Rescue A Rescuer: 1952 Chevrolet Ambulance

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Vintage emergency vehicles are a rather niche market, however, some are more desirable than others. “Desirable” is highly subjective, obviously, but we have to admit that this 1952 Chevrolet ambulance, for sale here on craigslist near Baltimore, is something we don’t see every day. Are you a fan? Check it out below and let us know what you think!

The seller doesn’t state any historical information in the advert,  and they may not know it at all. What we do know and can see is that it is and has been a work-in-progress that got set aside for whatever reason and that the car has a 6-cylinder with 3-speed manual transmission. Seller says that they have all the equipment and trim which was removed for bodywork prep and that the engine will run if prompted by gas down the carb, all of which means someone could easily put it back together as whatever Emergency Services organization that they wanted.

I will admit to being a fan of vintage emergency vehicles, however, I am by no means an expert. After a quick consult with some folks who are, I believe the coachbuilder here was National. The seller makes no mention, so my belief is pure speculation. It’s also hard to tell what all is here and what might be missing. Clearly, there’s a set of bumpers present and some window trim, but it’s impossible to know what is present and what’s missing without pulling it out of the car and going through it.

A shed-kept 1950s ambulance that is purportedly solid, for an asking price of $3,850, is a highly-sought-after gem within the hobby. And it appears that there are some other interesting cars in this garage that might also be worth a closer look. Does anyone want to rescue this former rescuer?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. local_sheriff

    Don’t really know it’s worth the price as that would depend on the presence of all specific parts. It’s nevertheless an übercool project car that I’d love to have in my garage!Body seems surpricingly sound,but it would be comprehensive should one need locate the coachbilder specific bits.
    I’d like more info on what coachbuilder made this and whether unique parts are there. Ambulances/hearses on Chevy platforms weren’t that common, probably ’cause higher makes could offer more power necessary for an ER vehicle. Also it’d be more posh to have your last journey in a Pontiac or Buick rather than a low-level Chevy!
    Great pro car find!

    Like 4
    • Ken

      My mom and one of my brothers died four years apart (1979 and 1983). They were both taken to the cemetery in the same hearse, a 1962 Pontiac. The funeral home had a matching ’62 Pontiac limousine, which I rode in twice. I have to admit to peeking at the odometer of the limo to check the mileage. It had just over 13,000 miles on it, at twenty years old. The funeral home went out of business in the 1990s, and someone probably got a good deal on those cars. I’d have killed to have that matching set of Ponchos.

      Like 7
      • local_sheriff

        62 Poncho is IMO the best Pontiac design, totally agree it’d be a great buy as a hearse.They are usually extremely well kept and low milage.

        Considering professional cars is a rather ‘narrow’ genre within the car hobby,until a few years ago vintage hearses could be had for next to nothing.Sadly, there’s a good chance the low-milage 62 Ponchos you refer to ended as scrap as no one cared for them in the 90s!

        In my extensive photographic collection of pro cars I’ve found pictural evidence both Cotner-Bevington and Superior built 62 Pontiac ambulances/hearses.These are extensive derivations of the original car design, and extremely low-volume handbuilt units.Stageway specialized in limos.

        I have a remote dream of one day starting a business; transporting deceased gear-heads ‘in style’ in a vintage hearse.With straight pipes, flame throwers and laying rubber at the church stairs I think it be a last ride worthy any car guy. Company name will be ‘Last Journey’ !

        Like 4
      • Ken

        “no one cared for them in the 90s!” You know this for a fact?

        You know no more about their fate than I do. Perhaps a Poncho fan recognized their for what they were – unique, low milage, er, mileage cars. If I’d been at the auction, they’d have gone home with me and not to the scrapyard.

        Like 1
      • local_sheriff

        Ken; it’s true I don’t know ANYTHING about these specific cars’ fate.As a fan of 62 Pontiacs in general and professional cars in particular I definately hope they ended up on some enthusiast hands.
        However I also know that very few of these ;low figures vehicles already at birth; coachbuilt vehicles were appraised for their uniqueness until just 8-10 years back.It’s very much like the fate of millions of 50s/60s wagons, until 20 years back these were deemed as parts donors for our convertibles and 2dht cars!And you know just as good as me how sought-after these wagons are today.
        Despite being low-milage,extremely well kept and probably garaged whole life, upon retirement many,many ambulance/hearse conversions ended their lifes as craftsman toolbox beaters or parts cars. simply as there wasn’t such large following for these graceful birds.Sad,but true

        Like 4
  2. Fred W

    I’m not sure why so many are freaked out by hearses but ambulances don’t seem to bother them. If they could see some of the things this old girl has seen….

    Like 5
  3. Stevie G

    People die in ambulances every day. Not often someone dies in a hearse! A hearse just hauls meat, no different than bringing home steak in the trunk of your car from the grocery store.

    Like 6
    • Miguel

      Stevie, I have told countless people the same thing.

      I also use the analogy that I hate onions, but I don’t hate the truck that hauls the onions.

      I don’t know why people can’t see hearses for what they are, which is a hand made one of a kind Cadillac, for the most part, wagon.

      Like 4
      • Bruce Trump

        It could be a National. They were built in my hometown of Knightstown Indiana.

        Like 3
  4. Ken

    An ambulance driver in the town I grew up in had a ’48 Buick ambulance. I drooled over that car. It sat unrestored for many years until the man had to sell it to raise bail money for his son, who shot and killed his best friend after a bar fight over a woman. “And she wasn’t even pretty,” my dad’s girlfriend said.

    Like 7
    • Mike DeVore

      Funny thing, I own a 48 Buick ambulance that the former owners son killed someone in a bar fight! Prosser Washington right?
      Still unrestored but runs and drives great!

      Like 4
      • Ken

        That’s the one! The fight started in the bar, but didn’t end there. The ambulance owner’s son’s buddy slashed his friend’s arm with a knife seriously enough to require medical treatment. When the son left the hospital, he went to his friend’s house to confront him, armed with a .22. He broke in, woke him up by shouting, “You should have killed me!”, and then killed him. The cops thought they had him barricaded in his home, but he escaped and drove to Oregon, where he fired on the state police during a traffic stop. He was convicted of both crimes and did time in both states before being paroled a few years ago.

        Glad to know the car has a good home, and a little jealous, to be honest. I always wanted that thing. I fell in love with that car in about 1975 or so, when I was 12 years old.

        Like 7
  5. Mikestuff

    I lived in Las Vegas until 2015, and somewhere in the early 2000’s, the husband of a co-worker died of cancer, after a long time suffering. A group of us went to his funeral service on a July Saturday afternoon in Las Vegas, about 112 degrees.
    At the funeral home, there was a hearse parked out of the sun. It was a mid 50’s Packard (I had to find an excuse to go look at it.) All restored, looked brand new. As I stood there, the mortician came out and saw me looking and said that it was all mostly original and they’d had it done in LA; he was kind of in charge of the project. He said they hadn’t used it yet for transport, but it had no A/C and he figured they’d use it only from October to March, when it’s not so damn hot. I actually saw it on the road once a while later. Looked very cool in motion.

    Like 8
  6. Mark Evans

    I understand a 6 banger in a hearse, cause what’s the rush. An ambulance should always have an 8. Not any time to spare the horses.

    Like 6
  7. stillrunners

    Cool….there’s a clinic that has a couple of these old body transporters out front….

    Like 0
  8. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskeyMember

    I spoke to the owner and he confirmed the hearse conversion is by National Coach. This is a very rare survivor, only a couple are known to exist, and his price is very reasonable.

    Like 1

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