1993)

        Like 0
  12. Bluetec320 Bluetec320

    Oh, Boy! It’s So Easy to want this car! The buyer better Think It Over before bidding. With the rusting floors and interior, you better hope that it does Not Fade Away before you get it home. I could Rave On, but It Doesn’t Matter Anymore.

    Like 9
  13. Mountainwoodie

    Especially to Peggy Sue…….

    Like 4
  14. Luke Fitzgerald

    Plenty of shots of the Holly funeral – don’t see no ’59

    Like 2
  15. Funnel Dots

    I’d sure love to have this rig in my garage and witness its headlights light up dimly on their own volition and hear the mighty 390 V8 start up all by itself going clickity-clack through the exhaust manifolds. It’s triple note horn would sound weakly but loud enough to allure me inside the hearse’s distressed, musty smelling interior. The ghosts of morticians past would compell me to climb into the back of the hearse, lie down, close my eyes and drift off into a permanent state of nothingness!

    Like 5
    • leiniedude leiniedudeMember

      Great comment!

      Like 1
    • Mountainwoodie

      This rig is calling you………’s time to go.

      Like 3
  16. Moparman MoparmanMember

    If I’m not mistaken, the side/rear window treatment on Ecto-1 is different from this one… :-)

    Like 3
    • Miguel

      You are correct.

      This car was made by Superior and the movie car was made by Miller-Meteor.

      Like 4
  17. Elwyn Davis

    Why would anybody even want to make a ghost busters car. There’s been so many built already. Restore this one. Don’t ruin it with another ecto ride. We don’t need any more General Lee’s either.

    Like 2
    • Miguel

      Most people are followers.

      That is a huge problem.

      Like 1
    • Marshall

      Oh, I do not mind the “me too“ 59 Cadillac hearse “ECTO-1’s”, the 1969 Dodge Charger “General Lee” cars, and the early 60s VW bug “Herbies”(of which I had one),etc.. It’s when they chop them up, and especially when they wreck them (for TV shows/movies), THAT’S where I draw the line! Back in the day, when the cars were not that ancient, before CGI (computer graphics imaging), some slack can be cut. But now, there is no need to wreck vintage cars now that we have CGI. Granted, a little bit of realism is lost (See the 2004 movie “The Aviator”),But another vintage classic is saved.

      Like 0
  18. Joe

    Does this vehicle have an old UND parking sticker on the window?

    Like 0

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