Classic DREAMCARS Mount Dora, Fla. (352) 385-1945 www.classicdreamcars.com\

             

            

  

         

       

SHOWN AT 'THE VILLAGES' CAR SHOW. FROM OUR MUSEUM COLLECTION: ORIGINAL SUPERIOR HEARSE BROCHURES

(CLICK TO ENLARGE)

SORRY, THIS COACH SOLD IMMEDIATELY WITH 3 BACK-UP BUYERS !

  1978 CADILLAC SUPERIOR SOVEREIGN VINTAGE "SIDE-LOADER" HEARSE 

'ANTIQUE' HEARSE, CELEBRATING IT'S 34TH ANNIVERSARY, THE 1978 CADILLAC NOW OFFICIALLY TAKES IT'S PLACE IN AUTOMOBILE HISTORY AS A REAL "ANTIQUE" CAR WITH THIS NEW MODEL YEAR INTRODUCTION. ONE OF THE HARDEST ASSIGNMENTS YOU'LL EVER UNDERTAKE IS SEARCHING FOR A 30 YR.OLD OR OLDER "MINT" HEARSE. IT TOOK ME TWO YEARS OF DILIGENT SEARCHING TO LOCATE THIS CAR. I HAVE JUST RECENTLY REPLACED IT WITH AN OLDER HEARSE WITH ULTRA-LOW MILES. MOST OF THESE, FROM THIS TIME FRAME, ARE RELEGATED TO THE JUNKYARD WITH HIGH MILEAGE. FINDING ONE "MINT" WAS ONE-TOUGH-JOB! TURNS OUT: 1978 WAS A RECORD YEAR FOR CADILLAC PRODUCTION, IT MARKED THE THIRD YEAR IN A ROW THAT CADILLAC MOTOR CARS ACHIEVED SUPERIOR SALES (NO PUN INTENDED). THERE'S GOOD REASON IN THIS OWNER'S EYES, IT WAS ONE OF THE 'BEST AMERICAN CARS' I EVER OWNED'. CADILLAC PASSENGER CARS SALES WOULD REACH 349,684 UNITS (THE 2ND HIGHEST TOTAL FOR CADILLAC EVER). THEREFORE, EVEN MORE REASON THE HISTORY OF THESE HAND-BUILT, CUSTOM MADE HEARSES IS MADE CLEAR. BETWEEN THE TOP THREE COACH BUILDERS: MILLER METEOR, S&S (AKA: HESS AND EISENHART) AND THE COVETED SUPERIOR, ONLY 852 COACHES TOTAL WERE BUILT IN 1978 ON THE Z90 COMMERCIAL CHASSIS. SUPERIOR COACH BUILDERS ONLY BUILT 276 CARS EXCLUSIVELY ON THIS CADILLAC CHASSIS.. OUR CAR IS ONE OF ONLY 29 '3-WAY' SIDE LOADERS. ONE OF THE REASON'S FOR THE LIMITED BUILD WAS THAT THE DRAMATIC INCREASE IN COST OTHER CARS !! ( EXAMPLE IN 1976 COACHES WERE RUNNING $16,000. BY 1977-78 THEY HAD JUMPED TO $30-32,000.

OUR CARS IS PAINTED METALLIC "FIREMIST PEWTER" WITH THE OPTIONAL "MULBERRY" BROCADE INTERIOR (IN MINT CONDITION) AND BLACK ELK GRAIN VINYL COACH TOP.. PLUS, IT HAS THE 3-WAY CASKET TABLE...A VERY EXPENSIVE HENCE, SELDOM ORDERED, OPTION IN 1978. IT IS LOADED AND ADDITIONALLY OPTIONED WITH THE "BROUGHAM D'ELEGANCE BROCADE PACKAGE" ($938 NEW), FACTORY 4 SEASON AIR CONDITIONING (NON-FUNCTIONAL), POWER SIX-WAY SEATS (BOTH SIDES), POWER WINDOWS, LIT VANITY MIRROR, CHROME ACCENT PACKAGE, RADIO DELETE, DOOR EDGE GUARDS, ELECTRONIC SELF-LEVELING, CONTROL, AUTOMATIC ILLUMINATED ENTRY, POWER STEERING, NEW SWAG DRAPERIES, AND DISC BRAKES. EACH SOVEREIGN LANDAULET MODEL CAME STANDARD WITH " DEEP CUSHIONED SPLIT BACK SEATS" WITH CENTER ARMREST, CHROME "TURBO VANE" HUBCAPS W/ CADILLAC CRESTS, STANDARD DRAPERIES, 'SHADED' WINDSHIELD / WINDOWS, TINTED GLASS, PERMANENT SET GLASS IN REAR WINDOWS, SPARE TIRE UNDER FLOOR, RIGHT HAND CHURCH TRUCK DOOR- WITH REAR SERVICE, DOME LIGHTS (FRONT & BACK DOOR ONLY), MANUAL PULL-OUT (ONE-WAY) TABLE, HEAVY DUTY FRESH AIR AND HEAT SYSTEM, CARPETED FRONT COMPARTMENT, CHOICE OF CADILLAC COLORS, DUAL PADDED SUN VISORS, UNDERCOATING, "MAJOR JIG CONSTRUCTION" WITH ONE-PIECE STEEL ROOF. THIS CAR OFFERED THE FUNERAL PEOPLE THE CAPABILITY OF LOADING / UNLOADING CURBSIDE EITHER SIDE OF THE COACH OR , LIKE ALL OTHER HEARSES, AT THE REAR.THIS CAR WOULD HAVE COST AND INCREDIBLE $32,424.26 ( REFERENCE: A NEW CADILLAC COUPE DeVILLE WAS ONLY $10,484). IT CARRIES MILEAGE OF ONLY 45,309 MILES. THIS COACH SOLD IMMEDIATELY

