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Old 04-04-2009, 08:30 PM
Tony Karsnia Tony Karsnia is offline
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Default Hearse hunt!

Hearse hunting is something I used to do on a regular basis, especially on Saturday mornings. Over the years, this activity has become more infrequent due to other obligations and the fact hearses (and their color schemes) have become less camera-worthy.

This morning was like the old days, though, as my son and I took off in search of a particular hearse we just had to capture on "film" (digitally, of course.) We'd been invited over to our local hearse dealer, Baines Professional Vehicles, to examine, photograph, and test drive a new 2009 Eagle Cadillac Echelon hearse. My good friend, John Baines, knew I wouldn't want to pass up this opportunity since I had yet to see an Echelon in person.

I wasn't sure what impression the car would leave on me, and that's why I needed to see one in person before passing judgement. While I prefer limousine-style cars (oval window examples included), the Echelon is unique enough that I didn't feel pictures were adequate to form a true "love it or hate it" opinion.

In a word...two actually: "LOVED IT!"

While the absence of curtains in the side windows takes a little getting used to, the "open air" European concept is conveyed very well by Eagle's design of the Echelon. Not everyone is a fan of it, to be sure, but I think the car is pure class, especiallly with the smooth "metalback" top and "skylight" over the casket. Of course, it probably wouldn't be met with too much favoratism by those funeral homes still using a hearse for removals but, done properly, could still work very easily for that purpose as well.

This particular Echelon is a stock unit that will be doing a spring funeral directors' convention tour; North Dakota next week, Iowa the following week. As you can see, this car is black with a light gray interior, chestnut burl rear floor (which I think resembles grandma's antique furniture), urn enclave, lower stainless, flag staffs, and front strobes.

While my son, Mack, hung out with John, I was permitted to have some "alone time" with the Echelon in the way of a road test and photo session. Let's just say I had a hard time giving it back!

When I did return, something really neat happened. We had the Echelon parked out behind John's dealership garage (which is flanked by other businesses) where John, Mack, and I were examining some details, when the two sons of a neighboring businessman came over to check out the car. I would say they were probably ages 11 and 9. They asked a lot of (constructive) questions about the car and were given a complete "tour." What amazed John and I next was that the older one said, "This hearse is really cool. It's not scary at all like some hearses are." When we prodded him further as to why he felt that way, his answer centered around the windows and the brightness of the rear interior! SCORE!
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Old 04-04-2009, 08:38 PM
Tony Karsnia Tony Karsnia is offline
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Default More Photos...

A new hearse that even the kids like. Gotta love it!
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Old 04-04-2009, 09:30 PM
Dave Simon Dave Simon is offline
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I'm looking at the reflection of the building in one of the pics...the roof shell seems less wavy than the roofs of our Superiors, even in white the waves are evident on ours. What was your impression of the overall build quality? Any thoughts about that skylight leaking later?
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Old 04-04-2009, 11:55 PM
Tony Karsnia Tony Karsnia is offline
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Dave,

I was paying special attention to the roof, wondering how many "waves" would be evident. I'm happy to say it looked very good. I don't know if it would be possible to get a flawlessly perfect outcome on one of these, but based on what I saw today, I'd buy one.

The build quality was excellent, as we've come to expect from Eagle. I was impressed by the fit, finish, and details. As with any hearse, there are things that can be picked apart, but I'd say they did a fine job here. The skylight design looks good to me, but I guess only time will tell with possible leakage. The car, including the rear interior, was tight with no rattles or creaks when I took it for a ride.

The same goes for our own 2007 Eagle Lincoln Ultimate Elite hearse. We've had it for 17 months now and have just over 7,000 miles on it. We are completely satisfied with the car in every way.
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Old 04-05-2009, 10:25 AM
Dave Simon Dave Simon is offline
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I see what look like rain gutters high on the roof...is that a multi-piece roof or just indentations in a one piece unit? I really like Eagle's cars, but they're few and far between around here.
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Old 04-05-2009, 12:03 PM
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John ED Renstrom John ED Renstrom is offline
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I have to say they really need to do somethig different with the roof. it still lookes like something carved out of bulsa and fit to the back of a sedan. or maybe it's the rear window that gives it that look. had they matched the back edge of the glass with the rear line of the hatch instead of the front door it would flow better. the fixed sky light should not be a problem if they used todays glue in methed. there would be nothing to shrink to cause a leak. the bar needs some knobes it lookes like a airplane propeller spinning. GM's new shark fin onstar needs to go to. as for the inside you can't do a lot about the spring towers. short of redoing the supension back to a leaf spring. but for me the wood floor needs plank lines scribed in it. it's two much. good thing they don't have me hired on as a desiner. no one could affard it. still its the best looking coach I have seen pictures of in a long time. thanks
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Old 04-05-2009, 12:06 PM
Mike Stevens Mike Stevens is offline
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Wink Wow!!

I saw one of these at a local funeral a month ago. Being it was in service at the time of sighting I went on down the road. I did note that the plates on the service car at the front of the church lot belonged to a local FH. The side window treatment is what caught my eye. I really like this coach. Of course it should be said that my 'club car' is a limo style. So maybe I am partial.
This is one coach I think many of us will be wanting when the first owners to think trade in time has come.
Mike
61MM

Last edited by Mike Stevens; 04-05-2009 at 12:16 PM. Reason: to ad info
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