Flower Car: 1955 Cadillac Pickup Conversion

If an El Camino is high on your wish list but you are open to something a bit different, then perhaps this 1955 Cadillac Series 62 could provide the answer. It has spent part of its life as a Flower Car for a funeral director, but the past few years has seen it transformed into a parade vehicle. Transforming it into a light pickup would seem to be an easy job, and it would certainly stand out in that role. I have to say thank you to Barn Finder Rocco B for referring this quirky classic to us. It is located in Wales, Wisconsin, and has been listed for sale here on Craigslist. The sale price for the Cadillac has been set at $24,000.

The proportions of this Cadillac are very interesting and for a very good reason. If you search Google Images for 1955 Cadillac Flower Cars, you will find virtually all have used the Series 62 Sedan as their base. This one is different because it utilizes the Coupe version. It still blesses the vehicle with a long bed, but it doesn’t look as ungainly as the Sedan version. The owner believes that the conversion was undertaken by a Chicago-based coachbuilder, but I have been unable to confirm this. It would be wonderful if one of our readers could confirm the builder because that would just add something to its story. The body itself looks really solid, with no signs of any dings or dents, or any rust issues. The Cadillac underwent a restoration in the 1990s, and the Black paint still shines beautifully today. The trim and chrome seem to be in good condition, while the same is true of the glass. The bed of the vehicle is covered with a tonneau and as you will see if you check the gallery of photos at the bottom of the article, it has been fitted with carpet, removable swiveling seats, a CB radio, tape player, and various other pieces of audio/visual equipment. All of this could be removed if the next owner has an alternate use in mind. Also included is a hardcover for the bed which has been skillfully fabricated from two trunk lids.

The interior of the Cadillac presents very nicely, and really needs nothing urgent. I noticed holes in the kick panels, but these could either be repaired or replacement panels could be sourced. The upholstery on the seats and door trims is in good condition, while the carpet looks to be free from major problems. The dash looks like it has survived well, but the vehicle hasn’t been loaded with luxury extras. This could possibly be because of its original design purpose. Driving along with a radio blaring probably doesn’t convey the right impression if the back is loaded up with flowers for a funeral. Of course, there is a JVC radio/cassette and some pretty powerful speakers in the bed, so now you could drive along with that playing merrily, allowing you the chance to share your musical tastes with the general public.

Mechanically, the Cadillac is identical to how it would have been when it rolled off the production line back in 1955. In this case, we find a 331ci V8, a 4-speed Hydramatic transmission, along with power steering. In its former life as a Flower Car, outright engine performance wasn’t a consideration. I guess that if the funeral was for the right personality, then there was the potential for a lot of floral tributes to find their way into the back, so some power might be required. This V8 should be capable of producing 230hp, allowing the Caddy to punch-out a sub-19-second ¼ mile ET. That has the potential to produce one fast funeral. Those figures are more relevant today, especially if the next owner does choose to transform the vehicle into a light pickup. The Cadillac has recently been fitted with new tires, and the owner states that it does drive very nicely.

I’m really not sure exactly what I would do with this Cadillac Flower Car if I bought it, and that’s why I suggested transforming it into an El Camino alternative. With the bed properly fitted out, it would also make a really distinctive and eye-catching shop or promotional vehicle. It might have been designed for a very specific purpose, but now there is a multitude of possibilities open to an imaginative owner. If you bought it, what would you do?

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Comments

  1. Little_Cars

    Man oh man. I had a rare opportunity to buy a 54 like this, rough but running and driving, painted pink and with a hot tub mounted in the back. It was on Craigslist in 2014, located at a tote the note car lot in rural Kentucky for $3500. It was a Miller-Meteor body.

    Like 6
  2. Moparman Member

    Needs a chromed rear bumper, side profile makes me think of a really long, elegant business coupe! Curious, no pictures of the hard tonneau? GLWTA :-)

    Like 9
    • Stevieg

      I have seen this car in person and I will say it is a sweetheart! It had the “trunklid” on when I saw it, and it just looks right.
      I saw this ad (owner has been trying to sell it for a pretty long time, like maybe 5 or 6 years) and recognized the car right away, I know it is the same one.
      The ad shows the parade seats in the cargo area. Great idea if you need a parade car! When I first saw this ad years ago, I had entered my old Eldorado convertible in the city of Milwaukee Christmas parade & froze my acorns off! I saw this car and wished I had the money to buy it for the next parade. Maybe I should have sold the Eldorado!

      Like 1
  3. Rex Kahrs Member

    I’d re-do the bed immediately, getting rid of the monster stereo setup.

    Like 18
  4. Little_Cars

    I’m not so sure this started out as a coupe. The length of the door, and extension of the rear fender up to the front door would suggest the standard sedan conversion. The height of the windshield is another consideration as it appears to be from a Fleetwood sedan not a Coupe deVille. Many coachbuilders would add the coupe-like top to their creation after the conversion was done. I’m not so sure I like that cheesy stereo set up and boat seats in the back but for parades I guess anything goes as you slowly progress down Main Street with the homecoming queen in back.

    Like 8
  5. Will Fox

    This being a back-yard conversion isn’t proportionate like the conversion houses built for Cadillac. It looks too stubby being based on the coupe, so it comes off visually ‘off’. But hey—you’re guaranteed to have the only one at the next car show.

    Like 4
    • Little_Cars

      I would be absolutely floored if this turned out to be a backyard DIY job. The upholstery and rear holding area, yes. But the original build had to have been performed by one of the professional car builders of the day.

