The Last Car You’ll Ever Need: 1959 Cadillac S&S Victoria Hearse

We’ve all got to go, but only a few of us get to go in style. All things considered, it’s best to be in the drivers seat of this 1959 Cadillac S&S Victoria Hearse, currently located in Lahr, Germany, just a little upriver from Strasbourg on the Rhine. This black beauty is listed here on eBay for $76,900, though the seller is willing to entertain offers.

The S&S Coach Company must surely be one of the oldest coachbuilding firms in North America, if not the world. In operation since at least 1876, this company was briefly involved in automobile production in the early Twentieth Century before confining its attention to custom coachwork: ambulances, limousines, and, of course, hearses. After being bought by long-time employees in 1942 and following a series of acquisitions and mergers starting in the early seventies, the company remains in business today– and the Victoria remains on their list of available models, now based on the Cadillac XT6.

As the passing years have only served to burnish the reputation of the 1959 Caddy, it’s safe to say that there are some circles in which the XT6 may never be held in the same esteem. While arguably more suited to the purpose in a modern setting, no crossover can truly compete with the car that is, for many, the Cadillac– for 1959 was The Year of Maximum Tailfin. Those glorious vanes of automotive superfluity are in full evidence here, resplendent in black. Which is as it should be; there are only a few colors that one should ever paint a Cadillac, and pink doesn’t go on a hearse.

As to the car, as a car, one could mention the transmission or the engine– a 390 cu. in. V8, producing 325 horsepower– but this is a hearse, and where it’s going you don’t want to get there fast. So let’s just say that, according to the seller, the Cadillac is in good condition but could use some work to be perfect. The seller also states that the although the car is currently in Germany, he has experience shipping cars overseas and can arrange for the can to be transported to the buyer’s port of choice. It wouldn’t be the first time this car was wrapped up and sent to a new home: after almost fifty years of service in California, it traveled first to New Zealand in 2007, and thence to Germany in 2019. In a way, it’s fitting that such a stately vehicle has been all around this world, having spent its working life shepherding folks to the next.

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Comments

  1. Bluetec320 Bluetec320 Member

    This is a great hearse, and I would definitely love to own this car. I recently purchased a 170 year old former victorian funeral home as a rental property, and this Caddy would look awesome parked under the carport! As for the price, I believe for 77K the interior and the engine compartment should be finished, and wherever that 1% of rust is located, that should be fixed too.

    Like 15
    • Jim Dandy

      Just where I want to live, an old funeral home. Have any ghosts? Do you charge more because they are there?

      Like 8
      • Bluetec320 Bluetec320 Member

        @Jim Dandy – Lol, The units are completely remodeled and we removed the “prep” room, but the exterior still looks like a funeral home. I am not aware of any poltergeist, but you never know!

        Like 10
      • Sam Shive

        I wouldn’t wanna live in it WITHOUT The Ghost.

        Like 5
    • John Traylor

      I am sure the shipping cost to America would be painful.

      Like 5
  2. Howard A Member

    Oh, me, me, me, wait,,okay, (ahem), why are there no luggage racks on hearses? Because you can’t take it with you,,, hey? Take it with you,,,,( crickets chirping,,oooh, tough crowd) For some reason, hearses don’t come up for sale often, I mean every town in the world must have several. I suppose other funeral homes have their own, and with the cost of funerals today, probably have no problem buying a new one, so where DO all the old hearses go? I’ve long thought, anyone that buys an old hearse has a morbid view of life, ( I realize the irony there) and we all ride in a hearse WAY TOO SOON.

    Like 15
    • Terrry

      at that price, I’d be dead before I could finish paying it off.

      Like 11
    • Fred W

      A few funeral homes have classic hearses tucked away, a local one has an 1880’s horse drawn hearse, and another has a ’57 Chevy “combination” ambulance/hearse. The remainder of classic hearses invariably end up as Halloween props, rusting away the rest of the year.

      Like 2
    • Steve Clinton

      For the best movie with hearses, watch ‘Harold and Maude’.

      Like 6
      • Ignatius J. Reilly

        Always thought driving around in a hearse would be cool…until “Dumb and Dumber To” came out.

