NORTHLAND CHAPTER'S FEATURED PROFESSIONAL CAR
regularly select a photograph or professional car that is worthy of being featured on the
Northland website. Here is a beauty!
Peterson bought this 1956 Superior Pontiac hearse
many years ago from the Bertas Funeral Home in
Chaska, MN. He has displayed it at two PCS
International Meets: the ’84 Meet in Dearborn,
Michigan and the ’96 Meet in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
This beautiful hearse is finished in light gray over
black with a dark red interior. [John R.
(click on the pictures for the larger
Superior Cadillac Crown Royale 3-way hearse was
purchased new on June 2, 1966 by Lial Lilley, owner
of a funeral car livery service located on the
corner of 46th Street & Nicollet Avenue in
Minneapolis, MN. Mr. Lilley was a loyal
Superior customer who usually purchased 2-4 new
hearses - usually 3-ways - every other year. This
example is equipped with a manual casket table, AM
radio, and factory air conditioning. The factory
driveaway price was approximately $12,784. Superior
Coach Corporation of
Lima, Ohio built 140 Cadillac 3-way funeral
coaches in 1966.* (Superior, The Complete History,
by Thomas A. McPherson).
used by Lial Lilley's livery service for five years,
this coach was traded in and subsequently sold to
the Ertl Funeral Home of
Watkins, MN on February 25, 1972. It
remained in front-line service in this small
community until December 13, 1991 when it was
purchased by David Karsnia of
Detroit Lakes, MN. In the nearly 20 years
the coach was in Watkins, it accumulated less than
9,000 miles due to the close proximity of the church
and cemetery to the funeral home.
This hearse is
now owned by PCS member Don Lagerstrom of
accompanying photos were taken by Tony Karsnia on
January 21, 1991, a very cold winter day that he
drove to Watkins, MN to see and photograph this
newest car to be featured is this 1995 Sayers & Scovill
Cadillac Victoria hearse, owned by Dennis & Peggy Goethe
of Ellisville, MO. Black cars against the white
show makes a striking contrast!
1972 Cotner/Bevington Oldsmobile Cotington 48 ambulance
was one of identical twins purchased new by the Dallas
County Ambulance Service in central Iowa. It was
in active service until its retirement in 1979.
After being traded to Foster Coach Sales in Sterling,
Illinois, the twin went on to another ambulance service
and this car was purchased by a collector in Sterling.
Larri Dirks purchased this ambulance from the collector
about six years ago and has done a complete, authentic
restoration. Notice the "72 RESQ" Illinois license
plates. If this car looks as good as new, that's because
it is! Congratulations, Larri, on a beautiful
ambulance and a job very well done!
Henney Packard Formal 3-way hearse. Now owned by PCS
member Bill Carlin, Miller-Carlin Funeral Home, St.
Cloud, MN. This car was restored about 10 years ago and
owned by a classic auto livery service in Minneapolis,
where it was used on several funeral services. When
purchased by Mr. Carlin, the car was given another
thorough restoration, which is nearly complete. We look
forward to seeing current photos of it soon!
consider 1968 to the the height of elegant styling from
the Miller-Meteor shop. Here's a fine example of
Tony & Kim Karsnia have been the proud owners of this
1968 Miller-Meteor Cadillac Classic Limousine Duplex
since March 2006. They are the third owners of this car,
which has original Regal Silver paint, dual A/C,
removable landau panels, and just 64,000 original miles.
It was purchased new by the Ayres-Calbeck Mortuary of
Pratt, Kansas, then sold to the Johnson Funeral Chapel
in Ellis, Kansas (which later became Wasinger Funeral
Chapel.) The Karsnias bought this car directly from
Wasinger Funeral Chapel, where it had been in service -
and well cared for - since 1972. UPDATE:
As of August, 2010, this beauty is now owned by Ed
Just in time for St. Patrick's Day
comes this 2-tone green 1971 Miller-Meteor Cadillac
Eterna hearse. Little is known about this car, except
that it passed through the hands of Milwaukee, Wisconsin
professional car broker, Bob Hedges, at some point. From
the archives of Tony Karsnia.
