ROBERTWILLIAM

1968 Cadillac Hearse

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Same year but not quite as opulent as the first one I drove. Terrible drivers seat, tremendous engine.

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Actually not a hearse but a "Combination car".  The interior can carry either a casket OR a gurney. 

 

The panels in the floor flip over reveling either a smooth surface for a cot or rollers for a casket. 

It also has both a bar on the left side to hold the cot and holes in the floor to secure the bier pins to hold the casket. 

There are also two jump seats to accommodate attendants. The siren was under the hood and the (generally) single red light on the roof could be attached/removed with a big wing nut. 

 

These could be used as an ambulance (generally to bring people home from the hospital or to a convalescent home, not 911 emergency work) or more commonly to transport a non-casketed body such as when making a removal from a hospital or residence. 

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That is actually in very nice shape for its age and I would be surprised if a professional car collector doesn't snap it up. The full windows also make it more attractive for someone looking to convert it into a party or gag vehicle. Hearses seem to be either ridiculously under or overpriced, I have always had a guilty desire to own one but have never had the storage space for such giant vehicles. The older ones are also crazy heavy to the point that special running gear, wheels and tires are needed to safely drive them.

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Posted (edited)

As the former owner of a 1974 Cadillac Miller Meteor hearse in college, I will say that there are few better ways to attract attention in a small college town. It was awesome at Halloween and for tailgating at football games (the slab would roll out so we had a 5-foot-long table). It was also huge inside so we bought a cheap couch and recliner, along with a coffee table whose legs we cut down about two inches, and had a mobile living room. With the chandelier-style lights on the sides of the blank side panels inside, it was actually fairly sumptuous and for road trips, my buddies claimed riding in the living room was awesome. Not so great in the winter since heat didn't get back there very well, but not awful. It just shrugged off anything we put in there, I seem to recall it had a 3/4-ton truck axle and springs under it. I don't remember needing extra heavy-duty tires, though--just standard 235/75/15 whitewall radials. It had a ferocious lifter tick in the 472, but otherwise seemed bulletproof reliable and I probably put 30,000 miles on it in two years of commuting back and forth to school for holidays. It could also carry six or seven people, so I'd charge $20/head for a ride home at Christmas or Thanksgiving, which at least paid for the gas (8 MPG at best). I think it probably had 4.10 gears, so it wasn't happy going much more than 60-65 but the ride was plenty comfortable and from the driver's seat it more or less felt like a Cadillac, although there was enough headroom for Abe Lincoln AND his hat.

 

I recall that a fraternity brother was injured during a hockey game, so we threw him in the back of the hearse, turned on the flashing lights, and ran all the red lights to the hospital. When we came screeching into the parking lot, a sleepy-looking orderly wandered out and asked, "Dropping off or picking up?" THAT was funny.

 

The downside is that it was impossible to sell when I was done with it two years later--who actually wants such a thing? I eventually just gave it to a guy I knew from high school who lost it when he accumulated too many parking tickets.

 

 

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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