1990 Buick Estate Wagon Hearse

Discussion in 'Station Wagon Projects' started by wallawallabob, Jul 25, 2011.

  1. wallawallabob

    wallawallabob Active Member

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    I posted a few pics on the Welcome Wagon thread, but decided to restart the thread here. I picked up this Buick a year ago and drove her home to Walla Walla, WA from Kamiah, ID. She got almost 28 mpg on the trip (about 160 miles).

    http://www.stationwagonforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=14248 is the addy for the original post - there are some pics there also.

    When I started the thread, I had scraped the old vinyl and padding off with the spatula attachment on a multi-tool, sanded the glue/residue off, and mudded the screws and scrapes, and smoothed the roof into the windshield ring after fixing a small rusted out spot on the ring with a chunk of angle iron JB Welded in. It looked like they had dragged the top accross some pavement before they put it on the car. I removed all of the trim above the centerline of the car.

    At this time I plan to paint only the roof-the rest of the car has good paint and few dings - that will be the next phase! I chose not to re-apply vinyl due to cost.

    Of course the trade-off was time! At this point the top is primed with a build-up primer. I will sand it with 240 grit to prepare it for the first coat of paint (white).

    The first pic has the roof smoothed into the windshield ring. The second the scratches all over - some caused by me with heavier grit sandpaper than what should have been used. Third: "frosting" half-sanded, the window openings primed and painted,and finally in primer.


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  2. Stormin' Norman

    Stormin' Norman Well-Known Member

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    Wow! That's a lot of wagon. Must be easy to load her up with plywood. Nice job.

    Speaking of vinyl, you reminded me that I haven't seen any of those Spray-On vinyl shops, so popular back in the 1970s and 1980s.
     
  3. wallawallabob

    wallawallabob Active Member

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    I had considered doing a bedliner for the top. If I can't get a paint job that is satisfactory, I may do it anyway. I have seen hearses done with a wrinkle paint also, which looks pretty good. Either way, the paint I'm putting on will protect the car for many years to come, will be easier to clean (it is extremely dusty in this area), and will give a substrate for the bedliner to stick to if I choose to go that way.

    I figured white would also make a good starting point for some custom painting I would like to learn how to do also!
     
  4. snooterbuckets

    snooterbuckets Well-Known Member

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    Hearses have always been very popular. So many people were "dying" to ride in them. (Oh yeah, like I'm sure that's the first time you ever heard that joke!!)
     
  5. Stormin' Norman

    Stormin' Norman Well-Known Member

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    Same reason they put fences around cemeteries. People are dyin' to get in! :rofl2::162:

    I think they make great lumber-getters, with those rollers and the higher tailgate door. Probably get a 10' X 5' sheet of drywall in there.
     
  6. wallawallabob

    wallawallabob Active Member

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    The hearse will become my stand-up bass hauler. So far, I've hauled my instrument around in the back of my pickup. Works fine as long as the weather isn't too cold, too hot, raining, or snowing.

    I was a little concerned about driving it on ice and snow, but I took it out last winter on a test drive and it did pretty well without additional weight or chains. There is enough clearance to use cable chains (possibly real chains) if needed.

    It was possibly used by the previous owner to haul firewood - there were slivers and bark stuck to the interior roof!
     
  7. That Hartford Guy

    That Hartford Guy Mopar no more.

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    Back in the day, some funeral coaches had plain metal tops without ornamentation to be used as "Service cars" or "First call" cars. These were less ornate and less expensive than the fancy Hearse used for the funeral procession. This way the service car did all the pickups at the morgue or Hospital and saved the wear and tear from the more expensive Hearse. You could just leave the top plain white. Some service cars had a wreath on the back panels.

    Below: Ford service wagon
    [​IMG]
     
  8. snooterbuckets

    snooterbuckets Well-Known Member

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    That's interesting, Moparguy. I never knew that. That '57 with the little hubcaps on it looks to be a strippy for sure; never saw a hearse like that in a funeral procession, they were almost always Caddies. They say ya learn something new everyday. I guess July 28th is taken care of!!
     
  9. That Hartford Guy

    That Hartford Guy Mopar no more.

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    Exactly. You would never see a service car in a funeral procession. They were only used for behind the scenes work. The more expensive and deluxe Hearse was used for the procession. Typically a Cadillac. But some smaller funeral homes had to stick to a lower budget and used Buicks, Mercurys or even Chevy Hearses.

    [​IMG]

    Below is Bill Wrights Cadillac Hearse. He recreated a service car by moving the vinyl sides and landau bars. He blanked out the rear door glass and put on some less fancy straight chrome accents.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2011
  10. wallawallabob

    wallawallabob Active Member

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    In small towns back in the day, the ambulance and the hearse were often the same car. The coroner and the undertaker might have been the same person, also. In large cities a few of the mortuaries have "flower cars" which are also very expensive for what they do, and are relatively rare.

    My guess is that this Buick was part of a small mortuary's fleet.

    I put some paint on 'er last night: Orange peal white.....

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    Notice the pristine paint booth! Shot her with guts, feathers, and all.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2011
  11. 1982caprice station wagon

    1982caprice station wagon Racecar Driver

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  12. the Rev

    the Rev senior junior Charter Member

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    :clap: those are the best jobs:thumbs2:
     
  13. wallawallabob

    wallawallabob Active Member

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    I wound up with a really bad sag (in addition to some orange peel on about a third of the top) on the passenger side that I didn't notice until the next day. So, now I'm waiting for things to cure before I block it out. Hopefully, I'll get started on her tonight.

    Too bad I have to work for a living - I'd have enough time to play golf, play music, do yard work, go to parties, refinish the deck (all done last weekend) and work on the hearse......
     
  14. Cyber-Wizard

    Cyber-Wizard Well-Known Member

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    Makes me think of my great Uncle on the East Coast. In the little town where he lived he was the Sheriff and Coroner. It was the type of call he was going to that determined which magnetic sign he slapped on the door of his wagon.
     
  15. Xavier

    Xavier Classic Goth

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    I like a lot of the flower cars out there. As far as I know all the new ones are made to carry both the flowers and the casket, but there were several older ones that wouldn't carry the casket, just the flowers and it would follow the hearse. Well, OK, I forgot about the standard wheelbase flower cars like this one.
    [​IMG]
    Here is a casket carrier.
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    A relatively new concept for hearses is combining the Hearse and the limousine.
    [​IMG]
    I love funeral vehicles. My friend owns a 70's cadi combo in factory deep plum purple with black vinyl.
     

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