The last Cadillac Ambulance, 30 years
ago. Delivered to Dr. Roger White on February 19,
1980 at the Kibby St. factory, this 1979 Superior
Cadillac Transport Ambulance signaled the end of a long
era of Cadillac ambulances. Read the feature story
in the January/February 2010 issue of Northland Crown
This 1966 Superior Cadillac Royale
limousine combination, formerly owned by R.S. Lewis &
Sons Funeral Home in Memphis, Tennessee has been
verified as the coach that transported the body of The
Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. following his
assassination in that city on April 4, 1968 on the
balcony of the Lorraine Motel.
Mr. R. S. Lewis called in this coach at the John Gaston
Hospital, where Dr. King was pronounced dead, to
transfer Dr. King's remains to his funeral home for
preparation and an impromptu public viewing in an open
metal casket. The following day this coach
transferred Dr. King's casket from the funeral home to
Memphis Metropolitan Airport (now Memphis International
Airport) for the flight home to Atlanta where Dr. King's
family was waiting.
One year ago this month, Mr. R.S.
Lewis shared his thoughts about his involvement in the
events in Memphis in April, 1968.
Video is here.
By far the newest professional car
that Tony & Kim Karsnia of East Bethel, MN have owned,
this white 1994 Federal Lincoln Stratford hearse came to
them fresh out of service in October 2009. It was
purchased new by Boulger Funeral Home in Fargo, ND where
it was used until 1998 when a new white Federal Lincoln
was purchased. This 1994 Federal Lincoln then went to
the Wildeman Funeral Home in Hillsboro, ND (which is
owned by Boulger) and remained there until 2003, when
the next new Boulger hearse - a white 2003 Federal
Lincoln - was purchased, at which time the 1998 was
rotated to Hillsboro and this 1994 Federal was sold to
the Dobmeier Funeral Home of Barnesville, MN. When
Boulgers purchased a new 2009 Eagle Cadillac Echeon
Elite in September 2009, the entire rotation was made
again, with Dobmeier acquiring the 1998 Federal Lincoln
from Hillsboro. At that time, this hearse was retired
and moved to the Karsnia fleet.
This 70,000 mile car has been well cared for and never
abused. The white exterior is complimented by a blue
velour interior and woodgrain casket table. The rear
interior quarter panels feature lighted shadow boxes
with embroidered floral pillow accents. The coach is
powered by the 4.6 liter Lincoln V8 engine. Tony Karsnia
says, "We have traditionally been 'Cadillac people' but
are very impressed with the smoothness, comfort, and
overall design of this Lincoln." Update,
January 2010: New owner is Matthew Taylor of
This beauty is a 1969 Superior
Cadillac Royale limousine hearse and was very recently
acquired by Mike & Dawn Mykulak of Minneapolis, MN. The
factory "fawn" paint is striking, as is the two-tone
interior of ivory and brown. This model is a "Royale"
rather than a "Sovereign" because of the corner windows
on each side of the rear loading door. Notable is
the rear floor is carpeted rather than Formica®,
and the airline-style draperies. Just above the
side chrome strip, near the tail light on each side, is
the "Superior Coach" insignia plate. Superiors of
this vintage were especially noted for their slanting
"C" pillar and the curved shape of the top.
Although Cadillac had eliminated the front door vent
window for 1969, the coachbuilders continued the vent
windows for the 1969 model year, ending them with the
We hope Mike & Dawn will be
Northland & PCS members soon, and we look forward to
seeing this beautiful coach at many Northland Chapter
events in 2010!
Photos by Tony Karsnia
of Oceanside, California, owns this 1976 Cadillac Fleetwood
Series Seventy-Five Nine-passenger Sedan. Formerly serving a
mortuary, the car now has 40,000 miles. It is painted
in original optional Cadillac Firemist paint-Crystal blue,
with black vinyl roof.