THIS COACH WAS DELIVERED NEW TO GORDAN KINZER AT RESTLAWN MEMORIAL FUNERAL HOME AND CEMETERY IN MAY 1978. A FEW YEARS LATER THE OWNER WAS PERMENTLY RETIRED BY HIS STEP-SON AND THE MORTUARY WAS PURCHASED AND BECAME COEUR D' ALENE MEMORIAL GARDENS. AT THAT POINT THE CAR , "PAINTED IN THE FLEET COLORS" CARRIED THE PREVIOUS OWNERS NAME WAS RETIRED . THE BUSINESS WAS THEN PURCHASED BY CARRIAGE SERVICES INC. AND ALL THE CARS WERE LIQUIDATED. THE FUNERAL HOME WAS THEN SOLD TO BRUCE ENGLISH & DEXTER YATES WHO NAMED IT MEMORIAL GARDENS FUNERAL HOME. THIS CAR WAS THEN SOLD PRIVATELY TO CARL MOORE. A UNIQUE STORY: HE WAS A LITTLE OLD CHARACTER FROM LEWISTON. HE KEPT THE SECRET OF HIS OWNERSHIP OF THIS CAR FROM HIS WIFE FOR OVER 10 YEARS. HIDING IT IN AN OFF-SITE STORAGE UNIT. IN FACT, HIS WIFE NEVER EVEN KNEW THE CAR EXISTED UNTIL HE DIED AND THE STORAGE FACILITY CALLED TO SAY "HIS 10-YEAR-PAID-IN-ADVANCE- STORAGE AGREEMENT HAD EXPIRED" AND..."SHE NEEDED TO RENEW IT OR PICK UP THE CAR". AT THAT POINT, WE WERE TOLD ABOUT THE CAR & IMMEDIATELY BOUGHT IT..... AS IT IS FROM AN AREA THAT DOES NOT SEE RUST, A COMMON PROBLEM ON THESE OLD COACHES.

CADILLAC POWERED THIS 20 FOOT LONG CRUISERS WITH A 425 CUBIC INCH (7.0 LITRE-320 LBS. TORQUE) V8 FITTED WITH HEI ELECTRONIC IGNITION AND CARTER CARBURETION COUPLED TO A SUPER RELIABLE 3-SPEED TURBOGLIDE AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION, 80 AMP ALTERNATOR AND OVERSIZED COOLING PACKAGE. IT CARRIES THE TRADITIONAL WHITEWALL RADIAL TIRES. WE EVEN POLISHED THE "TURBINE STYLE" ORIGINAL WHEEL COVERS. IT IS COMPLETE WITH IDAHO TITLE AND EVEN THE DEATH CERTIFICATE OF THE LAST OWNER (CARL MOORE). JUST COMPLETELY TUNED /NEW BELTS, BRAKES AND MORE.

*THIS VEHICLE FOR SALE DOES NOT INCLUDE ANY PERSONAL ITEMS SUCH AS: SIGNAGE, THE ORIGINAL BROCHURE, FENDER FLAG, OR FRONT / REAR LIC. TAGS, PERSONAL EQUIP.

