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

                               

PICTURED AT WINTER PARK CONCOURS

(PLEASE TOUCH MOUSE ON PIX TO ENLARGE)

 

SOLD TO COLLINSVILLE, ILLINOIS . SORRY, FOLKS YOU MISSED 'ONE-OF-EIGHT ' LEFT !!!

   1938 CADILLAC-LASALLE SAYER & SCOVILL "DAMASCUS" CARVED SIDED GOTHIC HEARSE  


This Hearse was used by a Large Funeral Home on the Southern Border of Kentucky and Tennessee and later moved to Washington, Indiana where it's Funeral Director Owner decided it deserved a comprehensive restoration.. We think it is One of a 101* Cadillac-Lasalle Sayers and Scovill (S & S) vehicles built and one of 8 Damascus "Carved Sided" Hearses built" in 1938. As far as we can ascertain by our latest research,
It is One of Only 3 Restored '38's Still Left in Existence Worldwide. It underwent a complete $206,000+ Frame-Off Restoration (with photo documentation) by L & N Old Car Company in Newbury, Ohio several years ago. Upon it's arrival here, we spent two weeks 'sorting it out". It is Very Unusual because it carries All The Options including the larger Factory In-line 90 degree 'L Head' 346 cubic inch Motor / 140 h.p. @ 3,600 rpm ( First time offered '38), with Hydraulic Valves / Carter Carburetor (instead of Stromberg) and the Special Order 3:42 rear. It was built on the 161" Commercial 38-75 Cadillac Chassis and carries the Standard 3-Spd Synchromesh Transmission, Hotchkiss Floating Rear-end, the Optional 'Cathedral' or 'Gothic' fully Carved Side "Damascus" Body..considered the Flagship-of-The-Line. Then look for further options to include Dual Sidemount Tires, 'Flexible' Steering Wheel, Heater / Defroster, Clock, 'Cats-eye' Cigar Lighter, S & S Wheel Discs, Badging and Beauty Rings, Rear Arrow >>>Signal Lights (we added for safety !), 6 Wide Whitewall Tires, the Super Rare (and valuable) "Silent Siren" Purple Service Light, Manually Operated Chrome / Rosewood Appointed 'End-Loader' Casket Table, Deluxe "Bridge-of-Weir Leather Seating, Lockdown Art Deco Hood Ornament, Remote-Column-Mounted Zenith AM Radio Tuner, Solex Safety Glass, Bakelite Suicide Steering Knob, Twin Exterior Mirrors, Chrome "Stone Chapel" Nameplates (not included), and stainless steel 'wind wings'. Our car is finished in Sable Black with Dark Red "Bridge of Weir" Leather and Burgundy Mohair. We added, out of necessity, (or for Character) : Chrome Signal Lights ( not offered until 1940 as standard equipment) Chrome Funeral Wreaths (incl. Tag Frame), Chrome Door Crests, Trippe Funeral Light Bracket w/ 3-Way Art Deco Under dash Switch, Emergency Beacon Light , Hand Carved Wood Angels, and Engraved Nickel Dash Cross. The Seat Fabric in Leather, Walnut / Rosewood Interior, Cut or Beveled Glass Partition, as well as, the (4) Chrome Interior Columns were installed at the factory when delivered new in 1938. Two Scale Model Companies have made models of this Hearse which are on display and included with it.

SOLD -  TO COLLINSVILLE, ILLINOIS

THE STORY

In our never-ending quest to collect something 'unique'...a Super rare "Carved Sided" Hearse is added to our Museum Collection. There are those of you that think the stigma of driving a hearse is way too heavy of a load to bear. But, for others - these 'Professional Cars' are respected and sometimes coveted for their Inherit Low-Mileage, Custom Made Body and Limited Edition Nature. There is a certain 'mystique' associated with these rare vehicles as it is considered a 'Special Niche" collectible. Those that love them usually reason: "What's the fuss? People don't die in Hearses, they die in Ambulances". For whatever reason, the hobby of revering & collecting Hearses has really taken-off over the last 5 years or so. Like any Collectible, the Older, Vintage Coaches are the Most Valuable. The Most Sought after 'Professional Cars' by Collector's are the Eureka or Miller-Meteor 1959 Cadillac's, the Art Deco Panel Sided Hearses by Henney and the 30's "Carved Sided" Cadillac & Lasalle's of the 30's. Those that collect Ambulances, can't be denied, covet the "Ectos 1" Ghostbuster 1959 Cadillac.

