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From: Dave Lisiecki
Remote Name: 188.8.131.52
Date: September 13, 2002
Hey Can-Man - I can't sit still with that post and those neat photos, so I have to make a short post before I go home. Although MoPar Hearses and Ambulances (and combos) aren't as common as those by other makes, one one starts digging, you find that there are (were) quite a few out there. For the uninitiated, professional cars were usually converted by a coachbuilder, from the major ones like Superior, Eureka, and Miller Meteor, to more obscure medium conversions, like the mild conversion on my 1960 Windsor, built by Richard Brothers (with a slightly raised roof and a big barn door in back), to many, many simple station wagon conversions. It seems that most of the ones I see are the late 50's Dodges, and they are usually the high-top "Memphians". Memphis Coach Company built the fine DeSoto you can find on this web page http://www.ctemsi.com/ owned by Dawson Blackmore. They were unusual in that they did favor MoPars. I wanted to buy this very coach, but didn't have the resources. But it couldn't have found a better home than it has right now. I know some people have and always will scoff at hearses and even ambulances (and their owners), and I won't get into that right now. Except to say there is a serious group of enthusiasts for these Professional Cars. If interested, you can check out the main webpage of the Professional Car Society. http://www.professionalcar.org/ They (we) also have a very active message board at http://184.108.40.206/forums/index.php?s= I mention this so that if anyone is seriously interested in these vehicles, there are a lot of us out there to talk to and cruise with! If one can respect the service that these vehicles have served, and get past creepy hang-ups about them, there is a lot to appreciate about them. For one thing, there were usually modified and converted by hand, with true craftsmanship. And then there's the rarity. You won't find too many others at a car show! And these were usually custom-ordered, so even at a professional car show you rarely find any two remotely alike! I've babbled long enough. But if I had the space and money, I'd pick these cars up. I'd rather see them restored than used for parts, but I'd hate to see them rot away at all. Over the last few years you've all helped me begin my restoration of my '60 ambulance. Many parts are the same on these as standard production units, especially when it comes to simple wagon conversions. The more extensive conversions made more modifications. The GM's used special commercial chassis ordered from GM. Oh, well, this post might generate some ridicule, but I seriously hope this nice Dodge gets saved. I wish I could do it. It's not anywhere near the West Coast, is it? Thanks for posting the interesting pics.