THE STORY:

This is a year that certain events and names will trigger your memory like an Acid Flashback. Great Movies abounded like : National Lampoon's "Animal House", Gary Busey 's 'spot-on' interpretation of "The Buddy Holly Story", Cheech and Chong's hilarious "Up In Smoke", John Carpenter's Direction of "Halloween" and John Travolta / Olivia Newton John unforgettable performance in "Grease". The First Legal Gambling Casino would flourish outside Nevada in Atlantic City, New Joisey, Monster Hits like "Mork & Mindy" would hit the TV screen. Ricardo Monteban's "Chrysler Cordoba Corinthian Leather" TV Ads' would be unforgettable as The Midget on "Fantasy Island" M(" Boss, da plane, da plane"), Don Knott's would crack us up on "Three's Company" (until Suzanne Somers left the show over $$money), one would get a woodie over Farrah Fawcet's Poster or her 'jiggling tits' on "Charlie's Angels" and 'The Fonz' would make you recall High School 'Greasers' on "Happy Days". Atari would take the Market by Storm hooking Video Games to your TV, Gap-Toothed Michael Spinks would kick Muhammad Ali's butt and win the Heavy Weight Championship, while 911 people would commit Mass Suicide at The People's Temple Commune in Guyana under the direction of Rev. (?) Jim Jones. But, Most importantly; DISCO FEVER would have you buying your very own Mirror Ball so, you could practice Lounge Lizard Dancing in your Living Room. It was the "Year of "The Village People"....... It was 1978 !

  THE HEARSE STORY: 

By the end of the Year pretty much, every other Hearse Manufacturer in the United States was driven out of business. Only THREE Top Notch Coach builders remained in the Lead. Miller & Meteor, S & S ( soon to become Hess & Eisenhart) and the old mainstay : Superior. Beginning with 1977 production, cars were downsized. Funeral Director's Nationwide at first resisted buying the new Smaller Chassis' but, eventually the 'dated look' and poor gas mileage of the Big '75-'76 Cadillac Beomoth's changed their minds. Plus, the days of each Coach Builder offering 8 Different Models were gone. Even the Leader: Superior Coach Builders, reduced their stable down to Five Different Body Styles.. The Limousine-Style (windowed) Hearse would become extinct as relatively very few were even built after 1976. S & S (Sayers & Scovill) pared down to only ONE Model , the S & S "End-Loader" Victorian Landau. In fact, they didn't even offer a 3-way Side Loader in the Line-Up. It's now part of recorded history that each of these 3 Manufacturers only built 10 Ambulances each in 1978. The biggest reason was new Federal Mandates dictated that the KKK Model Ambulance Production would be relegated to the 'new' Modular Units still seen in use today. A Hearse could no longer serve as an Ambulance.... and vice versa. "Times Were A Changin'". Therefore, all of these factors contribute to the collectibility and desirability of this singular Hearse:

1. Super Rare 3-Way Side Loader
2. Ultra-Low Production
3. One of The Most Respected -Longest Lasting Hearse Builders
4.
Low-Mileage/ 4-Owner Vehicle
5.
Rust-Free
6.
Now "Shorter" Collectible Wheel Base w/ Better Economy
7.
Fully Equipped Loaded w/ Options
8.
Great Background History
9.
Now enters the realm of a Historic 30 Yr.Old Professional Car Still Good for 'Custom' Funeral Service OR other use.
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To reiterate: As far as Professional Funeral Cars the Seventies would go down in History as The Turbulent Years. The Decade started out promising enough but, for the very first time this highly specialized Industry would suffer a major setback by new Vehicle Safety Standards and Federal Economy Rules. It sent them reeling. Before the end of the decade, each manufacturer would be forced into downsizing his product and eliminating their backbone vehicle: the lucrative 'Combination Coaches' (Hearse+Ambulance) and the SWB singular Ambulance completely from their Sales Rosters. As the decade began it was dominated by Two Heavy weights: The Superior Division of Sheller-Globe and Miller-Meteor , a division of  Wayne Corporation (known for their less conservative versions). At the end of the catfight, Superior was the clear victor.. M & M built it's last flower car in 1970 and S & S their last Florentine Flower car by 1971. Superior continued to build their Flower Car Coupes through 1976. The Last of The Big Hearses would be seen in 1976. Because of the Mid-east Oil Scare, the Big Commercial Chassis, 500 cubic inch Coach would fade into the Sunset. There were many Funeral Directors who rushed to buy "the Last of the Big Coaches" only to regret it later when the Fuel Crisis hit and they got their first gas bill. The 'new' Cadillac Chassis was shortened 13 to 14 inches down to a 157" wheelbase. Though some initially called them "knee-knockers' they eventually gained tremendous respect for outstanding drivability and economy.

Humorously, the Rule of "Less For More" applied , the new Coaches dramatically increased in price which didn't help their popularity. Eventually, all hearses would be built on the smaller chassis and Cadillac would convert to the tire-eating Front Wheel Drive which 'pulled' the load , as opposed to 'pushing' the load. All the more reason ( which would be #9 above) ...it insured the collectibility of these GREAT Rear Wheel Drive Units. Hopefully, after reading all this, you can relate to what an important part these Great Old Hearses play in our American Automobile History. These Great Old Cars have been ignored by some for years and are just now being recognized for their extreme collectibility. Many 'with-it' Funeral Directors are getting calls for Classic Vintage Hearses to be used during Services as the 'client' was a Classic Car Lover. I hope I have entertained you, as well as, enlightened you.