Seldom seen is a Cotner/Bevington
Oldsmobile Limousine, but they do exist. Here's proof!
This 1966 Cotner/Bevington Oldsmobile Limousine in a rare
color combination was photographed by Tony Karsnia at the
2008 PCS Meet in Mt. Laurel, NJ. Based on
the Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight chassis, this limousine offered
the comforts and luxury of a Cadillac limousine, at a much
reduced price. As it turns out, the Oldsmobile
limousines are much more rare than a Cadillac limousine of
the same year.
1960 Flxible Buick Flxette
This rare color factory photograph was located in a museum
in Flxible's hometown of Loudonville, Ohio. On this
1960 Flxible Buick Flxette, notice that this short wheelbase
coach has a coachbuilt #2 side door, without the usual
"dogleg." Of special note, too, is how gracefully
Flxible melded the sweeping beauty lines of the 1960 Buick
into the coachwork, the four "ventiports" on the front
fender, full wheel covers with wide whitewall tires, and the
Flxible nameplate on the front fender. You can bet
that Burke-Hammer Funeral Home was the envy of their
colleagues when this new Buick made its appearance in their
FROM PACKARD'S GLORY
This beautiful gleaming white
1939 Henney Packard Ambulance photograph is from the 1996
PCS International Meet in St. Paul, MN. Here is an
example of how talented Wayne Kempfert is with vintage
automobile restorations. He did most of the restoration of
this himself. Take our word for it, this car needed WAY more
than a good cleaning and fresh paint! Wayne’s skillful
restoration of this car got him the BEST OF SHOW trophy at
the 1996 PCS International Meet in St. Paul, MN.
Packard cathedral-style carved hearse was one of the very
first coaches John J. C. Little built after leaving the
Mitchell Hearse Co. in Ingersoll, Ontario. It was built for
the Thorpe FH in Welland, Ontario not far from Niagara
Falls. Remember, Henney never built carved-panel
hearses so this is a real rarity. That's John
Little himself at the far right in the bottom photo.
Photographs courtesy of Walter M.P. McCall.
Now that the
professional car touring season is almost in full-swing, many
enthusiasts will be stopping by the funeral coach manufacturing
plants for tours and to see the latest offerings. Northland Chapter
member, the late Bernie DeWinter IV, a frequent visitor to the
Ohio-based manufacturers, spotted this beautiful red 1992 Superior
Cadillac Crown Sovereign landau awaiting delivery in the lot at
Superior Coaches in Lima. "They keep trying to 'Bernie-proof' those
yards with chain-link fences", he'd say, "but I'll still gladly take
a grab-shot when I can."
This is a 2009 Eagle
Cadillac Ultimate hearse, custom built for Kramer Funeral Home in
Trimont, MN. It is gold mist metallic with crown top, oval windows
with optional airline-style curtains, and a tan canyon rear floor.
Photographed by Tony Karsnia at Baines Professional Vehicles in
Ramsey, MN prior to delivery to Kramer Funeral Home.
Our February feature photo, depicting
the Smith Ambulance fleet in the Hopkins Raspberry Festival parade
generated so much discussion at the recent Northland Chapter
Mid-Winter Warm-Up Meet, we decided to do a sequel! This shot,
taken from the opposite side of the street, shows Smith's 1964
Superior Cadillac Rescuer ambulance. Mr. Dave Gibson, who attended
February's Mid-Winter Warm-Up Meet, was employed by Smith Ambulance
at the time and was driving one of the three rigs we've seen in
these feature photos!
Two nearly new 1966 Superior Cadillac
51" Rescuer ambulances, owned by Smith Ambulance Service in
Minneapolis, Minnesota, crosses the intersection of Mainstreet and
6th in the annual summertime Raspberry Festival Grande Day parade through downtown Hopkins, MN.