        Like 1
    • Riviera

      “so where DO all the old hearses go?”
      In the 70’s when I was entering demo Derby’s at the Minnesota area County Fairs a well to do farmer entered a 55 Cadillac. Big Dagmar’s. A lot of people tried to buy it before the Derby. Wouldn’t sell it. Trashed and crushed. Didn’t win either.

      Like 2
    • Gary

      Howard, you are right as usual. A sick obsession. You would think people would have more respect for others who may be getting over a recent loss. There are plenty of cars/trucks/bikes to lust over, why these? Perhaps the cruelty is the point.

      Like 3
    • Stevieg Member

      I am that morbid person that buys old hearse. I love them & have owned over 20 of them. I was a member of 4 different hearse owner clubs, former president of one of them (Formalderydes Hearse club, based out of West Allis Wisconsin).
      This is pretty much the ultimate hearse to own. I prefer the coach work of Superior, but this would do for me. I also prefer a three way table, versus just an end loader table, but there too, ya can’t be too picky.
      To my frugal mind, this is way too much money for the car presented, but the reality is that if it were pristine, it would be selling for about $50,000 more. So, maybe it is fair. I don’t know.
      Either way, too much money for me. I’m just glad I am not ready to ride in back.

      Like 3
  3. Mike Stephens Staff

    Great write-up Andy! For a final ride, it doesn’t get much better than this. A lot cooler than the eighties Cadillac (and Buick) hearses around Middle Tennessee that are still in use at most funeral homes.

    Like 2
  4. 86_vette_Convertible

    If I was young again and it was a better price, I’d love to have that one. Had a friend that had a mid 50’s hearse back in the late 60’s. That one was the best party vehicle you could hope for. $5 night at the drive in, you could fit a dozen or so people into it.. Having a kegger, you have no idea how much beer, ice and other libations you can carry in it. I think it only cost him a couple hundred $$ back then and it was in very good mechanical condition, boy have they gone up in value!

    Like 9
  5. Darren

    It is a desired Hearse for sure but still needs a bunch of work ! At that price with the work it needs will be for sale for a while.

    Most of the vintage hearses are in private collectors garages. I have 6 currently. 2 1960’s, 2 1962’s, a 1973 and a 1986.

    The Professional Car Society is a group of people who collect, restore and preserve Hearses, Ambulances, Flower Cars and Limousines. These are for the most part 100 percent original condition cars.

    There are many custom hearse clubs out there as well. Where flames and mag wheels are preferred over stock looking hearses. Some mild to wild customs.

    As a hearse owner and car guy in general with many other old cars, I say make sure your first ride in a hearse isn’t your last ! They are a blast to drive ! …and if you see my hearse a rockin’, don’t come a knockin’ ! There is plenty of room in the back for a good time or even a threesome ! Don’t let that single rider thing fool you !

    Google hearse clubs for a whole days reading and picture overload !

    Like 4
    • Sam Shive

      Had a friend in High School (74) had a 56 Caddie Hearse. We made a Sweet ” COFFIN” In Wood Shop and The Girls Did The VELVET Lining and Pillow In Home Ec. We put a 455 Olds in it. and Painted The Overtaker on the sides. Spent many hours cruising and parking in it. Hell the Middle Of The Day You Could Pull Over In Any Cemetery. GOOD TIMES

      Like 3
  6. Vance

    My Uncle Wayne ( no relation but he offered my Mother 10k if she would name me after him) always drove Buicks. He bought a new 225 and LeSabre every year. He was a big teddy bear of a man and I loved him dearly. He had 3 daughters, so I was his boy by proxy. He always said I will only buy Buicks, and my last ride will be in a Caddy. Unfortunately that came prematurely in 1969, we were on vacation in Florida when my Father got the call. It was the first funeral I had ever been to (I was 6), but my parent’s knew how much I loved him, and I got the chance to say goodbye. Not a dry eye in the entire place, but I remember it vividly. I am still glad my Mother didn’t take the 10k, I really like being Vance and not Wayne.

