Along the route of our Sunday weekly walk here in Tokyo is a small transport company – they have several 29 pax Toyota Coaster mini-buses, a couple of Estima vans, and about five hearses. Last weekend they had a new model parked outside – I was sort of taken aback when I first saw it – as I’ll explain below…
This hearse or “Funeral Car” as they’re referred to here in Japan, is based on the current JDM Nissan Fuga; the Infiniti Q70 in the US. This is the first time I’ve seen a Fuga converted to a funeral car. Most are based on either the Lincoln Town Car or Cadillac Fleetwood/DeVille/XTS.
The more popular JDM model is the Toyota Crown.
You’ve probably seen pictures of these ornate, Buddhist-themed funeral cars in Japan – at least in our section of Tokyo, you don’t see them as frequently these days.
Several years ago, one of the all-time great Yokozuna (champion) of Sumo, Chiyonofuji, passed away – and he was transported in a regular funeral car rather than the more ornate version. Just another tradition that seems to be slipping away.
As I mentioned above, I did a double-take when I saw this – the Fuga’s taunt, “pulled-down”, curvy body just seems to clash somewhat with the square back-end, at least in my eyes.
As the previous owner of two Lincoln Coupes (a 1967 and a 1978), I’ve already told my wife that I’ll only be driven to my “final resting place” in a Lincoln – though it’s not like I’ll be able to tell…