Spooky Sighting: Halloween Hearse

Halloween is almost here! Kids are getting their costumes ready and adults are out buying candy. It’s a fun time of year for many reasons, but for car guys and gals, it’s a time to openly checkout funeral cars. Admit it, you secretly like hearses! Normally it wouldn’t be appropriate to gawk at them though because of their purpose. When I pulled up to this toplight, I assumed the hearse parked in front of me was just out getting serviced or washed, but then I saw the license plate and knew it was one of my fellow macabre car guys.

TIMEZUP… What a clever custom plate! It may be a little twisted, but it is sort of fun to see vehicles like this out and about. They are probably headed to a party or just out cruising, but for whatever reason, this is the time of year people pull these things out of their garages. Hearses and other funeral vehicles are interesting to automotive enthusiasts because we know what goes into building them. Many of them are “coachbuilt” and that work conjures up images of custom Rolls-Royces and the like.

So, next time you see a hearse with a plastic skeleton in the passenger seat, take a closer look. The owner may seem sick, but in reality, they are probably just a car guy like you and me. Have a safe and happy Halloween!

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Comments

  1. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    To bad you could not flag them down Jesse, with that plate I am sure they would fit right in here. Might have been a story there. Hearses are pretty cool as long as you don’t need one. I will be wearing my Barn Find hat and going as an old car guy this year. Happy Halloween to the staff and any Barn Find freaks that are out there.

    Like 5
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      Sounds like a good costume to me!

      Like 4
    • slickb

      Are you kidding, I am gonna try to pull off a young car guy this year!!!
      XD

      Like 5
  2. Will Fox

    A sad reality is that once these `96 Fleetwoods/Lincoln Town Car hearses got used up, they were the last of their breed. Not long ago I spotted a (gulp!) Dodge caravan minivan as a hearse in a procession. What an insult to the departed…

    Like 10
    • Grandpa Lou

      I find hearses sad and ugly. I like the minivan idea, and not with all the silly ornamentation either. Hearses are made to look like you are going in style, pretending you were some rich dude. A simple respectful van is fine with me. As I recall, MLK had mules draw his casket, a fine man indeed. I also feel it is disrespectful to use them in the hobby, hurts many people who have had recent loss.

      Like 3
      • MH

        Wow! You really need to lighten up! Its just a car that was made to be used. You must be fun at parties. Haha

        Like 22
      • Grandpa Lou

        MH, maybe your right, I could lighten up some. Just the same, I have never enjoyed seeing a hearse, either in its primary use, or later when used for other things. Just plain creepy if you ask me. Of course, this comes from an old fuddy duddy who stopped trick or treating at age nine because I saw no thrill from that.

        Like 2
    • Miguel

      Will you should see the crap that is used in Mexico.

      Have you ever seen a Nissan Sentra hearse or a Mustang hearse?

      Awful

      Like 3
      • Miguel

        There is a shop in Guadalajara that converts cars into hearses.

        Here is his vision of an Escalade.

        Like 1
      • Miguel

        Here is what he does to Fusions.

        Like 1
      • Miguel

        Here is a 2007 Mustang GT hearse.

        You can decide if you like it or not.

        Like 2
      • Miguel

        Thank goodness the next one was photo shopped.

        Like 2
  3. Francisco

    I would put a coffin in the back, put on a black suit, and park it at the mall, and the drive-in movies. I’d use the drive-thru at the take-out. Just to mess with people.

    Like 6
  4. Fred

    My father owned a ’75 Cadillac hearse for several years, which he gradually restored. His personalized plate was DORNAIL. He also had nameplates made for the side windows, where the funeral home’s name usually went, that said ‘Stiff & Wesson.” He got lots of calls to show up for people’s 40th birthdays.

    Like 5
  5. 86_Vette_Convertible

    Back in the late 60’s a friend has a mid 50’s Cadillac hearse. It made a great party vehicle, though today it might be a tailgating vehicle. It could haul a lot of kegs and party goods and not blink an eye. Shoot, the cops didn’t even give it a 2d look, though they likely should have as we were all underage.

