CC Outtake: Japanese Hearses – Putting The Fun Back Into Funeral Coaches

I stumbled upon this garage full of stiffmobiles recently and though I’d share. A great smorgasbord of transportation options are offered for even the most discriminating of cadavers in this town. One is sure to find the wheels that will pair up well with the casket. After all, you only get to ride in these once, so it’s nice to know there’s a wide choice.

Here’s the cream of the crematorium, then. Which one would you pick? Toyota, Nissan and Lincoln are in the running, though there’s a surprise fourth entry at the (bitter) end.

There are two broad types of funeral coach available in this country: the “regular” or Western kind, all black with a mock landau bar, or the traditional Japanese mini-temple kind. The garage had two of the latter, the above being based on a Toyota Crown S170.

The other one was this turn-of-the-century Lincoln. A fine vehicle to be sure, but perhaps a Japanese V8-powered chassis would have been more suitable – something like a President or a Proudia? Strange what they did to this Town Car’s headlights, too.

It seems Lincolns are prized as commercial cars in this country. So it wasn’t too surprising to see that this late ‘00s Town Car got the Western-style treatment, which suits it pretty well.

Toyota Crowns probably constituted the bulk of the JDM hearse fleet until recent times — perhaps they still do. The S170, made between 1999 and 2007, was the last generation to include a wagon in the line-up, which I guess helped Toyota corner the hearse market for a while. There were two at the hearse garage, and I caught this one on the street.

Despite the lack of wagon, Crowns are still in the game. This is a 14th generation S210 Royal Saloon conversion made sometime between 2012 and 2018. Not nearly as classy as the old S170s or the Lincolns, but that’s what the industry had to work with.

Alternately, they can work with Nissan, and they do. The contorted and curvaceous Fuga / Cima is not the most obvious choice for a hearse, but then it’s appropriately badged as an Eterniti, so…

And finally, there’s this. Yes, it’s the sole FWD contender. Yes, it’s European. And yes, it’s a Volkswagen hearse, two words that definitely do not belong next to one another.

This is all kinds of wrong. Wouldn’t want to be seen dead in that.


Related post:


CC Outtake: Nissan Fuga Hearse – A Curve Meets a Square, by Jim Brophy