DREAMCARS Mount Dora, Fla. (352) 385-1945
AT 'THE VILLAGES' CAR SHOW. FROM OUR MUSEUM COLLECTION: ORIGINAL
SUPERIOR HEARSE BROCHURES
(CLICK TO ENLARGE)
THIS COACH SOLD IMMEDIATELY WITH 3 BACK-UP BUYERS !
CADILLAC SUPERIOR SOVEREIGN VINTAGE "SIDE-LOADER" 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"
OUT: 1978 WAS A RECORD YEAR FOR CADILLAC PRODUCTION, IT MARKED
THE THIRD YEAR IN A ROW THAT CADILLAC MOTOR CARS ACHIEVED
SALES (NO PUN INTENDED). THERE'S GOOD REASON IN THIS OWNER'S
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
BUILT IN 1978 ON THE Z90 COMMERCIAL CHASSIS.
SUPERIOR COACH BUILDERS
ONLY BUILT 276 CARS EXCLUSIVELY ON THIS CADILLAC
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
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
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),
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
THIS COACH WAS DELIVERED
NEW TO GORDAN KINZER AT
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
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
NOT SEE RUST, A COMMON PROBLEM ON THESE OLD COACHES.
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.
This is a year that
certain events and names will trigger your memory like an
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"
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
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
Funeral Director's Nationwide at first resisted
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
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
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.
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
One of The
Most Respected -Longest Lasting Hearse Builders
4. Low-Mileage/ 4-Owner Vehicle
"Shorter" Collectible Wheel Base w/ Better Economy
7. Fully Equipped Loaded w/ Options
8. Great Background History
enters the realm of a Historic 30 Yr.Old Professional Car
Good for 'Custom' Funeral Service OR other use.
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
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.
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