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In the Garage: 1960 Cadillac Superior hearse
THE CAR AND ITS OWNERS
1960 Cadillac Superior hearse owned by Alan Stewart
WHAT MAKES IT INTERESTING
A small, but growing number of collectors devote themselves to “professional cars,” the official name for hearses, ambulances and other, similar custom-bodied work vehicles. This past January, the 1964 Cadillac hearse that transported President John F. Kennedy’s body to Air Force One in Dallas crossed the auction block at $160,000.
“There are several hearse clubs alone in Long Island that have several hundred members,” says Stewart. “Cadillac didn't actually make hearses. Cadillac produced a commercial chassis that was also used for the limousine. Several coach companies would purchase it from Cadillac and the rest of the hearse body was built by either Superior Coach Company (now known as Superior Coaches) or Miller-Meteor, which also built ambulances.”
HOW LONG HE’S OWNED IT
Stewart bought the hearse this year. “The reason I purchased this rare oddity is that I own another home in upstate New York and have built a ‘haunted house’ in the basement,” he says.
WHERE HE FOUND IT
He bought it from a friend, who found it in Brooklyn.
Stewart’s Cadillac is unrestored, although it now sports different wheel covers and carpeting over the rear casket rollers. Inside, he’s created a miniature haunted house. “The chassis is 100% solid, and the motor has been kept up to specs and runs beautifully,” he says. “I have left the body in its present condition, but for the purpose I need it for, it would be a waste to do the body work. Everybody call it the ‘Munster Mobile’ and the majority of onlookers say, ‘Leave the body alone.’”
TIPS FOR OWNERS
“If you see something you want, especially a different kind of vehicle like this, buy it,” Stewart advises.
Stewart has insured the Cadillac for $30,000.
THE BOTTOM LINE
“The hearse is an extension of my ‘haunted house,’” he says. “Halloween is my favorite holiday and I invite the neighborhood and friends to come see the display.”