Ghost Tour Limo: 1974 Cadillac Hearse

When I look at the variety of different cars that find their way across the desks here at Barn Finds, I think that the best word that I could use to describe them would be eclectic. Nowhere is this diversity better demonstrated than by our feature car, a 1974 Cadillac Hearse, which is located in Burkeville, Virginia. You will find the Cadillac listed for sale here on eBay with a BIN price of $2,500. The option is also available to make an offer.

Maybe it’s me, but I feel funny using the words hearse and body in the same story, but we do need to look at the vehicle’s body condition. Overall, it actually looks quite promising, although there are a few obvious rust issues. There is rust appearing from under the edges of the vinyl top on both sides of the car, and depending on how long it has been sitting in its current location, the combination of ongoing exposure to the elements and sitting on grass won’t have done the floors or frame any real favors. It also looks like there might be rust beginning to emerge in some of the lower extremities of the fenders, doors, and rockers. Overall though, it doesn’t look to be too bad. The owner used to use the vehicle to conduct haunted house tours, and I personally couldn’t think of a much better vehicle for the purpose.

The interior of the Cadillac actually doesn’t look to be too bad. There is a crack in the wheel, but what is visible seems to have held up quite well. We can’t see the dash or carpets, but we do know that it is fitted with factory air conditioning. One aspect that I do find interesting is that it is fitted with manual windows. I really did expect power windows on the Cadillac. We can’t see how the back is configured, but given the car’s recent history, I would expect that there is some form of seating back there.

Don’t be fooled by the tired appearance, because the 472ci V8 in the hearse actually does run. That engine is backed by a 3-speed automatic transmission, while you also get power steering and power brakes. The 472 is good for around 205hp, but with a vehicle of this sort of weight, performance is not likely to be brisk. Still, rapid acceleration and high top speed would never be a priority for a car like this, or for its passengers for that matter. While the car does run, the owner suggests that it could do with a tune-up, along with a new battery. There is also a leaking seal in the transmission that will need to be replaced. Still, if that’s the extent of the mechanical work required to return it to the road, then that’s pretty encouraging news.

We all know exactly what purpose this 1974 Cadillac was built for, but you have to take off your hat and give credit to the owner for his subsequent use of the vehicle. I’m not sure what I would use the car for myself, but in my mind, I can see it grabbing some attention if I rolled up to the local surf spot with a couple of boards strapped to the roof. If you bought it, what would you use it for?


  1. Stevieg Member

    I really love these cars, having owned over 20 of them myself. I used to work @ a hearse dealership, which was just as bad for me as my current day job @ the Harley dealership. Like putting a crack head in a dope house lol.
    So this is a Miller Meteor end loader. Miller Meteor generally didn’t have things such as power windows. They were basic, but well built cars which were far more “commercial” than the average Cadillac. I actually like that about them. Less stuff to break.
    Most of the ones I have owned over the years were from this generation, 1971-1976. My all time favorite was a beige S & S. I drove my grandfather to his final resting place in it. I told that story before & actually found it on one of the “related finds”. But that was a cool car! Again, beige with a tan top, big chrome ghetto grill, custom dual exhaust with a custom “x” catalytic in place so it would still be legal. It was an anniversary edition for the coach builder & had antique horse drawn hearse woven into the original upholstery. After driving Gramps to his little plot of real estate, the car smelled like him for a looooong time. Used to creep out my now ex-wife. I liked it.

    Like 19
    • Mountainwoodie

      You’re creeping me out too! :)

      Like 6
    • Kurt Member

      Aqua Velva am I right?

      Like 2
    • Miguel

      Stevie, you are the first person to say an M&M was a well built car.

      The two things that turn me off to this car is that it is an M&M and that is a 1974.

      If I am going to spend that much gas, I want some power behind it.

      Like 1
    • Jim Z Member

      Maybe I should buy this as a companion to my ’74 Eldo Camino!
      StevieG, any idea who converted mine? I got it a few years ago out of Parumph, NV already converted but in rough shape. It’s been fun to resurrect, and never seen another Eldo flower car!

  2. NotSure

    I think that one could do much better, price and condition-wise, than this car. Really a niche market. The rust on this makes me think$500 not $2500

    Like 4
  3. Mike

    All those pictures and none of the interior in the back? A very Craig’s List move right there. Also, he goes on to state “this car has been my baby for years”. If that’s the case, someone better call CPS.

    Like 7
  4. James Haviland

    Need two for His and Hearse?

    Like 6
  5. Stevieg Member

    I agree with mike, it would be nice to know the condition of the business end of this vehicle. Was it modified or is it stock? The condition isn’t that bad ( it is all relative…I am in Milwaukee). I’ve seen and driven way worse lol (& way better). It might clean up half way decent. But it makes me wonder how it got into such condition if it really is , in fact, a cherished vehicle.
    Remember Mr. Ed? How about “Mr. Dead”? His famous quote: “A hearse is a hearse, of curse of curse”!

    Like 5
  6. Kenneth Carney

    Did a road tour with a guy who used a ’62
    Superior to haul band equipment in the
    ’70’s. He also had a matching limo to
    carry the band members from show to
    show. Looking back, we must’ve been
    one creepy looking group of guys piling
    out of those cars whenever we stopped
    at Sambo’s, Ihop, or HoJo’s!

    Like 6
  7. Carter T

    I think I would convert the back into a camper and use it as a tow rig for other cool old cars.

  8. Ralph

    Commercial Chasis cars didn’t have power windows, Cadillac just sold a bare chassis to the hearse builder, it had a front cowl and dash with the front fenders and hood with a crate strapped to the chassis with all the rear bumpers and taillights. The seats and door panels were all installed by the body builder.

    Surprising this one does have air conditioning as it was still optional through 1974 and the most likely Cadillac you would see without a/c would be a hearse/ambulance combo.

    Cadillac Commercial Chasis cars did get power windows after the 1977 downsizing from what I recall .

    Like 1
  9. Stevieg Member

    Miguel, I have seen & driven all of the different coach builders vehicles. Here in the rust belt, Miller Meteor products are the ones that seem to hold up the best. The Superior is a far prettier car (subjective, I know), the S & S has a nicer profile, but the M & M lasts longer in the rust belt (Cotner Bevington too, but I know you realize they are the same). None of them are built to as high of a standard as a regular production automobile. And lets face it, back then even those standards were low lol.
    So I stand by what I say because the Miller Meteor products lasted longer than the other coach built products. More basic than the others (I think S & S even had power windows standard by 1974) and they had a relatively stodgy appearance but they were still around after 10 years here.

    Like 2
  10. Stevieg Member

    JimZ, I have absolutely no idea who converted your Eldomino lol. Cool car though!
    There were a number of coach builders that made those conversions. I don’t recall seeing them made by any of the hearse & ambulance builders, except as a flower car. Your car is not a flower car. Maybe Miguel can give some input. I am at a loss.

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