      Like 13
  6. Chris in Pineville

    looks like an Australian Ute….

    Like 5
  7. Sam61

    Not quite the Pope-mobile. First picture made me think of Don Corleone’s funeral procession. Some day your Don will ask a favor…that day may never come…

    Great find…needs a bed a tailgate.

    Like 6
    • Gaspumpchas

      sam61 I was thinking the same thing!!! Barzini would be proud!
      Stay safe
      Cheers
      GPC

      Like 3
  8. Little_Cars

    A few more. I’m beginning to suspect Meteor, but none pop up with the higher windshield and the lack of trim on the quarter panel. This one even has a painted rear bumper!

    Like 1
  9. Little_Cars

    1956 with Fleetwood quarter trim

  10. Little_Cars

    1955 like the subject vehicle, being used for its intended purpose.

    Like 1
  11. Smokey Member

    For some reason these flower cars were never used much, if at all here on the West Coast. Retired now, I spent 20 years in the funeral business. Flowers cars out here were almost always just plain panel delivery trucks. They were loaded quickly right after the services and then rushed to the burial site, then set up at graveside, awaiting the arrival of family and friends. Flower cars seem to be an Eastern funeral custom. The panel delivery trucks cost a LOT less than one of these !.

    Like 6
    • Pat Lamb

      The East Coast was very European and very Catholic… And European Catholics love processions.

      Like 2
  12. scott

    Add an appropriate style pop top and have a great weekend camper!

    Like 1
  13. Ken Cwrney

    Great start for an awesome pickup. Could really use this to move my family
    to a new home here in Melbourne. Should’ve bought that ’61 Pontiac flower
    car which would’ve left me in great shape. But sadly, space was my biggest
    enemy. Just too much stuff lying around
    to make it work. Wonder what this would
    look like as a nomad. I’ll paint a portrait
    and let ya’ know!

    Like 2
  14. William Cockayne Member

    Cool, remember these well. There was a man in Buffalo, NY about 30 or 40 years ago who had a warehouse full of them. Various years from the 30`s to the 70`s all Cadillac flower cars. That and a few Seegrave fire trucks. Wonder whatever happened to them.

    Like 4
    • ron foley

      ya he was in the Pierce-Arrow building..i used to do alot of buisness with him used to call him the chicken man

  15. Robert White

    Nice style & lines for a black paintjob IMHO.

    I’d buy it if I could scrape two dimes together and I had a bank account that corresponded to the price plus shipping to CANUCKISTAN.

    Cool car & good job General Motors design staff.

    Bob

    Like 4
  16. Sparky

    All coachbuilt floral coaches were suicide 4-dr coupes on extended-length commercial chassis’s. This featured ‘55 may well have been professionally built, but not as a flower car.

    Like 4
    • John

      I agree. This car did not start out as a flower car. It looks to have been a standard Coupe deVille that was modified into what we see today. I believe flower cars were intended to also carry the casket, which is why you see the wide loading doors behind the driver’s compartment and at the rear in the photos of real flower cars that ‘Little_Cars’ submitted. On this car, you have a curved and raised-lip trunk opening of a standard Coupe deVille rather than a loading door that you would have with a flower car.

      Like 1
  17. JoeNYWF64

    Strange split heater hose routing on top to both sides – goes where?
    Fender skirt dislikers certainly won’t like even the partially covered front wheels. Imagine what partially covering today’s 20 inch wheels would look like.

    Like 1
    • Sparky

      ‘Fender skirt dislikers’ primarily dislike skirts forced onto cars that were never designed for them. Ones where there’s a flared wheel well lip, and someone has rigged an ill-fitting chromed skirt into the opening.

      Like 1
  18. 1-MAC

    Flower cars were built on Commercial chassis which was longer than passenger chassis. The bed was quite high as pictures will show. This one is a nice custom job.

    Like 2
  19. Jimbosidecar

    But it would make a nice motorcycle hauler if a tail gate would be fabricated

    Like 2
    • Stevieg

      Hell yeah! Harley haulin’ hearse!

  20. JimZ

    Wow! Like it!
    Not seen too many older Caddy’s modified like this.
    Still enjoying my ’74 Eldo-Camino…..

  21. KarlS

    You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant! Excepting Alice!
    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0064002/mediaviewer/rm2708412160

  22. Bob Mck Member

    I would love to have it just to take it to shows. The DJ could play the show music from the back.

  23. MG Steve

    Were you trying for this, or did it just happen??? the conversion was undertaken by a Chicago-based coach builder

    Like 1
  24. Claudio

    Well, with the asking price and the useful aspect if this car i cannot make sense of it
    Buy a cheap pick up for a lot less !
    It has a certain look but driving the whale around is certainly entertaining
    Nah, i will keep driving my free ford focus stationnwagon with leather and sunroof and much more !

    I like the look of thisbut …

  25. ShaneH Shane

    I’d put a bunch of plastic flowers in the back and drive it!!

  26. chrlsful

    politician’s car. Gets to blab all his stuff’n show his face.
    (wife in 2nd seat if tagin along?)

  27. Steve

    I saw this car in person once, at a Professional Car Society meet. This is not a classic professional car coachbuilt flower car. It is a much later built “el camino” conversion. True flower cars do not have the inner fenders and shock towers visible in the bed, and don’t have a hump over the rear axle. Whenever it was converted, it was done by a customizer, not a coachbuilder. That said, the workmanship was well done, and for someone who wants an unusual custom, there it is. But it’s not a flower car.

    Like 2

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