Once you're out in the Used Hearse Market you'll find quite a few Big-Box Cadillac's from 1965-1991 priced very reasonably but, these later Coaches are known for rust, electrical problems, difficulty in parking, poor gas mileage and high repairs. No one can explain whether it was the Rise in Popularity of Old Station Wagons ('vintage SUV's ?!) or, the fact that wealthy Funeral Director's, Hobbyists and even "Goth People" have emerged as frequent buyers....but, seeking out & finding a really nice used Hearse is unbelievably difficult ! On the other side of the coin, there are those that are repulsed by the idea of owning a Funeral Coach and 'wouldn't take one if you gave it to them'. We can't help but, find those people laughable. Many of these same folks are the same people that are glued to their Television Sets three nights a week watching the blood & gore of "C.S.I." in three different versions ( " Las Vegas", New York and, the "Miami Vice"-Copy, Colorized Version, "C.S.I. - Miami"). No matter what, "Professional Cars" now have a devout following. It's a new car hobby gaining popularity...so, for those of you that 'shutter' at the thought...you might as well stiffen up and get used to seeing them appear at Car Shows across the Country.

Most Hearses are built on a Limited Build, Commercial Chassis, which is ordered direct from the Manufacturer... with the Front Clip sometimes reffered to as the 'Kit'. Most, are quite expensive new... typically Triple the Price of a New, Loaded Luxury Car. This particular car cost $3,291 new ( remember the average cost of a new car was $860, and a new home was $3900). It was the Flagship of the Line known as the "Damascus Model", built in the Traditional 'Cathedral' or 'Gothic' Style. It' is termed as a 'End-Loader' version. It has a Cut Glass Center Partition with a Manually Operated Casket Table that pulls out 2-3 feet for easy loading-unloading. Some Models even had Side Door Capability with an Automatic Table with up to 3-4 doors for ease of access. The majority of Hearses were built as Combination Hearse / Ambulance for those small towns that, for economic reasons, could not afford two individual cars. When you read any Vehicle Production Book, "the number built" stats, by each manufacturer, will list: : Convertible/ Coupe /Sedan / Wagon...and.... "Other". Hearses normally fall under "other". In fact, many are built on a One-off , Special Factory Built Commercial Chassis.

Once the Astute Funeral Coach Buyer decides THIS is the Classic Car I want, you start your search ( based on personal taste) by choosing from 51 or so of the Top Professional Car Builders. It shouldn't take long to narrow it down to 10 or less. Those, in our opinion, are Sayers and Scovill ( known as "S &S"), Henney (O.O.B. 1954), Eureka (went OOB 1964), A.J.Miller, then Miller- Meteor (merged), Flxible (OOB 1965), Cotner-Bevington, Knightstown, and Superior...just to name a few. One name continues to surface as One of the Top Leaders in Hearse production: Sayers and Scovill. In business in, or near, Cincinnati, Ohio since 1876, they began in business by building Handmade Carriages. They lived up to their promise of "Custom Hand built" and were always known for their Quality and diversity of Model Selection. William Sayer and, young bookkeeper, A.R. Scovill created a partnership that built the First Gas Powered Ambulance (1907) and the First Production Funeral Car (1912). Their company later merged with Superior and Miller-Meteor and they still continue production today under the banner "Accubilt". Our private study of vintage Top Hearse Values show S & S, neck-in-neck with Henney, Eureka and Miller-Meteor for long-term high resale value.

