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marimom
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Can you please help me find out what car this hearse was based upon, I need parts and no idea if I have a Seville, or Fleetwood, or whatever?? Also, I need help to find the color carpet, as I could use some replacement. I already put on a conversation on this forum but no answers yet. I will attach more pics here so you can see the color of the interior (it was an all-blue hearse, including exterior but was repainted), I also found a brochure of Miller-Meteor, and I wondering since the brochure talks about hearses for the modest budget (for funeral homes) if my hearse too was build using a non-commercial chassis (how can I find out) and if it lacks regular luxury items that a regular caddie of that year might have as Miller-Meteor implies in the brochure to make a new hearse at that time more affordable. thanks so much in advance to anyone who can help me. I know it has the 425 L V8 engine, but that does not lead me to know if it is Fleetwood, Deville or ?, but that makes me think it might be commercial chassis after all, which requires the bigger engine, even for a "budget car"? So many questions, I know, I thank anyone in advance who has this info and willing to share with me.
Attaching several views to help with model ID.
VIN might also help: 6Z90S8Q127280
Thanks in advance
Marianne and Josh M.
 

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1996 Fleetwood hearse
1996 Cadillac Fleetwood Superior Coach Hearse Conversion
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139 Posts
These are commercial chassis Fleetwoods or Fleetwood Broughams. The front half is the same as the like year model stock 4 door Caddy, but the rest is a commercial build where they stretch the frame, doors, etc. The builder usually puts a build sticker somewhere in one of the door jambs with the specs. When they build these, they have to relocate the fuel filler and remove the rear seat, package tray, trunk, spare, etc. Whatever build it is, there should be some indication inside the rear door like a plate with the builders name: Miller Meteor, Crystal, Superior, S&S, Eureka. You may also want to join one of the hearse forums on Facebook. Hearse's Most are built to what the customer wants down to the color. Some are first call vehicles and some are for procession. First call IMO would be the cheaper built as you are going to put a lot of miles on them and you don't really care what they have for comfort features. As far as the frame goes, you can tell if it has been lengthened and strengthened by looking under it for obvious cuts and welds to the C channel. Post some pics and again, join that Facebook group; there are tons of hearse owners there with all years.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
These are commercial chassis Fleetwoods or Fleetwood Broughams. The front half is the same as the like year model stock 4 door Caddy, but the rest is a commercial build where they stretch the frame, doors, etc. The builder usually puts a build sticker somewhere in one of the door jambs with the specs. When they build these, they have to relocate the fuel filler and remove the rear seat, package tray, trunk, spare, etc. Whatever build it is, there should be some indication inside the rear door like a plate with the builder's name: Miller-Meteor, Crystal, Superior, S&S, Eureka. You may also want to join one of the hearse forums on Facebook. Hearse's
Hey, That is helpful to know it is a Fleetwood as even the seller did not know for positive. Yes, I was confused about exactly what commercial chassis meant, I know they start with the regular sedan and the coachbuilder modified but was unclear if that made it commercial due to its intended use or if the modification that almost all cars to hearses go through made it "commercial"
Thanks for the help.
Yes, I have looked at various hears groups. Thank you again for your kind assistance. \
MM
 

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'84 Eldorado and Seville
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Not a Seville that's for sure. Fleetwood and DeVille were built on the same frame/body. About the only difference between them was the interior. Fleetwood more luxury interior. I would search google and find interior/seat photos to determine which model it is. The seats were different between a Fleetwood and DeVille. As well as the door panels. The carpet color you will probably have to locate a options brochure most likely on eBay. I forget what it was called that a dealer had in the show room.
Like this...
 

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'84 Eldorado and Seville
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I was thinking commercial was more leaning toward a stretch limo. Heavier suspension for the additional weight for a limo. Larger alternator to power accessories. Hearses were modified 4 door sedan's.
 

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'84 Eldorado and Seville
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I am curious why people buy these hearses. I see them sell on eBay and other websites almost dirt cheap at times. I could see someone using them for a painting business to haul equipment inside much like a covered truck or van.
 

