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Mike Jamar Bio

Mike Jamar's blog

Posted by Mike Jamar on December 1, 2016

  Occasionally, when I’m making my daily check on HearseHub, just to make sure everything is working properly, I’ll find myself strolling through all of the vehicles just to see what’s new. On one of my recent jaunts, I came across a hearse that stopped me dead in my tracks. It was a 1965 green hearse/ambulance combination. I love older hearses. They have a certain charm that you don’t find anymore.

  I wonder if in 50 years our kids will come across a picture of a hearse from today and be as enamored with it. Of course in 50 years they’ll probably never get beyond their astonishment that we actually had to drive ourselves. Recently I saw a news report about a driverless semi-trailer now in development. A beer truck no less. But I digress.

  After seeing the 1965, my curiosity got the better of me and I went to one of my favorite books on funeral vehicles American Funeral Vehicles 1883-2003 by Walter M.P. McCall. It offers both a written and pictorial history of hearses through the years mentioned in its title. It is a great resource for anyone interested in hearses.

  I deliberately started on page one and went through the entire book, year by year, looking just at the pictures. I was intent on determining what I thought were the best looking hearses, since they became horseless. My favorites were built from circa 1935 to 1940. These feature exposed and rounded fenders, exposed headlamps, elaborate hood ornaments, and beautiful lines. The lines are my favorite. There are no hard angles, everything is rounded and curved. These are true works of art!

  Not far behind, in my opinion, are the models from the mid-1950s and the early 1960s. They were enormously long and tall. I love their chrome accents, the chrome bumpers and, of course, the tail-fins. These parts are extravagant and quite frankly useless in function, but they just seem perfect on these cars.

  The other thing I noticed when looking through the book is that the hearses from 1977 going forward all began look very similar to one another. In the years before 1977 the hearses changed dramatically every 5 to 10 years. In the ‘20s and early ‘30s the hearses looked like large elaborate Model T’s. The ‘30s brought the more elegant rounded bodies, my favorites. The ‘40s and early ‘50s were still rounded, but gone were the exposed fenders and headlamps. The mid-‘50s were elaborate tailfins, with chrome bumpers and accents. The ‘60s were huge and understated. These groupings are gross oversimplifications but I’m sure you understand my point.

  In the past cars were always changing, the styles short lived. Today the automotive industry is more conservative in its approach. As a result, styles aren’t changing at such a rapid pace. Instead, most of the innovations are found in the drive train and driving compartment, not on the outside. Maybe my lack of enthusiasm about today’s hearses stems from the fact that there isn’t anything new about them. They’re just the same hearses that have been around my entire adult life. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking today’s hearses. It’s undeniable that they’re some of the most efficient hearses ever built. But the focus has changed. Efficiency over style.

  If you get a chance I suggest you look at the green 1965 hearse/ambulance combination currently on HearseHub. The easiest way to find it is from the Hearse listings. Do a search for “Green” under “Exterior Color”. Compare it with the other hearses and discover the style that speaks to you. After all a personal opinion is just that, and the best part is that everyone has one and they’re as unique as the hearses themselves.


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