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Vintage Hearses, Funeral Coaches and Flower Cars On Main Street Anywhere: A Pictorial


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I did seem to find a thread about the service vehicles used in the funeral business. This may be too grim from folks but there were some really neat looking vehicles used. I'd love to own one personally but my wife would never allow it. I used XP-300 thread as an inspiration for the thread and title. Let's see if we can keep this thread "alive".

1914+Cadillac+Hearse.jpg

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This was from an earlier post by Matt Hinson. I'm not sure of the make

MCHinson

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[h=2]Re: Someone on here is looking for a hearse.[/h]

While we are talking about Hearses, I guess I should post a photo of an interesting one.

I am not really looking to buy another Hearse, but I really like this one.

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Thanks Dave, That one is a fairly early Model T Ford hearse. I knew that I had posted it here previously and was thinking of posting it in this thread. I spent a few minutes looking on my computer for my photos of that hearse last night, but gave up before I found it. I did not think to search for my older post of it... Somewhere I have some photos of my first car, a 1961 Cadillac Miller-Meteor Hearse. I need to find some of those and scan them...

Edited by MCHinson (see edit history)
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Flower wagons were/are a coastal thing, as I understand it. I don't believe that the middle of the country was home to many of them, at all, but I could be wrong. Maybe Chicago or St Louis had some, I don't know. I wonder if someone would take the time to explain how exactly there were used. Forgive me if my questions are a little naive, but I've only ever seen them in movies. I thought that all of these were for hauling flowers in he procession, until I saw an actual coffin surrounded by flowers in the back of one of them in a movie. (one of the Godfather movies?) Were some of them built to specifically convey the coffin in the open air and not to carry the flowers? Were these dual duty? I'm not sure that I completely understand the aluminum (?) cover over the rear. Was this just to give a finished look, or was something relevant concealed under there?

Edited by Hudsy Wudsy (see edit history)
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The photo above posted by Bleach of the Chrysler and Hudsons in NZ shows the cars with licence plates for the year June 1927 to June 1928 as indicated by the star in the middle of the numbers.The middle symbol changed each year making it possible to determine the era .So the photo would have been taken then.

I have enhanced in my photo programme for clarity.

post-76051-143141817514_thumb.jpg

Edited by stephen48
Typo (see edit history)
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Bottom left pic is a 1958 Eureka Flower Car we restored a few years ago. 1 of 4 built. It was shown in AACA and achieved a Senior. Flower cars were more an urban upscale thing. Most could carry a standard casket or flowers or both. This particular car has a deck that lowers hydraulically to transport flowers or it can carry a casket under the deck. The "aluminum" is actually brushed stainless, inside and out. The "bustle" on the back is meant to imitate a folded down touring car top. Flower cars evolved into specialty vehicles from touring cars that were used to transport flowers. The only evidence of their touring car heritage is this 'bustle" which still appears on the few flower cars produced in recent years.

Here are a few.
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As much as I admire all of the intricate cast and carved embellishments on these, I really have to applaud the sheet metal benders who crafted that beautiful roof on this '56:

184932d1364432240-vintage-hearses-funeral-coaches-flower-cars-image.jpg

Got to Say I love this thread so far. Lots of carved panel hearses! There was a 53 flower car similar to this one in an ohio auto/rv freebie a while back for $1300 I got beat to it. It was blue with flames and lowered a little bit but otherwise just neglected and original. I really wish I could have nabbed that one!

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Bottom left pic is a 1958 Eureka Flower Car we restored a few years ago. 1 of 4 built. It was shown in AACA and achieved a Senior. Flower cars were more an urban upscale thing. Most could carry a standard casket or flowers or both. This particular car has a deck that lowers hydraulically to transport flowers or it can carry a casket under the deck. The "aluminum" is actually brushed stainless, inside and out. The "bustle" on the back is meant to imitate a folded down touring car top. Flower cars evolved into specialty vehicles from touring cars that were used to transport flowers. The only evidence of their touring car heritage is this 'bustle" which still appears on the few flower cars produced in recent years.

Thank so much for your response to my questions. I understand their purpose much better now. Of course their rear decks were stainless, aluminum would have been a poor choice, for sure. I always wondered if they weren't built to carry the casket under the deck, but was afraid to speculate. Now I see why they continued to have the remnants of "rear doors". This probably gave the option of inserting the casket from the side just like a conventional hearse. I think the first time I saw one of these might have been in the Arlo Guthrie movie "Alice's Restaurant". Wow, how many decades ago was that?

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Not all flower cars carry a casket. Only some are dual purpose.

If you would like to see some vehicles like this in person, the Professional Car Society (for hearses, flower cars, limousines, and car based ambulances) is hosting its Grand Invitational in Milwaukee in August this year. I am helping with this and can answer any questions anyone might have about it.

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I shouldn't be surprised by this, but a Google search for "flower cars" brings up a remarkable assortment of these from the sleek and modern to the hideously baroque and garish. It also brings up a selection of "art cars", mostly VW beetles and such adorned with flowers from bumper to bumper. The flower car I choose to include here is, I believe, an example of the style Restorer32 wrote about. It appears to me that the casket was likely inserted into the back, situated on the platform and then raised to the height in the picture:

731713_312023493778470_Orig.jpg

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Linc400, I can see now that they weren't all dual duty by the differences in the wheelbases. What do you guys imagine the wheelbase is on this one?

procar1.jpg

This style of hearse was popular in South American countries. What does puzzle me is that it looks like it's right hand drive. There are two countries, Guyana and Surniname that still drive on the left. It's possible that it came from one of those countries but it could have come from any other county that drive on the left.

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