Morbidly Intriguing: 1948 Chrysler Sedambulance

1948 Chrysler Sedambulance

We aren’t sure why old funeral and ambulance cars are so fascinating. There is something about them that is both intriguing and disturbing. We find this 1948 Chrysler Sedambulance to be especially interesting, as it was designed to serve as an ambulance/funeral car and a day to day sedan. We aren’t sure about hauling a corpse in the same car we haul our groceries, but if utility is a major concern then this is the car for you! Find it here on craigslist with an asking price of $1,200. Thanks Mike J for the tip!

Sedambulance B Pillar

Non-wagon sedans typically aren’t well suited to haul coffins or stretchers, so to make loading this Chrysler Windsor a bit easier, McClintock made the B-pillar removable. With the pillar removed, a stretcher could easily be loaded behind the front seat. Reattach the pillar and you were ready to go. Now as you can see, this car is in rough shape inside and out. It is going to need a complete restoration before it will be hauling anything anywhere. Well, anything living at least…

McClintock Sedambulance

The F.H. McClintock Company performed the conversion to this Chrysler. After WWII, these big sedans were hard to sell, so companies like McClintock would pick them up and convert them into funeral and ambulance cars. Since these cars could be used for both work and personal use, they were much easier to sell. There weren’t many of the Sedambulances built and very few are left today.

1948 Chrysler Windsor

The restoration of this Sedambulance is going to be a massive undertaking, but when it’s done you will have quite a unique machine. You certainly won’t see another one at your local car show! We have our concerns about that removable B pillar though, especially given all the rust. So would you take it on? Or would you rather not be caught dead in this Chrysler?

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Comments

  1. Brian

    Now, I admit to being no expert on late 40s Chrysler products, but this looks like the standard long bodied Chrysler to me (the DeSoto version was called a Suburban, but I’m not sure about Chrysler). Other than the removable piller, what did this conversion include? I have seen second row jump seats in these cars before, so I know thats not part of the conversion. I’m really not seeing that the conversion makes it much more special than the standard Chrysler, which I do like, by the way!

    • Kristi Evans

      Brian, I am from NEOh, and have seen exactly one of these McClintock conversions perfectly restored. They are exceedingly rare, but ONE lives near my hometown. The owner spent decades and tons of money restoring his, and it was mainly complete, I believe, when he got it for a song given its condition ($5k, if my memory serves), and he spared no expense in locating all that went with this car (a gurney, curtains, badging, interior pieces, sirens, along with the usual rechroming of the 8,000 yards of trim and custom paint). It was definitely a treat to see it, as, like everyone else here, I’ve been to countless car shows and have never seen another like it. If I remember correctly, the guy was talking about selling his for something north of $50k and if I had to guess, I’m pretty sure he more than that.

      Maybe I’m wrong, but I just don’t see one of these kinds of cars going for that kind of money, unless Barrett designed it. Like the long station wagon I have, it seems it would appeal to few people and I can’t imagine that the one listed above would be worth restoring unless you want to own it until they use it to drive you to your gravesite. It’d be a labor of pure love and loss of cash. All this said, what do I know? We buy the cars we do because we love them, not because other people do. I’d be interested to see if anyone jumps on this for a restoration, or if they just use the body to make it a regular (and perfectly beautiful) sedan. Whatever he does, he should have own shop, and a metric ton of time and money. ….I wish I could scare up pictures of the one I saw for posting. When these things are complete, they are something to see.

      Like 1
  2. geomechs geomechs Member

    A bunch of guys in our car club are currently restoring one. It was used as a spare ambulance for many years and now the community has decided to restore it and use it for display and occasional promotional tours. Fortunately it was almost always kept inside and hasn’t suffered from exposure to the elements like this one has. Sure hope the right person grabs this and restores it. It would make something unique.

  3. rancho bella

    Whom ever buys this and restores it just sent their savings to the funeral home……

    • geomechs geomechs Member

      That might be a better place than the federal government.

  4. Dave

    If this was closer, I would love to have it. When restored, it would make a nice cruiser.

    • Tommy Brown

      It sure would. Cruising down Broadway in a parade.

  5. Brian

    It’s not overpriced, but I really don’t think it should be. With a couple of strategicly placed welds, it just a regular lwb Chrysler again. That being said, it would be a beautiful car after restoration. I must admit that I prefer the shorter body style; this one would be so massive on the road that I don’t think I’d like it. Buy it and get in touch with your inner Howard Cunningham (yes, I know he drove a DeSoto, but close enough!)

    Like 1
  6. Don Andreina

    I love the look of certain models such as the 1965 Cadillac Superior ambulance. It’s nothing morbid, I just think some of those coachbuilts are outstanding interpretations of already outstanding base vehicle designs. I personally couldn’t drive around in an old ambulance or hearse still kitted out as such, but gee those wagons can be pretty.

