This combo is just getting started in it’s journey to a new life, but, oh, what a story it has already had. We will follow the journey as they go throughout the year and hopefully, by next Halloween, it will be ready for a new feature article. So, sit back and enjoy learning about this former “Razorbacker” and see where they plan on taking it in the future.
Also, make sure to check out all of the pictures at the end.
What type of vehicle?
1965 Cadillac Combo (Hearse/Ambulance) by Superior Coaches
Who is the first owner of the project and is it still their project?
It was bought from service in Tennessee by Joe & Edith Reed of Conway, AR in the 1970’s to be used to travel to every Arkansas Razorback game. They no longer own it, they sold it in 1998.
When was it purchased?
I purchased it in October of 2017.
How much was it purchased for?
Was this a father/son, Daughter project?
Why this vehicle?
It is one of 3 hearses/coaches I own – the others being a 1998 Cadillac and a 1987 Cadillac both by Superior Coaches.
I’ve always wanted a hearse. They’re beautiful, unique, and versatile vehicles. They’re made to order, so no two are alike.
My favorite thing about the mid 60’s Superior made coaches, is the roof line. It gives them such a sexy silhouette.
Give me some backstory, are you a mechanic, do you like to fabricate, are you really good at body work, etc. Some info about you.
I’m no mechanic, but cars are in my DNA.
I was raised in a junkyard and spent summers and weekends at racetracks. My grandpa and step-dad were tow truck drivers, and I was babysat at the junkyard. I learned to read by reading license plates and badges on cars.
Info about the vehicle prior to starting it. (i.e., condition, missing parts, just needed paint, no engine, etc.)
I’ve only had the car for about 2 weeks. So far we know it needs some carburetor work, and some wiring (the headlights work when they feel like it).
She runs, but she is not exactly street ready. It once had a spare tire mounted on the rear door, which the door isn’t set up to support, so the hinges are sprung and the latch is broke.
It needs paint, a windshield, and quarter window.
What have you done to it so far?
Nothing yet, still in the planning stages. Still mapping things out, figuring out what all we need to do to get her back on the road.
Any help you have gotten?
My boyfriend, Paul, and our friend Ian at Oak Valley Customs has been helpful with advice and is going to help here soon with getting her going.
Also the myriad of hearse clubs & Facebook groups that have been helpful in sourcing parts.
The car has quite a history. Like I said it was purchased from service in Tennessee, and brought to AR to be used to travel to Razorback games. It was originally black (according to the handwritten TN title included in the paperwork I was given when I bought it), and was painted red & white and lettered in the 70’s. It was then called “The Razorbacker,” and was featured in a 1979 issue of Southern Living magazine, as well as other local publications. (I’m told, although I only have the copy of SL, not the other publications.)
The rear compartment was customized to seat 6 with a bench seat and fold down seats. The rollers and casket/gurney bed was removed and red shag carpet was installed.
The car has sliding glass dividers that separate the cab from the rear – between this divider and the bench seat, beer coolers were installed.
Mrs Reed hand sewed the curtains that are still in the rear. They installed a PA system, and several novelty horns as well.
The documentation I have with it says that a man named Richard Nicholson bought the car in 1998 and was trying to get it registered/recognized as a state historical object. What I gathered from the paperwork, it wasn’t old enough at the time. I’m not sure why he sold it, he seemed pretty determined to do something with it as late as 2013. The guy I bought it from didn’t seem to know much about the car aside from the paperwork, and had just bought it on a whim, then discovered they aren’t cheap vehicles to restore.