Opinions on buying a 1959 Cadillac hearse

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Posted by Mark V. ( on September 23, 2004 at 07:40:58:

Ok, let's see a show of hands of how many of you DON'T want a 1959 Cadillac hearse (the sound of crickets chirpping becomes deafening). How many would NOT want a lead on a '59 that's in great shape for only $1,000.00? (still more crickets). On countless occasions, we get those lost souls that want a lead on a running, solid '59 for little money like our sailor friend in an earlier post. I like to give those folks the benifit of the doubt and think they may be looking for a Harold & Maude hearse or the next Ghost Busters project for the first time. Meaning that they don't know what they've got themselves into. So, instead of abrasively pointing out the folly of their ways, I advocate educating them as follows.

Ever since "Harold and Maude" (1959 Cadillac Superior hearse) and "Ghost Busters" (1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor) have been out, they've inspired countless viewers to get their own pro-car. Just to put the numbers into perspective; In any given year from the 1950s through the 1970s, Cadillac made about 2000 commercial chassis from whence these cars were built. Of the roughly 2000 chassis, there were hearses, ambulances, flower cars and combination cars built. For simplicity's sake, let's say there was an equal distribution of 500 for each of the four basic styles. That would mean there were about 500 hearses built on Cadillac chassis in 1959. Let's now consider about a 10% survial rate for 45 year old cars. So, now we're down to about 50. Those 50 cars are most certainly in various stages of decay; everything from pristine to rusted out shells. So, figuring that there are only about 50 1959 Cadillac hearses to go around vs the scores if not hundreds of folks that want one... well, it doesn't take an economics genius to see the problem with this supply and demand equation. So, though I admire your ambition to aquire and restore/modify a 1959 Cadillac hearse, you'll have to wait in line behind the rest of the folks looking to get one. The two ways you'll get ahead in the line is with money (figure ten grand and up) or with lots of luck (some barn out in the sticks owned by a guy who doesn't know what he has).

Anyone else want to add their two cents? How about providing more accurate numbers of cars made vs cars that survive today? And, if you really have a need to vent (e.g. "oh look, another clueless wannabe...) then ok, but please keep it clean, alright!

Mark V.

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