Airstream Funeral Coach: A Hearse Made Worse

Note: My buddy Tony LaHood emailed me yesterday and said, “Hey, how about running this for Halloween?” Who am I to argue? -TK

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According to Airstream, the funeral coach consolidated the duties of the hearse and lead limousines in one convenient, fuel-saving vehicle (the latter as opposed to two gas-guzzling 7-passenger limousines and a flower car). As it turned out, the Airstream Funeral Coach was DOA; a resounding failure in the marketplace, it was the first and last flirtation with the RV as a professional car.

13 Replies to “Airstream Funeral Coach: A Hearse Made Worse”

  1. AvatarCompaq Deskpro

    The whole point of a funeral is to be an expensive time and space consuming tradition, so yes, this completely misses the mark.

    Most of the funeral home fleets around me consist of various luxurious American cars, XTS, ugly MKT’s, Buick Enclave, any full size SUV GM or Ford, but also some surprises, like Honda Odyssey and a Kia crossover, forgot which one.

    Reply
      • AvatarCompaq Deskpro

        No offense intended, I find the Mustang II to be a fairly good looking car, and would been better remembered if it weren’t for the wheezing 4 cylinder and came equipped with a 351W, but good luck finding anyone who would agree with that. I’ve had people tell me the Dodge Charger is hideous and hooks like a 50’s Kustom. I love them but I can see the resemblance.

        I have respect for the platform, it seems to be the first FWD police car platform that actually does the job, note how some beaten 2011 Crown Vics are patrolling while even later Impalas are mostly gone. The twin turbo V6 has few problems barring a high mileage water pump and carbon fouling from short trips, common to all direct injection engines. The rest of the sixes are business as usual. Ford did good on these.

        The whale grill works okay on the MKS and MKZ, the T-bird looking rear end is a cool feature, but I still have a hard time with the MKT. I’m going to have to go back and read about why you bought this over the Flex.

        Reply
        • AvatarCarmine

          In Miami I still see FWD Impalas in police duty regularly, even the 2000-2004 big round tailight ones, I saw one yesterday in fact, so its seems my anecdotal evidence is countering your anecdotal evidence…….but hey.

          Reply
        • AvatarJohn C.

          I think it is clear that GM conquered the FWD in heavier duty service worry. A benefit of offering high torque V6s at the beginning.

          What this Airstream fails at most obviously is the idea that the dead should be treated with any sort of reverence for a life well lived. At it’s heart, that is why a memorial is something that would be spent up on. There is no dignity it traveling to a final rest with your loser relatives on a j shaped sectional while your corpse lies in a pez dispenser.

          Reply
  2. AvatarStephen

    Back in the ’80s and a little earlier, the funeral industry was concerned that Cadillac and Lincoln were no longer going to make big, frame on body cars. There was serious concern that they would no longer have suitable funeral conveyances, so they put out the word that they were looking for alternatives. This was actually one of many different prototypes that popped up.

    Remember, this was before the SUV. All of our future cars were going to be front driver, fuel misers. On of my regrets from the era is that I bought a Cavalier Z-24 instead of a 5.0 Mustang. The Cavalier was a fine car, but I could have had a V8. In the mid-eighties, all of the experts were predicting constantly increasing gas prices. 30 mpg vs low 20’s was very appealing. Of course, GM did not have a 5 speed overdrive, so I had to make do with a 4 speed

    –Stephen

    Reply
    • AvatarCarmine

      They did convert to FWD hearses for several years, starting from 1985 and up Cadillac offered a FWD commercial chassis that was used to make hearses, they were unibody and FWD and they were able to handle hearse duty, it never stopped offering the RWD Brougham with a hearse/limo upfitter option either. Today all hearses are pretty much FWD, Cadillac hearses have been FWD and unibody exclusively since the RWD Fleetwood was dropped in 1996.

      Reply
  3. Avatarrambo furum

    Can anyone tell if that rear section is open to the flowers in the rear or is that a mirrored panel?

    Some people have turned these into sleepers, putting mattresses in the casket section.

    Reply
  4. AvatarCarmine

    I think the other hard sell on this was the casket riding along with the family, the hearse and limo combo puts a certain distance between you and the stiff that I guess makes some people more comfortable. There are some hearses in Europe that have seating like a station wagon and then a long compartment in the back for the casket.

    Reply
  5. Avatar-Nate

    Even my Foster boys don’t like this .

    It’s weird to be sure but one never knows what the American public will decide is nice .

    -Nate

    Reply
  6. AvatarJ E Farrell

    I had the unfortunate experience of selling these coaches while employed by Airstream. I most likely drove the same unit in the picture on sales calls to funeral homes throughout the Midwest.

    Fun times.

    Reply

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