1956 CADILLAC -EUREKA- LANDAU RARE 3-WAY SIDE LOADER FUNERAL COACH
It's fairly commonplace now to here the word “Rare” when it comes to limited built cars but, this Classic Hearse is One of just a handful of, not only rare Hearses but, an extremely rare 8680S “3 Way” Sideloader Hearse built by Eureka Co. Coachbuilders from Rock Falls, Indiana. They were in the Funeral 'Car' business building Hearses and Ambulances since 1908 but, their history dates back the late 1800's (1871). The Pro Car manufacturers built 1,799 Coaches in 1956 on a Cadillac Chassis but, very few of this version due to the high cost. This 8680S Model would have run $9432 'new' which computes today to $87,536.94. That's almost enough to buy a new home in 1956, or 5 cars and was two times the National Average Yearly Salary paid.
Purchased new in 1956 by “A.G. Ott Funeral Homes”, Mr. Ott was the town Mortician in Michigan City since 1869. It was optioned with the Manual Coffin Table that would exit either side or, the end of the Coach. Plus 'Krinkle Finish' Factory Top, Wide Whitewall Tires, “Top Grain” Leather Interior, Mohair Coffin Chamber, “Plush Broadcloth” Drapery & Retractable Curtains, Solid Bronze/Chrome Plated Hardware, Exclusive Custom Locking Device for the Rear/Side Doors, 'Levelizer' Suspension, Mahogany Mica Table, Heater, Power Seat and of course, Standard Features like, the 365 cubic inch V8/285 h.p., Improved 3-Speed G.M. Hydramatic Transm. w/ Oil Cooler, Radio Delete, Improved Power Steering ("50% better" + "Improved Brakes +extra wide pedal"), Breeden Bier Pins/Casket Stops, Commercial Extended Cadillac Frame, and Chrome Bronzed Coach Lamps & other Embellishments.
THIS was the Most Expensive Hearse offered in 1956, “Recognized as the Finest Custom Landau in the Industry” (as Touted in factory brochure) and the Last with all Wood Old School Framework underneath the custom fabricated body. Very few Funeral Directors could afford such a car. It has had three owners. The story I got was the 2nd, 20 years sitting on blocks in the Garage, and the third, since 1990 in-home/garaged storage. Once restored it will be placed for some time on display in the Museum. It is pictured here as it arrived (for restoration): NOW JUST COMPLETED AFTER MONTHS OF WAITING , ALL new Rear Chrome, Seat Restoration of original Bridge-of-Weir Leather, Further Mechanical work including NOS Brake Treadle System, Paintwork, plus the Entire Perimeter of the undercarriage and Back Bumper apron restored to new. NOS Hood Badge & Gold Vee, Tail Light Resto, Hubcap resto, and even a new-old-stock Cadillac Tissue Dispenser. (photos forthcoming)
Finished in Sable Black with optional Two-Tone Burgundy and Ivory Mohair Interior, the front Cabin has the original Burgundy and Grey Bridge of Weir Leather. The Interior is the original “Optional” Hi-Grade Leather, and Premium Mohair, with the Mahogany 3-Way Chrome Table (also optional). The Top is excellent, original MINT 'Krinkle Finish' which, in our mind, saved the Coach from The Rust Gods. It has two sets of hubcaps. The styling on this incredible Coach depicts the Garish (“War Is Over”) Space Age 50's and Harley Earl's continuous use of morphing P-38 Aircraft Styling into his Automobile Design with it's Airplane Taillights (one which hide the gas filler neck) and Engine Exhaust through the bumpers (improved as seen here w/ downdraft exhaust & tailpipes).
Those Big 'Dagmar' Bumpers make their own statement ( "Dagmar" was an American actress, model and television personality of the 1950s. As a statuesque, busty blonde, she became the First Major Female Star of Television). The '56 Cadillac model offered many new improvements such as the 365 c.i.V8 over the 331, Redesigned Transmission and Cadillac brochure claimed "50% Better Handling over all previous models". NOW! $70,000. Phone (352) 217-9868
Source: Coachbuilt.com, 'Eureka' by Thomas McPherson