View Full Version : 1947 Isenhoff DeSoto Dualance

Steve Lichtman
12-31-2014, 12:59 AM
Now here's something unusual. A 1947 Isenhoff DeSoto Dualance. (It's like a Sedambulance, but made by another company.)

http://eastnc.craigslist.org/cto/4778067923.html (http://eastnc.craigslist.org/cto/4778067923.html)

This 1947 DeSoto Custom Sedan is a rare example of small town ingenuity from the 40s! The Isenhoff Company of Grand Rapids modified this car to served double duty as an ambulance when needed. The center post on the passenger side is removable just for this purpose.

Equipped with a Fluid-Drive semi-automatic transmission, this car has been retouched with new paint, windows, and upholstery that gives a slight nod to its potential use as a hearse. The window frames and dashboard were redone by a local veteran who learned the technique of painting woodgrain on his Navy commanders' metal desks during WWII. The original Straight 6 engine will start and run with some coaxing, and was driven occasionally about 8 years ago. It has about 60,500 miles on it.

I'm sad to see the car go, it just doesn't make sense to hold on to it for me anymore. It was my first car, and since it wasn't the most practical thing to take to college it has remained in the garage at my mother's house since I moved out. I just can't foresee ever having the space to take care of her the way she needs to be. I wish you the best of adventure in this car!

Located in Northeastern, NC

John ED Renstrom
12-31-2014, 01:09 PM
lot of teeth in that grill. but looks like a very solid car that just need a little tlc and to be driven. funny how you keep looking, and these different manufactures pop up.

Bill Marcy
12-31-2014, 03:13 PM
It looks very decent! It would certainly be a nice addition to a collection of De Sotos, or Procars/

Mike Stevens
12-31-2014, 04:55 PM
I did not see a break in the front seat. The jump seats say this one of many limo conversions for these late 40s Chrysler family cars. Just stating what I see here. If the experts can tell why this would also be a sedamulance style car I will bow to their wisdom.

Peter Grave
12-31-2014, 06:39 PM
Yellow Cab in Philadelphia had a fleet of this type car. They marketed the service as a Yellow Cabulance. Funny though the cars were dark blue. As far as this car goes with the removable center post it was at the start of its life an ambulance/invalid transport. The interior appears to be redone I do not think these cars came from Chrysler with two tone interiors. This car from the pictures sports what looks like a nice two tone inteorir. In ambulace form it would have a bucket or half drivers seat with the right side being open to fit a cot in. chances are a sedan seat was fitted to make the car more suited to everyday or show use when the interior was redone. Does look like a very nice (yes very slow) car that would turn heads in ambulace form at a show.

Steve Lichtman
01-01-2015, 01:31 AM
I'm with Pete, the black and purple seats are a give-away that the interior has been redone. That back seat in particular doesn't look like anything that came in a DeSoto of that era. Nonetheless, it's the removable B-post pillar that is the feature that makes this recognizable as having been a sedan ambulance.

John Royark JR
01-02-2015, 07:05 AM
funny how you keep looking, and these different manufactures pop up.

Very true. One reason this hobby (or lifestyle in some of our cases), is so great, just when you think you know most of the players another brand pops up. As always, learn something new about them every day. I like the "Dualance" name.
Anyone have more info on this company, or know how many they built? This is all I could find, and its not much. From coachbuilt.com: The Isenhoff Auto Rebuilding Co. of Grand Rapids, Michigan was one of the many firms who converted standard 7-passenger sedans in sedan-ambulances during the 1940s and early 1950s. Isenhoff placed a removable center-post between the two passenger-side doors and reinforced the door sills and sub-flooring as well as the chassis so the vehicle could accept the extra weight. Built using a Chrysler chassis and equipped with a Bogardner cot their "Dualance" ambulance cost half as much as a new LWB ambulance built by a major coachbuilder like Eureka.

Mike McDonald
01-02-2015, 08:14 AM
My 1st Pro-Car (at 15 years old) was a 1938 Buick Series 90 Limited (originally purchased new by Berry-Bell Mortuary as a family car) that was converted (in-house) by Our Local VFD in to a Sedan-Ambulance, so there were probably a lot of those around too?

Adam Borkat
01-02-2015, 09:36 AM
Posted elsewhere in the forums, but I believe it was a scan from an eBay auction awhile back for an Isenhoff brochure. If my memory's correct, this was the front cover of the brochure, which was a few pages.