These ambulance twins had a roof-mounted Federal Q2B siren, tunnel lights,
lighted signs on the front and sides of the roof bearing the SMITH
name, a large rotating beacon on the roof, rear air conditioning,
and door-mounted forward facing red spotlights. The tall
communications antenna is mounted to the left fender. If you
look very closely, you'll see another probably older Superior
ambulance on the passenger side of the second ambulance. Also,
notice the well dressed (white shirt and cap!) ambulance attendant visible in the
front passenger seat. The unusual street lights are
interesting, as is the tower in the background proclaiming downtown HOPKINS with
lighted letters on all four sides. The motel building and the "Direct
Service" building next door are both still standing, however the nearby railroad
tracks and Hopkins tower are long gone. The Raspberry Festival, started in
1934, continues to this day. Photo from the Tony Karsnia collection.
This may be the only
Pontiac three-way funeral coach ever built. This was built by John
Little on a 1954 Pontiac for the Milton R. Futher Funeral Home in
Wellesley, Ontario. Note the large Eureka-style coach lamps. The
builder's photo was taken across the street from John Little's shop in
Ingersoll, Ontario. These photos are from the Walter M.P. McCall
Collection, and are shared with you courtesy of Walt.
|Pardon the co-webmaster's
nostalgia! This is a 1968 Miller-Meteor Cadillac Citation Landau 3-way
hearse, formerly owned by Northland members Dennis & Peggy Goethe of Ellisville,
Missouri. This was the first professional car Dennis purchased, which the
Goethes sold in 2006.
Many months ago,
Robert Shepard entrusted his 1975 Miller-Meteor Cadillac Criterion Ambulance to
the care of Ed Renstrom of Hot Springs, South Dakota for a complete restoration.
What was once a nice blue-and-white Criterion is now a stunning red and white
Criterion in as-good-as-new condition. Robert drove the Criterion home
from South Dakota over the first weekend of November, 2008 and arrived safely at home
on Monday, November 3rd. The Northland and Miller-Meteor Chapters
congratulate Robert on his dedication to this professional car and Ed Renstrom
for his beautiful work on Robert's car. For extensive restoration
photographs, go to Ed's DropShots.com album
This absolutely beautiful and perfect 1937 Sayers
and Scovill Buick Byzantine Carved Hearse
was formerly owned by Andre Pilon of Arnprior, Ontario, Canada. The
picture on the left is what Andre started with, and on the right is the finished
project. Amazing, isn't it?! It takes a man with
incredible vision and dedication to see that this could be transformed into a
beautiful coach and to follow through with it in every detail.
You may have seen three of Andre's other classic funeral coaches recently on
eBay, including a S&S horse-drawn and a Miller Packard carved-side hearse.
Photograph credits to Andre Pilon, along with our thanks for saving this rare
|This 1962 National Mercury Ambulance, as seen still
in service at Osakis, Minnesota in 1979.
This very rare car is pictured in front of the Osakis Fire Hall.
Photo courtesy of Dr. Roger White.
This fleet was owned by Brenny's
Granite City Ambulance Service in St. Cloud, Minnesota.
From left to
right: 1969 Ford station wagon, 1961 Superior Cadillac 48" Rescuer,
and 1969 Superior Cadillac 51" Rescuer.
Peter Adsten writes:
This 1957 National Pontiac was operated by Mac's Ambulance Service in Medicine Hat, Alberta from 1957 to 1967. The car then went to the volunteer fire department in the
neighboring town of Bow Island. In 1990 we purchased the car at Crestline Coach, restored it a bit, and used it for public relations purposes.
We would also borrow the car to ambulance services in the three prairie provinces, so they could display it in their local shopping centre or drive it in their main street parade.
The car is now owned by Peter Adsten of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
1949 S&S Cadillac Knickerbocker
combination coach, originally owned by Norman Funeral Chapel, Grand Forks, North
Dakota and now owned by John Royark, Jr. of Elberon, IA.
These photos were taken at Elberon June 1, 2007.
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