No Reserve Rarity: 1955 Chevrolet 210 Flower Car

We’ve seen one or two Flower Cars appear across the desks here at Barn Finds over the years, but I believe that this is the first one based on a Chevrolet 210. Usually, funeral homes would opt for something with a touch more prestige attached to it, but this makes a refreshing change. Since its flower-carting days have ended, it has been transformed into a cool custom that has been listed for sale here on eBay. It is located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and bidding has reached $12,200 in a No Reserve auction.

I think that it is a safe bet that in its former life, this Chevy didn’t wear its current color combination of Regal Turquoise and India Ivory. That is probably a bit on the bright side for a funeral vehicle, but it looks good on this classic today. The owner states that the paint is relatively new, and it does shine beautifully. This beauty is more than just skin deep because the 210 is a rust-free vehicle. The owner supplies photos of the underside, and it is spotlessly clean. The panels are as straight as an arrow, and the gaps are consistent. The inside of the bed is well-finished, while the glass and chrome present perfectly. It appears that there is a badge missing from below the tailgate, but it isn’t clear what this would be. The wheels aren’t original, but that is no surprise when you consider that this is anything but your average 210.

It seems that the owner may need to do his homework a bit because he believes that the 210 might be a numbers-matching vehicle. A quick check of the VIN reveals that this 210 started life with a 6-cylinder engine under the hood. A small-block is now in residence, but I’m not entirely sure what its capacity is. A manual transmission backs it, but once again, it isn’t clear what type this is. The owner doesn’t tell us how well the Chevy drives, but he does supply this YouTube video. You can hear that V8 burbling away in the background, and it sounds sweet and strong.

The interior of the Flower Car presents reasonably well, and it wouldn’t be an embarrassment to turn up to your local Cars & Coffee in it. The seats are upholstered in black leather. The covers look like they might be mildly stretched, and there is evidence of some slight damage on the outer edge of the driver’s seat. However, this looks to be repairable. It appears that the door trims are black cloth, and the carpet and headliner continue that color theme. If you look at each of these features in isolation, they all seem to be quite reasonable. However, I find the use of different materials gives the interior an inconsistent feel. If I were to buy this classic, that is something that would probably want to address. I would also look at the small detail items to boost the interior to the next level. I’m referring to things like the seat mounts. They look dirty, but a quick hit of paint would lift the first impression when the doors are opened. It is these sorts of minor details that can separate a good project car from a great one. The dash is unmodified, although some gauges are hanging below it. There are no signs of any other additions, so it appears that there is no radio or any other creature comforts. Slipping behind the wheel of this classic as it stands would be all about a pure driving experience.

This 1955 Chevrolet 210 Flower Car is something different. If you are the sort of person who marches to the beat of a different drummer, it would have to be an attractive proposition. If you did turn up at a Cars & Coffee in this classic, it would be a safe bet that you are not going to find yourself parked beside an identical vehicle. The bidding to this point has been quite spirited, which suggests a few people like what they see with this classic. Do you?

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    While I’m sure Tri-5 purists cringe ( probably used a Nomad donor) I think this is really neat. Nothing crazy under the hood, not sure what that is, the front oil cap indicates an older motor, but it has a oil cap on the valve cover, a later feature. Entirely useful, if you dare, stock inside, somebody did a really nice job. It’s already gone, stuff like this doesn’t last long.

    Like 6
    • Mr. Bond

      Thinking it wouldn’t have been a Nomad originally. The doors and B pillar are either 2 door wagon or sedan. Beautiful shape, but that rear window bother me a bit. Sits too high.

      Like 16
      • roger pence

        Agreed. Also, the wheel wells aren’t right for it to be a Nomad.

        Like 4
      • Steve R

        The VIN indicates it started life as a 210, not a Nomad.

        Steve R

        Like 9
      • Lowell Peterson

        Truck glass? 80’s el camino would be awesome mod?

  2. bobhess bobhess Member

    That rear badge probably looks like a license plate.

    Like 9
  3. Phlathead Phil

    Incredibly rare & so beautiful. If Chevy would have made more the El Camino would have been born years earlier.

    IMHO, of course.

    Like 3
    • daggers

      Agreed !
      I would have liked this better had they modified & used the
      original rear window from the 1955 Chevy wait would definitely
      be more pleasing to the eye design wise .

      Like 5
    • daggers

      Agreed !
      I would have liked this better had they modified & used the
      original rear window from the 1955 Chevy which would definitely be more pleasing to the eye design wise .