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1996 Fleetwood hearse
1996 Cadillac Fleetwood Superior Coach Hearse Conversion
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139 Posts
I was thinking commercial was more leaning toward a stretch limo. Hearses were modified 4 door sedan's.
Heavily modified. They cut the car at the rear of the back doors, stretch the frame by approximately 2 feet, cut the roof just behind the windshield support and add a fiberglass shell from the front to just behind the back doors. Most of them the doors are stretched and new metal attached, some are fiberglass. Each builder does it a little different, some older hearses have a full metal roof and rear build but fiberglass came in and made things much easier. The frame has to be strengthened so it can support the extended body and make up for the removal of the structure behind the back seat. Its a major feat but if you've ever seen the interior of a build without the pretty walls and floor, you can't fully appreciate the amount of work that goes into these coaches. I completely stripped a 95 Eureka Coach and did a lot of conversion work in my 96 Superior Coach. The quality of work between the two under all the eye candy is night and day. Superior coach was a much better build. Anyway most of these coaches have a square tubing frame that is welded to the floor and sides (actually wherever they can attach the tubing) that supports the casket floor and then goes up and around under the headliner. Again there is a lot of work put into these to make them safe and not flex. That is why these cars weigh so much.
 

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1996 Fleetwood hearse
1996 Cadillac Fleetwood Superior Coach Hearse Conversion
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139 Posts
I am curious why people buy these hearses. I see them sell on eBay and other websites almost dirt cheap at times. I could see someone using them for a painting business to haul equipment inside much like a covered truck or van.
I got mine for our charity Ghostbusters group. We use the car as a centerpiece at our fundraising events. Yeah I committed a major crime in the eyes of some by cutting the floor at the edge of the back doors, ripping that portion out to put Caddy STS power seats in. The partition came out as well and I attached a rack to the roof, drilled a hole in the fiberglass to run wiring out and took all of the curtains out. Some people just get them to drive for the shock value or to use to haul stuff. It is a car, like all others, just served a different purpose in a previous life.
 
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2014 ELR
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If you get the FSM for that year, it will have a VIN breakdown for what each character means. I don't have that year, but perhaps someone here can take a pic of that page for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
These are commercial chassis Fleetwoods or Fleetwood Broughams. The front half is the same as the like year model stock 4 door Caddy, but the rest is a commercial build where they stretch the frame, doors, etc. The builder usually puts a build sticker somewhere in one of the door jambs with the specs. When they build these, they have to relocate the fuel filler and remove the rear seat, package tray, trunk, spare, etc. Whatever build it is, there should be some indication inside the rear door like a plate with the builders name: Miller Meteor, Crystal, Superior, S&S, Eureka. You may also want to join one of the hearse forums on Facebook. Hearse's Most are built to what the customer wants down to the color. Some are first call vehicles and some are for procession. First call IMO would be the cheaper built as you are going to put a lot of miles on them and you don't really care what they have for comfort features. As far as the frame goes, you can tell if it has been lengthened and strengthened by looking under it for obvious cuts and welds to the C channel. Post some pics and again, join that Facebook group; there are tons of hearse owners there with all years.
Thank you again, Ray, I appreciate all the time to write all that great info out for me. MM
 

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1996 Federal Heritage Hearse
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230 Posts
Hey, That is helpful to know it is a Fleetwood as even the seller did not know for positive. Yes, I was confused about exactly what commercial chassis meant, I know they start with the regular sedan and the coachbuilder modified but was unclear if that made it commercial due to its intended use or if the modification that almost all cars to hearses go through made it "commercial"
Thanks for the help.
Yes, I have looked at various hears groups. Thank you again for your kind assistance. \
MM
They do NOT start as a regular sedan. They are a chassis with bodywork from the dash forward. No body behind that. An the chassis is already he proper length for the hearse.
 

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1996 Federal Heritage Hearse
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I was thinking commercial was more leaning toward a stretch limo. Heavier suspension for the additional weight for a limo. Larger alternator to power accessories. Hearses were modified 4 door sedan's.
This is completely wrong. For any Cadillac commercial chassis 1984 and before that were NEVER a sedan. They were complete from the firewall forward with the chassis being the proper length of a hearse or ambulance. And the chassis has heavier duty components. Ambulances had stupid large altenators. What was offered on a commercial chassis depended on the year. Some had special bodywork forward of the firewall.
 