    Like 3
  6. Fred H

    I had several Hearses in my youth . Ranging from 1939 to 1966. They were fun cars nobody wanted. Most fun was stopping for a hitchhiker. and them passing the ride. Also drive throughs they refused to put beer in the back ))

    On the back of a1948 in primer I printed ” Drop Dead Call Fred”

    Like 5
  7. Stevieg

    Having been a “hearseophile” for years, and having owned over 18 of them over the years, I really like this.
    In the recent past, I had a rather negative exchange with someone from this website. I don’t like feeling that way. I try to be a positive person. But this person has made negative comments about this car. I’m sorry, but if a person, any person, doesn’t like the content of this website, or even of a car on it, don’t read it (whether it is just the car, or the whole website).
    Maybe trying to be more open minded would be helpful.
    I am not trying to attack, but our world is a negative place. I have a lot of good, positive friends, but I can’t be around them all the time. So I come here.
    I don’t come here to hear about things that I enjoy being bad. Done with my rant now lol.
    I’ve used my hearses to haul appliances, go to the drive in theater before it closed, go to haunted houses for halloween, drove my Grandfather, Uncle, and friends Mom to their final resting places, and I even got to show my ex-wife what the rollers in the back are REALLY for, when there is no coffin (hehehe).
    This generation hearse is a GREAT travel car. Lots of space for luggage, smooth ride, decent acceleration and surprisingly good fuel mileage. I would absolutely want to purchase one of these after I am relocated to Arizona.

    Like 6
    • Miguel

      Steve, do you know what Paul’s license plate was on his 1959 Superior?

    • Grandpa Lou

      18? That strikes me as a need to seek professional help. Why the love of something that most people find repugnant? Of course you have every right to own and indeed, love them, but what is the intent? To shock? To upset? Sorry, but you came down so hard on someones comments here, without much empathy, I just needed to ask. Have a good day.

      Like 1
      • Miguel

        Why do you think MOST people find it repugnant?

        I got a ton up positive response when I had my coaches.

        If you can’t appreciate a hand made elegant Cadillac wagon with options and design elements no other car had ever had, you are probably on the wrong site.

        Like 5
  8. Buffalo Bob

    Around here, we have a chain of funeral parlors named Amigone. All their last rides have the name on the plates. Am I Gone?

    Like 5
  9. Miguel

    I have always wanted a 1990 Eureka Hearse. They made a model with a removable roof over the drivers compartment, like the old ’30s cars.

    I have never seen on in real life though.

    Like 2
  10. Stevieg

    Miguel, what was Paul’s plate? I had a 1968 Miller Meteor 3-way with a plate that read “1 BAD CAD”, not knowing cad meant something different than Cadillac lol.
    I too would love to have one of those Eureka hearses with the town car style chauffer compartment. Open air motoring with a hearse.
    There is a local funeral home that has a Harley hearse, which makes sense with this being Milwaukee.

    Like 2
    • Miguel

      It was a white California plate that said I Bury U

      We used to switch it around on any hearse we used that day as the cars that Bob brought had no plates on them usually.

      The cops never looked twice at a hearse that looked like it was still in service.

      Like 2
    • Miguel

      It does look a little odd now that I look at it as an adult.

      Like 4
      • Ralph

        Thats 80’s though,1984-85 I think, not 90’s. I think that was the only one made. It exists somewhere, I’ve seen it on a site, a hearse collector owns it

        Like 1
  11. Roseland Pete

    If I had a hearse, I would park it in front of various eating establishments until the restaurant owner paid me to move it out. :)

    Like 6
  12. TJ

    I remember several years ago following a Cadillac hearse in bumper to bumper traffic on the 101 Fwy in Woodland Hills CA with the license plate number reading C U SOON. It made me realize how fast time goes by and my quality of life. It caused me to make the decision to move to Idaho. Best decision I ever made!