Most Funeral Coaches aren't driven very far. In fact, when you stop and think about it...they are driven from the Funeral Home to the Cemetery and.... for Maintenance ( you normally don't drive to the market in one). Our car carries documented, proven mileage of 33,204 miles (that's only 482 miles per year!). We even have an original Invoice for Funeral Service in 1938 that shows your typical Funeral Home only charged "$10" for the use of the "Funeral Coach". Finally, we should mention 1938 wasn't exactly a banner year for Cadillac-LaSalle production, as it was built during the Great Depression leading up to the War II and Production Figures are vague. What we do know is: Only 15,501 Cadillac-LaSalle's were actually built ( in ALL Models including V16**). The Cadillac-LaSalle Club claims 222 Commercial Chassis' were made. Yet, another source states: only 8* LaSalle's were built on the large "38-75" Commercial Chassis (20' long). Cadillac Data Base states "900" made by all of the Body Builders on the 4 different Commercial Chassis. This would include Cadillac and LaSalle on the 38-50, 38-60, 38-65, and the 38-75 chassis. Another states "101" S &S cars built. So, the exact number may never be known. Our VIN Number does reflect this car would be One of The Very Last S & S Built and One of the Very Last, if not THE very last Lasalle's Built in 1938. We are very proud to say we have taken Best of Show, People's Choice and/or Mayor's Choice every time we have shown her.

WORLD EVENTS OF 1938


This turns out to be an important year for both the Automobile and in History. This was the First Year for Foglamps for Cadillac, the First Year for the 346 c.i. L Head V8 in this chassis, and the First Year Adolph Hitler would start his efforts to occupy Europe by creating The High Command of Armed Forces. Accomplishing this gave him direct control of all Armed Forces ( within a year he invaded Austria, Poland, Bulgaria and Czechoslovakia ). It was also the year Douglas Corrigan pulled off the prank of a non-stop flight to Ireland from New York after being denied a flight plan ( "plane not air worthy"). He was sanctioned to fly to California but, turned his plane in the opposite direction after take-off. This earned him the name "Wrong Way Corrigan". Filming was suppose to begin, and end this year on
"The Wizard of Oz" but, it took an agonizing 18 months to complete. Production would be plagued by a Fire, and an alleged Suicide by a Munchkin on the Movie Set plus; the Aluminum Powder Poisoning of one of the Stars. Margaret Hamilton (The Wicked Witch of The West) is set on fire when the elevator malfunctions as she makes a fiery exit from Munchkinland and she spends 6 weeks recuperating from 2-3rd degree burns in the hospital. It is rumored for Centuries that a lovelorn Munchkin commits suicide, after being rebuffed by a fellow Munchkinette, hanging himself in the backdrop of a set ('Tinman Sequence'). "The Story" circulates for 60 years- but, it is completely untrue. And, the TRUE story that Buddy Ebsen, originally cast as "The Tinman" get's an allergic reaction, from the Aluminum Oxide Powder used for his makeup, and he nearly dies. 'Down for the count' the Studio, in a mad rush to get the film done, permanently replaces him with Jack Haley. Ebsen recovers to later star in many Movies and TV series including "Beverly Hillbillies" and "Barnaby Jones". On a positive note: Beautiful Natalie Wood is born in 1938...but, drowns in 1981 after falling off her yacht, during a night of drinking, with Robert Wagner and Christopher Walken.

