The body for this hearse was built in Australia on an imported LaSalle commercial chassis (wheel base 160 3/8" and overall length 237 7/8"). Because most of the body builders at the time learnt their trade in the old country, the style was based on the English tradition of having the long glass sides, with the coffin on view. This is still the preferred way here in Australia, as opposed to in the USA where the casket is not fully visible due to their predominantly landau style of hearses.
Stuart and Marie have begun restoration of this awesome vehicle which is complete with original ornate brasswork, and we certainly look forward to seeing it when completed! Below, Stuart's own story:
Why a hearse?
All comments contained herein are from a hearse owner who has never even driven the vehicle, so his comments must surely be questionable. Be that as it mayÖ
1) Sheer Size and "Presence". A Cadillac owner loves the size of their steed, but a Cadillac Hearse, at around 6.5 metres in length, is so big that even snide suggestions about male anatomical substitutions seem absurd.
2) Transit Lanes. What police officer is going to have the belief in his occupation to ask you to "lift the lid" on the box when he suspects that you and your spouse are wrongfully occupying a T3 lane ?
3) Camping. Once you can get your head around the fact that hundreds, maybe thousands of the dearly departed have occupied the place of your own slumber before you, you can enjoy a "sleep of the dead" whilst the others are still messing around with tents and swags in the dust.
4) Nick Names. Be a "Pine Box Pickup Pilot"! Drive a "Body Bus" a "Corpse Caddy" a "Meat Wagon" or even a "Dead Mans Camper" !
Finally, while drivers of the big-winged late 50ís Cadillacs may protest, the subversive and utter outrageousness of the hearse is just too hard to surpass.
Sure, it possesses a beauty which only a parent (owner?) can usually see, but when youíve seen a few they really can be appealing. Honest! Anyone attending the car show at Hanging Rock in Victoria can see some fine examples. Watch out for Graeme Lemins 1960 Chrysler Royal. Itís one of four in his collection which at one stage amounted to six.