    Like 3
  13. Mountainwoodie

    I never fail to get a chuckle when I stop by Barn Finds…..but then I’m kinda bent. I remember back in the day when Neil Young had a hearse, I think it was a 49 Buick? He loved that thing………I always thought about having one but it would have to be something from the Thirties……

    Like 1
    • Miguel

      Those thirties cars are really hard to move around in todays traffic.

      The closest I got was driving my friends 1949 Packard landau. It was a monster with no power steering and a three on the tree.

      The hydraulic windows were interesting on a professional car though.

      Like 2
  14. Wayne

    In one of my past lives/vocations I sold commercial vehicles. One customer that I had was a funeral home conclomerate. ( most funeral homes are partially owned by only 2 or three national conglomerates these days as there are economies of scale) However different areas of the country have different views and economies regarding the honoring and handling of the dead. For example, an area in Arkansas only used white Suburbans at their locations. ( both for body transport and family transport ) another in Oregon used only dark red mini vans. ( again for both uses) Where in Ohio they only used black and silver Lincolns and Cadillacs for family transport, and hearses for the body. And don’t even think to use a vehicle for more than one purpose. Here in Nevada, almost anything goes, however body and flower transport usually happens in a white cargo van.
    Having grown up with an uncle that had his own funeral home. That we even used as a gathering place for family reunions. The morbid thing never really ever played a place in my life. The whole funeral thing was just the ending chapter in your life. One of our family vacation vehicles was a 1959 Caddy limo that was an ex-funeral car. I like hearses, but would like them more with a standard roof height. ( I understand the need for raised roof, just don’t like the appearance. ) My uncle had several hearses over time. ( some early ones were the dual purpose, hidden red light versions) But only one was a raised roof unit. Uncle didn’t like the style of those either.

    Like 2
    • 427Turbojet 427Turbojet Member

      I’ve been fascinated by professional cars ( limos, hearses and ambulances) for as long as I can remember. I found this 1950 Chevrolet National hearse 30+ years ago in the weeds behind a long defunct dirt track. It had been used as the track’s ambulance before the track closed in the late 60s/early 70s. I couldn’t bear watching it sink into the ground, so I found the properties owner and made a deal to help him “clean up the junk out back”. It’s been in my barn for decades now, not sure what to do with it. I too much prefer the lower roof professional cars, this Chevy is really a stretched sedan delivery- to me, they just have nicer proportions.
      If you can find one, “American Funeral Cars & Ambulances since 1900” by Thomas A McPherson (part of the Crestline Encyclopedia series). is a wonderful book. I’ve practically worn my copy out over the last 40 years.

      Like 3
      • Miguel

        427, that car would look great restored.

        What do you plan on doing with it?

        Like 1
      • 427Turbojet 427Turbojet Member

        Miguel, don’t know for sure. Too many projects ahead of it, need to live to be 150 years old to get them all done. I would hate to see it become a rat rod, too cool to get chopped up. I’ve actually been selling (or giving nephews) project cars that I realize I’m not going to get to. In the last couple of years I’ve let go of a 41 Chevy 2dr, 39 Chevy panel delivery, 40 GMC panel delivery, 53 Chevy wagon, 75 Chevy short box stepside, and my first car, a 55 Chevy Delray. Making room in the barns and getting a few extra $ to support my vintage tin habit. I’ve found that letting go is easier than I thought it would be-especially if I think the cars will make it back to the road. After having said all that, I would entertain offers on the hearse.

        Like 2
      • Miguel

        427, did you ever get any paperwork on that Chevy?

        Like 1
      • 427Turbojet 427Turbojet Member

        Just a bill of sale. I originally contacted the track’s owner by phone. We agreed on the sale and a price, but it was a couple of years before I got around to finalizing the deal( it was a couple of hundred miles away). In the meantime, the owner had died so I went looking for next of kin. I found the property had gone to a son, somewhat of a neer-do-well. I told him of the deal I had made with his dad but that I had never paid. He was more than happy to take my money.