  7. Andacar

    Assuming I had a place to do it, the time, the money, a good parts source, and some help, yes, absolutely I’d have a lot of fun restoring this old beast. I wouldn’t change the body and interior much except of course for a thorough restoration. I’d add AC discretely and a few other things if it didn’t have them. But no Chevy 350s, there are enough of them already.

  8. Harit Trivedi

    I too have a Limo in India, it can’t be converted but looks the same externally. Should have a Fluid Drive, and Spitfire engine. My car unfortunately looks similar, corroded to the hilt, but when its turn comes she will be restored. I love the looks of these cars.

    Cheers harit

  9. Joe Moss

    I have a great running 48″ Spitfire motor that Id part with… Be a “easy” drop in.. Hope someone restores it. History like this is fast getting away from us. Love to see it done!

  10. Ed LaHouse

    New to your website. Love it. How do you view the reader classifieds?

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Welcome to the site Ed. Right now the reader classifieds just display over there on the right hand side of the site. We may have to develop it into something more though as a few people have asked about it.

      • Ed LaHouse

        Just wanted to look through the classified ads. I own 1970 Ford pickup and a 1977 Corvette. The Ford is a daily driver. The Corvette has been stored about 3 years. Its probably a candidate for your barnfinds.

  11. Alan

    OK,
    I guess I am not a purist about this, rare or not.
    To me, a really cool ride to make a Limousine out of, with proper drivetrain and suspension upgrades. The only one in town, and so very different. Maybe even stretch it a couple of feet….
    Yea, on this one I am some kind of heretic, I just can’t help it!

  12. guggie

    My Aunt Mary /Uncle Frank , Had a hotel and I remember an 1948 DeSoto like this , it was used to bring guests to and from the hotel. But the best part was when she wanted to trade it in on a 1957 Plymuoth Fury she couldnt get what SHE thought it was worth because she considered it a custom model, Uncle Frank was just glad it was gone and she got her Fury . Uncle Frank drove a Chysler 300 1956 loved that car ,

    • Brian

      Cool memories! Hopefully someone in your family still has that preserved 57 Fury! Aunt Mary would be very, very happy with the value of that car today! In 1957 trade in value, have a custom bodied ’48 Desoto probably gave you a $55.00 trade in instead of a $50 trade in for a standard body, then it would have gone on the back row of the used lot with a $75.00 asking price!

  13. guggie

    Brian , The 57 Fury is long gone she drove it for 10+ years and then gave it to a grandson , who might have taken it to Texas , car was baby blue with white top and white interior , v8 auto ps pb no air . Id like to have the Chrysler 300 uncle Frank had , gunmetal grey / red leather interior , loaded ps,pb, pw,ac and it had a Hemi !! No I dont know what happened to that car , the last thing I saw Uncle Frank driving was a Jeep Galditor Pick up .

  14. Ted Hardin

    This looks JUST like the car my family had in 1962 !!! My stepdad bought it for $50 because it had a noise in the bottom end !!!! He took the oil pan off and it had a bad rod (no rod bearings as they had babbited rods) !!! It was the BIG straight 8 and we could not afford a new rod and a complete gasket set (we were poor a my stepdad had emphysema and we were on welfare and they paid for gas and lodging but NOT parts for the car ) so he took a leather tongue out of a shoe soaked it in oil and wrapped it around the crank and tightened up the rod !!! It had 2 jump seats in the back but not a removable B pillar !!! It took 9 of use and everything we owned on top or inside with us from Dayton,Ohio to Phoenix, Arizona !!! Me and my stepdad drove to Long Beach California and back and after 5 years of owning the car he sold it for $50 !!! It was still running FINE !!! After 53 years I still miss that car !!!

    • Alan (Michigan )

      What a great bit of personal perspective and history.

  15. bob

    I have the same car in about the same shape !!!! if you want to sell the hood doors and fenders let me know

  16. Tom Inman

    I have a 1948 4 door Windsor that looks a lot like this car. I have it for sale with a Spitfire motor that has not run much in over 10 years. Mine might make a parts car for this. The interior in mine is pretty good for original. This would be cool restored. My old Windsor would take a lot to restore.

  17. Glen McCall

    I find the comments concerning the ’40 ambulance/sedan to be very interesting. We picked up a ’40 Chrysler Saratoga in this same condition and also a ’41 Dodge in basically the same condition. The Dodge is now running with a 360 & automatic. It is ready for paint & upholstery. We figure $7,000 will be the total cost, including the initial cost. We will start the Saratoga in about 2 weeks with the same expenditures. We are just wrapping up the restoration of a ’49 Cadillac limo. It will cost about $9,000 complete. The extra cost was because we chose to install a 454 which required a lot of expansion work to fit that large of a motor under the hood. We consider the ambulance/sedan to be in very good condition. Maybe things just cost less here in Roosevelt, Okla.

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