Many American's prayed or fled for their lives as Orson Welles broadcast his Halloween Hoax Radio Program on "The Mercury Theater" called "War of The World's". Over 100,000 Inattentive American's actually bought into it . Believing the World was being invaded by Martians with Poison Gas...they literally paniced and 'ran for their lives'. The First Superman Comic was released by Action Comics this year, Instant Coffee was a developed : Nestle's Nescafe, Fiberglas was created by Owens-Corning, and the First Copy Machine was created by Chester Carlson in Queens, New York. 'Singing Kate' Smith was considered "The First Lady of Radio", Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland would steal hearts as America's Too Wholesome Romantic Couple in the film "Love Finds Andy Hardy", and Film Director, Enterpenaur / Multi-Millionaire Howard Hughes would circle his Lockheed Plane over New York's Floyd Bennett Field for 3 days, 19 hours and 17 minutes breaking all current records for Long Term Flight. 71% of all American Household's would have a Radio by the end of the 30's (no Television yet) but, starting in 1932 America would continue to slide into the Big Depression with 30% of all American's jobless. By the end of the 30's, Hearse's were in plentiful use. In affect, it was really America's Resources and Ability to muster Manpower, Industry and Agriculture that pulled this Country out of the Depression and created ' The Machine' that defeated Hitler.

ORIG. BROCH. FOR 'COMMERCIAL CARS' - ORSON WELLES: HOST - CAST PHOTO 'WIZARD OF OZ' - MARGARET HAMILTON: WITCH - BORN '38: NATALIE WOOD: ACTRESS & HOWARD HUGHES

GENERAL MOTORS FACTORY BROCHURE FEATURING THIS CAR

So, in closing you might ask : Why buy a Hearse?? When you are sick and tired of all the usual Muscle Cars Banter and " just want to Drive off into the Sunset"....what better car to do it in than a Hearse !? We guarantee you one thing- it is unique! It causes quite a stir wherever we go and it is always the only one at local car Shows. We are still searching for any mint, original 1961-1962 Cadillac Superior Crown Sovereign Hearses for our  collection so, call us if you spot one in mint condition. You can visit this Old Girl by stopping by the Museum of Speed in Mount Dora-

At The Car Shows, In the Ad's.......

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ORIGINAL PRINT ADS ON THE INTRODUCTION OF THE NEW 1938 'DAMASCUS' HEARSE PLUS, A ORIGINAL INVOICE FOR FUNERAL SERVICES ; CIRCA 1938, OUR "ex-PRINCESS" LOREN W/ THE HEARSE, JUST AFTER OUR ARRIVAL, AT A NORTH FLA. CAR SHOW AND 'ON DISPLAY' AT THE '07 WINTER PARK CONCOURS WHERE THEY COULD NOT FIND A CLASS TO JUDGE IT.

At the Movies.........

 

(Click on Photos to Enlarge)

SEVERAL SCENES FROM THE FILM "BLACK BOOK" BY PAUL VARHOEVEN ( DIRECTOR OF "SUPER COPS", "TOTAL RECALL" AND "BASIC INSTINCT") STARRING CARICE VAN HOUTEN, SEBASTIAN KOCH

 

*Thanks to the Professional Car Society, "Standard Catalog of Cadillac", General Motors: Original Brochure: "Cadillac LaSalle Commercial Cars" 23 pg. catalog: circa 1938, Auto Gallery.com, Snopes.com, Car-Nection.Com , coachbuilt.com and 100megsfree4.com for their help..

NOTE: '101 BUILT" ALSO INCLUDES AMBULANCES, LIMOUSINE STYLE HEARSES AND ONE-OFF CUSTOM SEDANS. ONE OF OUR SOURCES ABOVE SHOWS ONLY 8 MADE : (LISTED AS "8 COMMERCIAL CHASSIS UNITS UNIDENTIFIED") ** ANOTHER SOURCE ALSO STATES 15,577 TOTAL 1938 LASALLES BUILT. NOTE; THIS HAS BEEN AN INCREDIBLY HARD CAR TO RESEARCH BUILD NUMBERS AS THE COMMERCIAL CHASSIS WAS ALSO USED FOR THE CUSTOM MADE 75 SERIES, V-12 CADILLACS, AND SPECIAL BUILT GM CONCEPT CARS FOR DIGNITARIES LIKE HARLEY EARL.

 

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