  4. Rick Brennan

    Be nice to have more information on “Flower Car” conversions. Was there a Company or several Companies that specialized in these conversions (maybe Hearse conversion outfits) or were these done typically by local body shops? Did these conversions die away when El Camino’s arrived on the market.

    Like 1
    • Fred W

      Generally, a flower car would have been built by a conversion company whose sole occupation was making hearses and ambulances. They were a small part of the overall operation as most funeral homes couldn’t afford an extra vehicle just to carry the arrangements. Flower cars nearly always had the rails along the bed and no tailgate. A ’55 Chevy version is extremely rare as they tended to be Caddy’s and other luxury badges, however, a funeral home local to me has a beautiful ’57 Chevy “ambulance” (back then the poor sap in the terrible car accident got loaded in the ambulance and as soon as he expired, due to lack of medical training and equipment, it became a hearse).

      Like 5
    • 427Turbojet 427Turbojet Member

      I suspect this car is just a very well done station wagon to pickup conversion and probably never served as a flower car. The “Bible” on professional cars is “American Funeral Cars and Ambulances Since 1900” by Thomas McPherson. Cars designated as flower cars came into being around 1940, with LaSalle, Cadillac and Packard being the chassis’s of choice. It also seems that flower cars were kind of a regional choice, becoming known as Chicago or West Coast coaches. I don’t think lower priced chassis were used until the coming of Rancheros and ElCaminos in the late ’50s
      In the ’60s-70s standard wheelbase Cadillacs be came more common with Lincoln’s, Chrysler’s and even Thunderbirds getting used.
      A few companies used lower priced chassis over the years. National and Barrnet and John Little (out of Canada) used mostly Chevrolet in the ’40s-’60s while Siebert out of Ohio used Ford.

      Like 8
      • Maltese Falcon

        I agree, and based on the description in the ad the seller (dealer?) seems to be blowing smoke, too. JMHO.

      • DON CULLEY

        And the side rails look a lot like 60s-70s station wagon roof rails and look odd screwed over the 210 moldings

  5. Arby

    Did Earl Scheib own funeral parlors too?

    Like 5
    • hatofpork

      Any coffin! Any color! Just $29.95! (gold flake finish extra)

      Like 2
  6. CCFisher

    Interesting. Anybody know which firms did conversions on Chevrolets? Eureka, Superior, and Hess & Eisenhardt did various conversions on Cadillacs, but I’ve never seen a vintage Chevrolet funeral car. Is it real, or did a skilled body person convert a two-ten 2-door sedan or Handyman wagon?

    Like 2
    • Little_Cars

      Didn’t Eureka do the conversions on fleets of Tri-Five Chevies for use as airport taxis as well as those “skylight” wagons out west for the National park service?

      Like 1
  7. Bellingham Fred

    Definitely not the original motor. As Howard mentioned about the oil filler on the valve covers, as well as the still on the intake. The dip stick would have been on the driver’s side. The heads are drilled and tapped for mounting accessory brackets (alternator etc.) The intake might be ’55. I can’t tell about the block, but if it is a ’55 then you don’t have an oil filter. If you watch the video he says it believed to be numbers matching but not 100% sure. Typical salesman BS.

    Like 4
  8. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    Flower cars were and still are sometimes used by flower shops who deliver flowers not only to funeral homes but to private customers on holidays, anniversaries and other special occasions. This very well could have been used for that purpose.
    God bless America

    Like 1
  9. Glenn Schwass Member

    I can appreciate the work that went into it. Interesting.

    Like 3
  10. Frank

    Steering wheel not from a 55 Chevy. Can you believe anything in the ad if he says it’s numbers matching? BTW…original EBay listing gone, re-listed as a “Buy it now” with a price of $35,000…..dream on!

    Like 2
  11. Pugsy

    The big mistake on these is not using Nomad doors with the canted B pillars. The doors and roof of a Nomad would need to be donated and it would look great.

    Like 4
  12. Dennis Marth

    Sort of a “Pre-Camino”. Pretty sweet!

  13. Scott

    If the rear window was moved down about 4 inches to match the belt line it would really improve the look of this cool ride.

    Like 2
  14. wcshook

    Probably a conversion by a local body shop somewhere. Rather sure it isn’t from a national hearse/ambulance company.

    Like 2
    • Little_Cars

      It would certainly have a tag somewhere showing the company that did the work, and a serial # if it was a professional conversion company.

      • Bill McCoskey

        Little_Cars,

        You are 100% correct. Even the smaller conversion companies put on their own additional serial number for warranty reasons. And of course should anyone express interest in who did the work, there is a name plate to check.

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