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JamesR

Lack of 50's and 60's Lincoln hearses

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I brought this up on the Pierce Arrow hearse thread, but didn't want to hijack it so I started another thread. A basic google image search brought up no Lincoln hearses from the 50's or 60's, other than a couple of one off customs that don't look quite right. There are some Lincoln hearses in the 70's, and lots of them after that, but don't see any regularly produced vehicles from 1950 -1970. I even see Chevy and Plymouth hearses but no Lincolns, which seems contrary to what you'd think. Maybe Lincoln didn't provide cars in an affordable configuration that companies could modify into hearses. Anyway, here's a Hemmings CC article that makes reference to the lack of 50's-60's Lincoln hearses. It features a tastefully modified '56 that suggests Lincolns could've  worked well for that purpose, at least visually.

 

https://www.hemmings.com/blog/article/no-plywood-allowed-1956-lincoln/

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Not just the fifties and sixties. When Henry Ford died in 1947 they tried to get a Lincoln hearse but none could be found, they had to settle for a Packard. Apparently he wouldn't be seen dead in a Cadillac.

 

Were there Lincoln hearses in the twenties and thirties? I don't know, maybe the hearse experts know of some?

 

Those odd looking hearses may be conversions made from stock cars in Japan or Europe. They often bought used American cars cheap, and had the conversion done by a local body shop. Mainly because the American chassis were big enough and powerful enough to carry the weight, and because they are a drug on the market when they get a few years old and can be bought cheap.

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When they went to unibody in 1958 they became difficult to convert.  That's not to say it wasn't done.  There still exists a '59 Flower Car (Google it and you will find photos) and it was part of a trio ordered by the same funeral home that included a matching hearse and a non-Hess & Eisenhardt limo, possibly a lengthened one, but the whereabouts of those two cars are unknown today and they likely haven't survived.  I've seen a couple of other era photos of a '59 ambulance conversion.  So, it was done, but nowhere near as many as other makes.  I would think cutting into the taillight panel and making new accommodations for the gas tank filler are just the tip of the iceberg of the problems involved in converting one.  Find a shot of the back of the Flower Car and you will see how odd it looks after they got done hacking on it.      

 

 

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I knew the gentleman who owned the '59 Lincoln flower car; he was a long-time Lincoln enthusiast & had owned it for decades, showing it locally early on. I talked briefly with the son about buying it after the owner passed, but it was outside my budget. In my opinion -and I'm not a particular fan of the '58-60 Lincs- it looked quite cohesive, stylistically, tho I prefer 'Western', or low-deck flower cars.

The book 'Professional Cars; Ambulances, Hearses & Flower Cars' shows a singular '49 Lincoln hearse and points out that '49 was the first year since '32 that Lincoln was NOT exclusively a V-12. Prior to that, Edsel Ford was conveyed in his funeral in '43 in a '37-40 Lincoln hearse, and one built in 1930. AFTER the '49, a Lincoln hearse doesn't show up (via the book) until 1978, in response to the downsized '77 Cadillacs.

b6c1b5faea8bfd87adfae73166757705.jpg

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Posted (edited)

That's the car!  The former owner was indeed a gentleman and in 2004 when I made a trip just to his place just to see it he was very good to spend time with me and give a thorough tour of his collection after cold-calling him from the club directory.  He is who told me about the sibling hearse and limo, that they were listed for sale in the same ad, but by the time he made contact they had already been sold.

 

 

 

 

Edited by W_Higgins (see edit history)

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I always enjoyed hanging out with C. Tho he was retired, he still went to the shop 6 days a week and puttered with his current projects. I met him once in the mid-late 80s, then just cold-called on him in the early '00s. We hit it off well, and yes; he had a very interesting collection. Bought a number of parts from the yard out back for my one car ('59 Buick). I really wanted to score that flower car- it was the highlight for me.

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I don't know where you landed on the list, but when I mentioned to him that I'd appreciate knowing if he ever decided to sell it, he told me something to the effect, "You've got about 200 people in line ahead of you."!

 

 

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I don't know ;) I wanted to buy the aluminum headed flattie he had on the stand, he didn't want to let that go.

Across Rear from Left for HAMB.jpg

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Lincoln hearse of the 1920s - yes go look at the movie "Some Like It Hot" with Jack Lemon , George Raft,  Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe. Scene at the beginning of the movie. Wonder where that car is now? Seeing that on the big movie screen was another  inspiration for me as a kid to want to own an old car of that era. A few years later at age 13 that dream came true and I bought a 1931 Plymouth sedan.

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Unlike Cadillac and Packard, Lincoln did not offer a commercial chassis for coachbuilders. After Cadillac discontinued its commercial chassis in 1984, regular sedans had to be purchased and converted. So there was no longer any advantage to using a Cadillac, and Lincolns began being used more regularly. 

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I remember the double take I did the first time I saw one of these. They are 20 years old now.

image.thumb.png.4294ea6e97aff5c004032aa85c05a9cf.png

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