Car of the Month
August 2015: Lynn Johansen's 1990 Cadillac Hearse
With every classic car comes a classic story
For the month of August, our Car of the Month feature’s Lynn Johansen's 1990 Cadillac Hearse. Read Lynn's story below and a quick interview about why he loves classic cars.
Here’s Lynn’s story:
Not Your Ordinary Grandma
You find yourself sitting at a red light unassumingly waiting for it to turn green. You don’t notice the car that stealthily pulls up next to you because your mind is wrapped up in either your destination or time constraints to arrive where you need to be. It is only upon the light turning green do you hear the rumble of a loud exhaust that catches your attention to your right. You hesitate for a moment and glance over to take in the source of the noise as it starts to pull away from you. It is then, that you do a double take at the sight of what appears to be a grandmother in a hot rod pulling away from the green light. As your eyes scan across every inch of the unusual length of the car, you see a beautiful, big blue eyed, blond haired little girl peering at you from the backseat wearing a huge grin and waving at you. You slowly lift your hand to gesture back and you hesitate, realizing this is no ordinary car, nor is it a car with a faulty exhaust. It is as you take in the little girl’s grin that has now turned into a giggle, that you realize she is smiling at you through the back passenger side curtains of a hearse. She is full aware that the vehicle she is riding in is most definitely unique and she enjoys every minute of others responses to her actions.
This is how my daughter describes my Sunday afternoon drive with my granddaughter. Hearses and cemeteries have always fascinated me so when the opportunity arose, I could not pass up buying it. She began her “life” as a 1990 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham with a 350 cubic inch 5.7 litre V8 engine that rolled off the assembly line in Arlington, Texas. Her next stop was at the S&S Coach Builders in Lima, Ohio. Abby was one of 17 built Sayers & Scovill that year and she was one of 3 built for the Piser-Weinstein Funeral Home in Chicago, Illinois. I often go to car shows and sometimes get shunned by the other "classic" cars. I then explain that the hearse is a true custom car. You can't go into a dealership and buy one. You go to a coach builder and order it to your specifications from the exterior color, the fabric of the curtains, etc, as well as the normal things such as make and exterior color. I am a member of two hearse clubs, one fairly new and the other is well established with over 500 members world wide. Hearse owners love to show off their coaches. Last year at our annual hearse show we had about 60 hearses, flower cars and ambulances on display. Among the many places we have been invited to display them are Volo Auto Museum, Brookfield Zoo, Haunted Trails, Worth IL annual zombie walk. This year we participated in Palos Heights 4th of July parade and let Berwyn’s Halloween parade. So the next time you are sitting at a light waiting for it to turn green and you glance over and see me and my 13 year old granddaughter next to you, realize we are just as normal as you. Don’t stereotype us as freaks. We merely appreciate the beauty and uniqueness of owning a funeral coach, and if there is anything to ever be bothered about, remember more people die in ambulances.
Interview with Lynn
R: What is the first car you’ve ever owned?
Lynn: 1958 Pontiac Bonneville coupe, 2-tone green
R: When did you get your first collector car?
L: June 2010
R: What cars are in your garage now?
L: Just the hearses
R: What would be your ultimate dream car?
L: A 1960s Coupe DeFleur (flower car)
R: Who do you share your passion of cars with?
L: Both of my daughters are car crazy. When I was married back in the late 1960s, we owned a 1955 Orange Chevy that we used to race at Union Grove Drag Stip in Wisconsin. Currently, when we go to a show or a cruise, my eldest daughter drives the Olds hearse and my son-in-law drives the Lincoln hearse. I always drive my first and favorite, “The Best”.