Leon Corcos purchased his 1962 Cadillac Hearse initially to use as a prop for his wifes business in October, during the Halloween season. See what Leon has done to this 1962 Cadillac Hearse and what he found out about a hearse in general.
Make sure to scroll all the way down to see the pictures.
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What type of vehicle is this?: Car
Make, Model, Year of Project
1962 Cadillac Hearse
What stage is this in?
When did you purchase it and for how much?
I purchased it for $4300
Why did you choose this vehicle?
My wife owners a costume store, it was for her. We park it outside all of October.
What sort of condition was it in when you started the project, what was wrong with it, etc.
Not very good. It ran. The guy I bought it from said it was road-worthy. It was in the desert East of LA.
I decided to drive it to my home 450 miles away.
It made it, halfway and was an $800 tow to my house. It was too big for the first truck. Had to wait even longer for an extra long flatbed.
What, specifically have you done, or had done to it?
It’s got a rebuilt engine and tranny.
Extensive paint and body.
Interior mostly redone.
Added music and exterior LED lighting
Can you list any and all parts that you have put in?
I replaced many, many parts. Most had to be rebuilt locally as commercial chassis parts are very rare.
Aside from engine parts for rebuilt, I replaced the Rochester carburetor with an Edelbrock. The Rochester was too temperamental.
I put air shocks on it to to tighten up the heavy rear.
Where have you purchased your parts?
Parts are a challenge for old hearses as the coach builders make Frankenstein’s with leftover Cadillac parts.
I am technically a 62, but it’s on a 59 chassis, 60 dash and components, a 62 front end and a 61 rear end and fins.
I ordered many wrong parts until I figured this out.
McVey’s Cadillac is the go to for parts and a plethora of insight and info. If they don’t have it, they know who does.
What about you? (Some information about you, as much as you would be comfortable to give. This helps others see that anyone can build their own.):
BY “trade” I was in the motion picture and advertising business.
I’ve always been interested in cars, but far from a legit gear head, and more like a shade tree mechanic.
This hearse was really my first attempt at a restoration.
My wife owns a costume shop in Old Sacramento and we wanted something to market the store during Halloween. I think with today’s access to information on the web and YouTube videos, the ability for a regular guy to gain the knowledge needed to restore cars is much more attainable.
Any stories regarding this project?
I can say one thing about restoring a hearse, it is super challenging.
It’s a Cadillac, so parts are harder to find and as such, pricier than they should be.
It’s called a commercial chassis. Hearses, Limos, Ambulances. This makes some parts even more specialized. The glass, the brakes, the driveshaft- all different.
Hearses I learned, are called “Cadillac’s” but are in fact Frankenstein’s made annually by hearse companies from left over parts the get from GM.
The car is delivered to the coach company basically a frame, engine, firewall and drive train. Then the car is assembled from surplus making it even harder to find parts.
Example, my 1962 Cadillac hearse is built in a 1959 commercial Chassis (see shape of window) it has a 1962 engine and front clip, a 1960 dashboard and interior, 1961 fins, lamps etc and parts in between are often “who knows”. So photos are imperative before buying anything.
Recently my headlight switch went bad. Turns out it’s a special “commercial chassis” headlight switch since limos, ambulances and hearses have additional interior lights and the light plug assembly is completely different than a DeVille. $450 later, I found one. Crazy.
Any garages, parts stores, fabrication shops, etc you want to call out specifically?
If you are doing a Cadillac, There’s only one resource for questions and answers and usually parts. McVey’s Cadillac in Merriam, Kansas. The guys there know the color of every wire, and can identify damn near any part you send them a photo of. Ask for Craig. This dude’s an amazing resource. Also, car-part.com, part, not parts. It’s a searchable network of junkyards .
Check out the pictures below, make sure to click on the picture to see the full version.
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Categories: Article, Stock Rebuild/Restore
Hearses are not built with left over parts. The coach builders build their own parts to look like the current model. Custom parts for a very custom coach. Would you pay double the price for a car that you knew was cobbled together? I did not think so. Hearse builders meet certain standards requires by the chassis maker. They also have to meet standards of the govetnment. Crash testing and safety is also part of their job of building a hearse. And years ago the same was true for old ambulances.
So tired of reading all this used and left over parts thing for coach built vehicles. I have visited several coach building firms. We have went through their factories. None had anything but new parts for building a hearse or ambulance.