    Like 6
  7. Chris

    That’s a lot of money that car should be perfect for that much

    Like 5
  8. Deadman Rising

    I have always thought that if I owned a used hearse, I would call it a custom built oversized station wagon or maybe a custom built oversized sedan delivery would be more appropriate. No one would believe me. but I would feel better.

  9. Kurt

    At least throw in a working AC unit to delay the inevitable…

    Like 1
  10. john

    Just for grins and giggles, imagine backing and parking this thing! No right hand rear view mirror, no back up camera, massive blinds spots. I guess, you just back up until you hear noise. . .

    • Howard A Member

      Swing ‘er wide,,,

      Like 3
  11. Edward Skakie

    I smiled at the “The Last Car You’ll Ever Need” line, but my last ride will be in a large Kraft Chunky peanut butter jar. I’m pretty sure I’ve eaten enough in my lifetime to have paid for this Cadi!

    When I was a young man, a lot of HD owners bought used hearses.

    Like 1
    • Howard A Member

      Hi Edward, funny you say that, while I don’t remember many hearses among the H-D set, ( and I grew up in Milwaukee), however, years ago, when H-D’s weren’t as reliable as today, it was imperative someone would drive the “chase van or pickup”, because on any given outing, at least one bike would fail.

      Like 1
  12. Kenn

    Here in Michigan there is a large club of hearse owners. They go to fairs and other events, a big one in Hell. Lots of fun, lots of imaginative “add-ons”! Wish I could afford one for advertising my insurance business.

    Like 2
    • Howard A Member

      Hi Kenn, you’re our language expert here, of sorts, how does a town in Michigan get away with a name like “Hell”? That’s the best they could come up with? Always wondered that,,,

    • Stevieg Member

      Kenn, these can be bought cheap (maybe not a 1959), if you know where to look.
      Last year, I picked up a 1996 Fleetwood Brougham hearse for $900.00. That is cheaper than most, usually you can find ones like that one for about $4,000-5,000, sometimes a little less.
      I had some guy at a gas station walk up & offer me $3,000 for that one, & I walked home. Buy they can be found pretty cheap.

  13. Larry Member

    I just sold my 1929 Ford Model A Hearse and I miss it already. I would love to have this car but cash wise it is out of my range

  14. Frank of Eden

    I also owned a Cadillac Hearse, looked a little like this one, but 1958. Mine was built by Superior Coaches. My wife would not let me bring it home, so I ended up storing it on various friends farms. So obviously it got moved around a lot, as the host farm got tired of seeing a hearse hanging around. Ha ha.

    Of course the Jaycees used it each year for their haunted house project, and I had to go through getting it started and road worthy every October for only about a month’s use on the road. First two years it was a lot of fun.

    After 4 or so years the whole thing got very tiresome and one day I was sitting in a gas station, while trying to get it back into storage at some local farm, in a fit of desperation, I exclaimed in a loud voice that I was so tired of dealing with it that if someone offered me $75 bucks it would be theirs.

    A young fellow walked over and asked… if I really meant that? I thought for a second and said YES! He said he had the money with him now if I really wanted to sell it. Then he said that he felt like he was stealing it… for only that amount. Told him not to think another thing about that, I would go home and get the title and be right back. He got a hearse, I got $75 bucks and got rid of my problem. My wife was happy.

    I saw it weeks later in Danville VA sitting in a repair shop with it’s hood up. I was so glad it no longer belonged to me.

    Like 2
  15. Dwcisme

    A guy at the high school I attended always showed up in an interesting selection of vehicles. Old fire trucks, army trucks and an assortment of hearses. His family owned a wrecking yard and they got a lot of machinery that otherwise had no market. I’m guessing a lot of old “last ride” cars were scrapped because their mechanicals were worth more than the car as a whole.

  16. Vance

    There is also a Climax, Michigan, I could of swore it was exit 69, but I was mistaken.

  17. Kenn

    Also a Paradise, Michigan in the great Upper Peninsula. There’s also Alaska and Atlanta. And Paris. Plus you can drive south out of Michigan into Canada. I’ve won a few bets on that one.

    • CATHOUSE

      Here in PA you go through Blue Ball to get to Intercourse and then onto Paradise.

      Like 1

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