        Like 2
  15. Angel Cadillac Diva

    Nothing to do with hearses, but there is some discussion on license plates, so I’m chiming in……
    Back in the 1990s I had a 1972 boattail Riviera and my now ex had a 1972 Jeep Wagoneer. His license plate was DEAD 1 and mine was DEAD 2. Cracked up a lot of funeral directors passing them on the
    parkway.

    Like 2
  16. P Wentzell

    A local funeral home has started to use Chevy Suburbans. As Wayne said, many funeral homes have a 2nd or 3rd partner. A (local) TV commercial features a hearse, flanked every side with stock cars, taking a “Victory” lap around Talladega Raceway, while the family is in the stands, the advertising being part of a conglomerate.

  17. Dan Decker

    I’m not that much of a NASCAR fan but I remember seeing a Caddy hearse converted for Tony Stewart a while back.Pretty sweet ride with a572 big block and interior featuring 4 bucket seats and a disappearing big screen tv.

    Like 1
  18. Wayne

    427Turbojet, Cool car! I would make a 2 door, crew cab Pick-up/Ute out of it. Slide the last section (windows and roof) forward until the last set of side windows fit perfectly just over the rear side doors. Then weld up the rear doors. And the roof contour would be great. Naturally, the rear section would be a truck (El Camino) bed.
    Talk about a very interesting, different vehicle! And again, the proportions would be perfect! I am not good with graphics, but one of our Barns Finds family is. How about doing this vehicle as I described to help 427Turbojet decide to build it!

    • 427Turbojet 427Turbojet Member

      Wayne, I’ve had a similar idea for a 67 Chevelle wagon. It’s a 300 Deluxe unusually optioned, 327 powerglide, factory A/C all tinted glass with rubber floor mats. Rusty around rear quarter glass. I’ve scrapped a couple of 64-67 ElCaminos, saved the roofs, tailgates and trim. Thinking 67 4 Dr ElCamino. Roof would take some work, wagon roof has a “V” styleline above rear seat, wagon rear door windows have too sharp of an upper rear corner to fit the ElCamino roof and rear seat headroom for adults would be tight. On the plus side, an ElCamino tailgate bolts on and the box trim could be shortened to give a very factory appearance. Still in the “thinking about” stage, but I pick up parts I think would work when I find them.

      Like 1
  19. Del Gray

    🎃🎃🎃😱

  20. Grandpa Lou

    Steve, I didn’t even remember your legal difficulties when I commented on the hearse, really. My disdain for them is probably part of being of my generation. Many of us lost so many good friends suddenly and far too young, the hearses they ended up in decades before their time, just reminds us of a time we all wish we could forget. But that is my hang up, not yours. My hatred of drunk drivers has not changed though. No matter how long you end up behind bars, my friend is still forever in that cold dark box. Lives taken too young, for what ever needless reason, is something none of us should tolerate. With that said however, I want to say this. You seem to be going through a lot of pain right now, and that is not a good thing unless you grow from it. If you have truly changed your attitude about ever again drinking anything and getting behind the wheel (regardless of what laws may be on the books), then I hope the judge shows you mercy and lets you get on with your life. If you still are laser focused on how you feel you were harmed by an unfair law and will again someday drink and drive again in spite, then perhaps you need some time away to ponder the whole issue. Regardless of what happens, take care, and hang in there. One thing I learned back in the bad old days is that ALL life is precious, even those who we do not agree with. Believe it or not, I wish you well. Lou PS Oh yeah, the slant six does rock. I hope my old man in Heaven has one right now to drive on those nice highways up there. Of course, Dad might say he really wants an L Head, but thats pretty nice too.

  21. Grandpa Lou

    Sounds good my friend. Good luck and take care. Lou

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