Dearly departed...

Call me weird, but given the money and space I’d make a classic hearse as my daily driver. I already have the somber disposition down pat, and when not sweating gravy during the summer I can pull off a black suit with some semblance of charm and poise. I’m no expert on the matter but by the looks of the fins and taillights I’d say this LEGO creation by Plastic Pauper is representative of a ’58 or ’59 Cadillac. That is some automotive excellence right there! The coffin is also well-built. The neat thing about hearses is that, for some of us, it marks the first and only time we get to ride in a fancy car. What, too soon? I’ll just let myself out now.


5 comments on “Dearly departed...

  1. Purple Dave

    That looks remarkably like a 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor Futura Duplex limo-style endloader combination car. Usually you see these set up as ambulances, but they have been known to be equipped for paranormal investigation.

  2. Purple Dave

    It’s close (hence my very specific identification of the base vehicle, which was copied from the Ecto-1 Wikipedia article, and my crack about “paranormal investigations”), but it’s slightly modified even beyond ditching the roof rack. With that gone, of course, the roof looks fugly, so this version has tiles and curved slopes in the center instead of naked plates. But even beyond that, the tail fins and taillights are different. The fins on Ecto-1 use sideways wedge plates to incorporate the angled line between the red and white bits, while this has a much cleaner look using sideways curved slopes instead. The rear fenders have been tweaked a bit, reducing the tile that partially covers the wheel from a 1×8 to a 1×6, and adding two studs of curved slope to the rear doors. The taillights have been switched from 1×1 cones to what appears to be the old light bulb cover on a 1×1 round plate (personally, I prefer the Brickforge fez-shaped light covers for 50’s era taillights, but that’s not a purist solution). And, of course, because this was set up as a hearse and not an ambulance, the rear side windows have been replaced with solid panels and a pneumatic T to represent the faux landau bars.

    If it wasn’t for the solid panels in the rear, or the casket parked next to it, I’d say this was just someone making the black car that Stantz rolls up in early in the Ghostbusters film. But, while people commonly associate the shape of the Ecto-1 with a hearse, back at the time when Miller-Meteor was custom-modifying cars, ambulances still used a similar shape. It wasn’t until the 1970’s that the American car chassis shrank until it was too small to accommodate this type of modification, and ambulances started being equipped to provide EMT service (which required a lot more space to fit the pile of gear they had to start adding) rather than just being a fancy taxi for the infirm. Only at that point did these get phased out in favor of the familiar van-style ambulances.

    I’m not sure what that has to do with this model, but I’m definitely familiar with that difference between eastern and western cultures. My first year in college, the group of people I hung out with decided it would be cool to start running an annual haunted house in the basement of our dorm. 3-4 years in, one of the rooms we added was to cover all the furniture in white bed sheets, have a bunch of people dress head-to-toe in white (including white facepaint, and spray-on hair color), and turn out all the lights in the room. Then we put in a single strobe light near the door where the customers would enter the room, set with a slow pulse between 1-2 flashes per second. We would move around in the room as the strobe was going off, and the result was that anyone walking into the dark room from the brightly lit hallway would see these solid white figures that would pop around the room in a random fashion. This worked spectacularly…right up until the moment we had a Japanese exchange student from our sister school walk into the room. She took one look at us and curled up in a fetal position in the corner next to the door she’d just walked through. We had to turn off the strobe light, turn on all the other lights, and come reassure her that we weren’t, in fact, evil spirits that were about to eat her soul or whatever. Only after we’d done that were we able to coax her back to her feet, and usher her towards the exit (where the person who would normally lunge out of the bushes with a bladeless circular saw had already been instructed to stand down and let this group through without any further scare tactics). We’d been told by a lot of haunted house aficionados that ours was better than any of the professional outfits in the area, but that’s the only time I can remember having to shut a room down like that, and it was all because of a weird cultural disconnect. I mean, that was one of our most successful rooms during the time that I was still active with the haunted house, and a lot of the American students were terrified by that room after having gone through the entire rest of the haunted house, but the worst cases usually either refused to walk into the room at all (fortunately there were exterior exits at either end of the room), or rushed to get through it as fast as possible. Up until that point, the worst reaction we’d had was when someone got her hand peed on in the maze. We used 2×4’s split in half and some stretchy cloth that we dyed “black” to build a “maze” (really, it was just shaped like an “M”, but there were _no_ lights on in the room so you had to feel your way through). The bottom foot was open, so people could hide behind the cloth and the idea (which we repeated time and time again) was that you were supposed to reach out and just brush their ankles with an open palm (this way you wouldn’t have to worry about tripping someone if they bolted, or getting your hand stomped on…which I think also happened periodically). And every year we’d have volunteers who just didn’t get it, and they’d grab ankles and shake them a bit. And one year, one of those volunteers got an object lesson in why you should do as instructed.

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