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1996 Federal Heritage Hearse
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marimom
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Can you please help me find out what car this hearse was based upon, I need parts and no idea if I have a Seville, or Fleetwood, or whatever?? Also, I need help to find the color carpet, as I could use some replacement. I already put on a conversation on this forum but no answers yet. I will attach more pics here so you can see the color of the interior (it was an all-blue hearse, including exterior but was repainted), I also found a brochure of Miller-Meteor, and I wondering since the brochure talks about hearses for the modest budget (for funeral homes) if my hearse too was build using a non-commercial chassis (how can I find out) and if it lacks regular luxury items that a regular caddie of that year might have as Miller-Meteor implies in the brochure to make a new hearse at that time more affordable. thanks so much in advance to anyone who can help me. I know it has the 425 L V8 engine, but that does not lead me to know if it is Fleetwood, Deville or ?, but that makes me think it might be commercial chassis after all, which requires the bigger engine, even for a "budget car"? So many questions, I know, I thank anyone in advance who has this info and willing to share with me.
Attaching several views to help with model ID.
VIN might also help: 6Z90S8Q127280
Thanks in advance
Marianne and Josh M.
Hearses of this era had full coachbuilt interiors and even their own custom colors and fabrics. The hearse you are talking about for a modest budget is probably the MM Athena which is a shorter hearse and not built on a commercial chassis. Yours is not an Athena. You can tell your car is not on a standard chassis as on a stock car the door has a dogleg by the wheel well.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I am curious why people buy these hearses. I see them sell on eBay and other websites almost dirt cheap at times. I could see someone using them for a painting business to haul equipment inside much like a covered truck or van.
Because you love the look of a beautiful (I like the vintage) luxury cars that can haul my things without red flags and sticking wood out the window of my SUV. LOL, I worked in funeral service decades ago and drove these babies and they are typically very well kept up, not driven hard but frequently enough to keep them running well over the many decades, low mileage etc...No funeral home I worked forever trashed them, they were always garaged, a great many pluses....Perhaps as an investment if kept up I think there is enough demand for younger gen that want them, I know I'll be able to sell it down the road... Can rent it out even, another option you won't get with a regular Caddy. I think they are well built, custom made and that makes them very unique. I love having a unique car, sorry not to everyone's taste but there are many reasons to have one.
 

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1996 Federal Heritage Hearse
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I am curious why people buy these hearses. I see them sell on eBay and other websites almost dirt cheap at times. I could see someone using them for a painting business to haul equipment inside much like a covered truck or van.
Why? Well lets see. They are custom built vehicles. They are built solely for a specific customer. Typically low miles, They can have special parts not found on cars off the showroom floor. They are beautiful cars to drive. Yes you can haul things in them. My cargo space is longer than a truck bed. And you will get more looks anywhere you go than ANY other vehicle. Just to name a few reasons why.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I am curious why people buy these hearses. I see them sell on eBay and other websites almost dirt cheap at times. I could see someone using them for a painting business to haul equipment inside much like a covered truck or van.
This is completely wrong. For any Cadillac commercial chassis 1984 and before that were NEVER a sedan. They were complete from the firewall forward with the chassis being the proper length of a hearse or ambulance. And the chassis has heavier duty components. Ambulances had stupid large altenators. What was offered on a commercial chassis depended on the year. Some had special bodywork forward of the firewall.
Thank you, since I have a a1978 Fleetwood (Brougham?) then I would have a commercial chassis and need to note that when looking for any replacement brakes suspension parts and so forth, are those harder to come by in anyone's experience?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Hearses of this era had full coachbuilt interiors and even their own custom colors and fabrics. The hearse you are talking about for a modest budget is probably the MM Athena which is a shorter hearse and not built on a commercial chassis. Yours is not an Athena. You can tell your car is not on a standard chassis as on a stock car the door has a dogleg by the wheel well.
Thank you very much for your reply and the information!
 
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