Cohort Classic: 1994 Buickillac Fleetmaster Hearse – On the State of the Modern Hearse

(first posted 11/27/2017)        And here we are, back to the humble hearse. Perhaps the most unappreciated service vehicle on account that by the time you call it, there is definitely nothing else you can do. These one however, has one or two things that could be of interest.

I’ve (quite thankfully) been rather out of touch with the world of hearses. The last time we required their services in the Solis household a dark blue GMT400 suburban was the vehicle handling the sombre deed. Nowadays I’ve been told that the job has been taken over by Hyundai H1 minibuses or Toyota Hiaces (note to self: arrange un-terrible hearse before demise) in my neck of the woods and by stretched Lincoln MKTs stateside. I’ve no comment about this, as the mere sight of a Lincoln MKT (especially in its stretch ‘Town Car’ badging) still makes me go into a blinding rage and shout “HOW DARE YOU STAND WHERE IT STOOD!?”, which admittedly would make going to New York a rather awkward experience.

Anyway, our featured vehicle was posted on the cohort by chrisjcieslak, and it must’ve been quite a surprise as they walked past it and the brain took a second to parse that the ends did not match. I can only speculate what exactly happened for the front-end swap. Was it an aesthetic choice? I don’t think that Roadmaster front ends are that much cheaper than their Cadillac equivalent. And even if they were, it’s unlikely that it was just a bolt-on job, much as the late C and D-Bodies had in common. The other option would be that it had an accident at some point and the Buick’s front end was extricated from a junkyard for a cheap repair, which is fair enough. It’s not like a Caprice one will do the trick.

It may have been cheap, but it seems well-done. I spent a bit of time looking for a crappy panel gap or color mismatch, but saw nothing that couldn’t be explained by me getting used to my new glasses or the light when taking the picture. Whoever did this did it with care.

Everyone knew where the B- C- and D-Body cars were going in the early 90s (Well, I didn’t. Mostly because I was three). The whale styling was more divisive than the 77-90 clean-cut styling and the market was shrinking. We were driving full-speed ahead to a future where the large SUV would be the halo model for American tastes. GM did a pretty good on those ones it must be said. But, like the aforementioned Town Car, there was still a gap left on the market. One that would be inadequately filled by the Pontiac G8 a decade later, and the Chevrolet SS/Caprice (if you could manage to get one as a civilian) after that.

As far as Cadillac is concerned, they are trying to make a large sedan again after a couple of unsuccessful attempts in last years. The CT6 is based on a bespoke platform and has styling that, in your authors opinion, finally manages to look like the large Cadillac sedan for the 21st century (the XTS got close, but it had odd proportions thanks to FWD) and, the Internet says, will soon be available with a 4.2-liter V8.

Wait, wait…I’m digressing again. Sorry, I am one of those guys; the ones that want to cling to the olden ways of doing things as everything gets downsized and yet fatter around us. Large American vehicles, especially, should make no apologies about their size. It’s not like they will sell in any meaningful numbers anywhere else anyway (Do you see many Impalas or Dodge Durangos sold in Europe?) This especially can be seen on hearses. Think about it, what does the modern hearse look like?

Umm…no. How dare you et cetera. What about the Cadillac version?

O…kay…Somebody should probably get that poor Caddy some cream for the swelling. anyone from Europe wants to chime in?


Well, whether this particular hearse is still doing its duty delivering the bodies of the unfortunate to their final resting place; or it’s the personal vehicle of the sort of person who is so desperate to become one of them that they already sleep in a coffin, it’s very nice to see it still running around. I mean, as we have seen, it’s not like hearses have gotten any better looking since Harold and Maude.