Tip Top Shape: 1997 Lincoln Town Car Hearse

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Old hearses and ambulances will pop up from time to time here on Barn Finds and most are tired or used up. Seldom are they in the kind of condition as this ’97 Lincoln conversion presents. So it begs the question, what would you do with it if you bought it? Most of the beat-up ones look like wannabe Halloween decorations, but this example isn’t ready for that dishonor. Located in Billings, Montana, this “final” means of transport is available here on craigslist for $14,950 OBO – 10% of its new replacement cost. Kudos to Pat L. for another great tip!

This hearse conversion was done by Krystal Koach in Brea, California. They may still be in business, though no web domain appears to be associated with the enterprise. Like other conversions of this nature, Krystal probably started with a complete Town Car from Lincoln and cut much of the body off behind the front doors. It’s described as a one-owner vehicle, which means it performed its intended services for at least 25 years for the same party. While most hearses are painted black, one in white like this one would be less depressing for the dearly departed’s family.

The mileage is about 55,000 which makes sense as most of these vehicles only made relatively short hops, although the seller says this one had a few road trips, as well. We’re told it was meticulously maintained and needs nothing to be a daily driver of some sort if the need arises. Under the hood resides a 4.6-liter V8 engine with automatic transmission which we understand is good for 28 mpg at 82 mph.

To circle back around, what would you do with this Lincoln if you had it in your driveway? Use it as a van to haul stuff? Convert it to a camper? Or continue to serve as a modern-day hearse. A smaller funeral home whose pockets aren’t deep might find this a nice acquisition to help keep overhead costs down. The seller says if you ordered one new today, it would set you back about $140,000.

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  1. Kendra KendraMember

    Can I legally drive this in the carpool lane if the passenger
    …doesn’t have a pulse?

    Like 53
    • Evan

      Somebody tried that in Nevada when we got carpool lanes. As it turns out under Nevada law, to qualify as a person in this sense requires breathing, so the hearse driver got the ticket. Likewise, fetuses don’t count, either.

      Like 19
  2. Harvey HarveyMember

    Wish our 97 Crown Victoria got that kind of mileage:-)

    Like 12
    • Pete Phillips

      28 mpg at 82 mph in a 4,500+ pound V8 Lincoln? Somebody is pulling your leg! Maybe downhill all day long, with a tail wind!

      Like 3
  3. Frank F

    Lincoln Breadvan

    Like 6
  4. TheOldRanger

    Oh man, I remember a car who decided to become a chauffeur and he purchased one of these and converted it to a limo. He had more customers than he could keep up with too.

    Like 2
  5. Tony Primo

    I pass a large cemetery on my way to work. I have noticed a number of funeral homes using silver hearses now.

    Like 6
  6. 19sixty5Member

    “28 mpg at 82 mph” Seems like a stretch to me… but I guess you never know.

    Like 15
    • DRW

      My daughter had a 2000 Grand Marquis with this engine and consistently got 26-27 mpg at 75-80 mph. Maybe the stated mileage is a stretch but not a huge one.

      Like 3
  7. Carman

    Apparently, they still are in business, but have exited the hearse market and concentrating on upscale bus and shuttle business.

    Like 4
    • Dan N

      Carman, I remember Krystal being a builder of stretch limos. Today they’re out of fashion because they’re so hard to get into and out of and that’s why they’re focused on building limo vans and limo buses. But the workmanship on this hearse looks impressive, at least from 20 feet away.

      Like 1
  8. Big C

    I was following this years Sick Week, and saw some guy set a record for the fastest hearse in the 1/4 mile. A Caddy with a blown Chevy. Maybe a Ford guy could put the new Godzilla 7.3 in this baby?

    Like 7
  9. Jack M.

    Would be handy to drive to Home Depot to pick up those sheets of drywall.

    Like 17
    • Tony Primo

      Better fuel mileage than a pick up too.

      Like 11
    • Fireman DK

      My thoughts exactly ! I’d drive it : at one time I had the opportunity to buy a 1962 Cadillac Eureka Hearse that had 64,000 miles on it and was very clean… a friend of mine bought it …not sure if he still has it , it was no longer in the condition it was when he bought it , however .

      Like 3
  10. Charley


    Like 12
    • Evan


      Like 16
  11. Mickey d

    Not rich enuf and I’m getting too old , bit if I hit the Lotto, I would refresh the exterior (even with a Pearl white) refresh the engine, duals and Flow master exhaust, and a sound system ” loud enough to wake the dead” and have a blast.

    Like 9
  12. Robert Levins

    I’d be an Uber driver with it. Take you on your last ride. Yep, an Uber hearse driver, no worries about complaints from disgruntled customers, and – you’re never in a hurry. Well, just kidding with you. If I bought it I would probably covert it to a luxury station wagon. Nice big bay windows and BROUGHAM interior, pillow tufted of course. Best of luck, this Lincoln hearse has potential. Nice article.

    Like 11
  13. Clarke Morris

    I would definitely redo it into a family station wagon, two captain’s chairs in second row and a big bench seat in the back, maybe facing the back.

    Like 3
    • WC Shook

      You and others, who think this way, need to check out the construction of a hearse. It just might be a bigger headache, take more time and money and other things, to make it happen. Not all that simple once you get into it.

      Like 1
  14. TheOldRanger

    My first comment didn’t make it for some reason. Several years ago, there was a guy in the DFW area who went into a private limo service (one like this) and he seemed to be doing ok for quite a while… I guess it was the novelty of having an ex-hearse as a limo.

    Like 5
  15. Bill West

    As the owner of a 94 Town Car (not a coach) I can attest to the fuel economy, I have attained over 30 mpg empty and under ideal conditions. Fully loaded with a car top carrier I routinely get 23 mpg. It also delivers 19 mpg in town.

    Like 6
  16. TJM

    I was following a Hearse in traffic on the 101 fwy in Woodland Hills Ca a year or so ago, and noticed the license plate number was C U SOON.

    Like 13
  17. Howie

    What is that weird smell?

    Like 6
  18. Rick M M Rick MMember

    Perfect for the Band! You can fit all the gear in the back and get to the gigs with a smooth ride!

    Like 0
  19. Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac DivaMember

    @ TJM

    Years ago, early 2000s, my husband’s ’72 Jeep Wagoneer had the license plate DEAD 1.
    My ’72 Riviera had the license plate DEAD 2.
    One day my husband was driving my Riviera down the Garden State Pky in NJ and passed a funeral procession. The driver and front seat passenger were laughing and pointing at him after he passed them.

    And on a factoid note……
    Japan uses white for funerals as white is the absence of color.
    Black is a culmination of all color.
    I have a head full of useless information.

    Like 2
  20. wcshook

    Some have taken old/older hearses, made contacts with funeral homes, to use their retired cars, upon request, and if it wasn’t committed for use at the time. While this isn’t an antique hearse, some might be willing to use your hearse because it is a Lincoln Town Car. I know I saw an antique hearse being escorted by motorcycle officers, on I-77 N, several years ago.

    Like 2
  21. Jim

    My younger brother has had two retired hearses over the years, using them as haulers for props and costumes for his local theater troupe, whose main stock in trade was hauntings around Halloween. He’s nearly 6’8″ and stick-thin, so his character is called “Grim”, as in “The Grim Reaper”. Just imagine, if you will, pulling up at a traffic light next to a hearse and noticing that the driver is wearing a black robe with a pointed hood!

    Like 0

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