Take a Ride with the Louisville Hearse Society

Come along for the ride as we expose the secrets of Louisville’s only coffin carrying club.

Spring is here and the open road calls. It’s time to roll down the windows and let the warm spring air blow through your hair on Saturday road trips or long Sunday drives through Kentucky’s winding country back roads. Car clubs from every state are planning cruising destinations across amber waves of grain and purple mountain majesties.

Louisville has always been a haven for car shows, like Carl Casper’s Custom Auto Show and the Annual Street Rod Nationals, and every summer the streets of the River City are cruised by Hot Rods, Rat Rods and custom choppers. Many of them are real head-turners, but few get the unique reactions commonly seen by members of the Louisville Hearse Society.

You’ve probably seen a few of these coffin cruisers out and about in the Ville; almost every haunted attraction in town owns their own hearse. Probably, the most famous hearse in town is the Caufield’s Novelty 1946 custom Cadillac Hearse which sits outside the costume and novelty shop on Main Street year round. Maybe you’ve seen the green goblin image on the Industrial Nightmare hearse or the Devil’s Attic hearse while in line at the drive-thru at McDonald’s.

This weekend I visited with a South End couple that run a club for hearse owners, collectors and enthusiasts in the Kentuckiana area. Meet Tony “Carleton” Hendricks and April Hack.

“We started talking about forming a club before we even bought our first hearse,” says Hendricks. “I officially started the Louisville Hearse Society sometime in either August or September of 2012, after we bought our first.”

Hendricks owns a 1973 Miller-Meteor Cadillac Fleetwood hearse/ambulance with a 472 cubic inch engine. “Not a lot of hearses get made per year, and a lot of them get scrapped for parts,” says Hendricks. “This one has all its original parts. A lot of people take out these old engines and use them for hot rods.”

“We were lucky to find this one. I paid $1,000 for it, and it just turned 40 years old, so it’s now considered an antique vehicle and its book value jumped up to around $7,500.”

So where does one go about finding a vintage hearse?

“You can look at eBay and Craig’s List,” says Hendricks, “but we bought ours from C-W Coach Sales in Cincinnati.” C-W Coach (http://cwcoach.weebly.com/) deals in both hearses and limousines.

“It was our one year anniversary,” relates April Hack. “Tony told me he wanted to take me for a ride, and that it was a surprise. I had no idea where we were going, but we ended up in Cincinnati and pulled into a lot full of hearses and he said, ‘Pick a hearse’!”

Hendricks grew up on a steady diet of early 80’s horror movies and always had an interest in the unusual, while Hack credits her mom and her childhood home for her eclectic interests.

“My mom was an x-ray tech, and we always had images of bones and skeletons around the house,” says Hack. “She had a clear bowling ball with a skull inside of it.”

“She also had a really unusual sense of humor,” she says. “She was missing the top of her index finger and that part of the bone looked rotted and kind of nasty, but she always made jokes about it. So I learned to laugh at things others might find weird early on.”

“We also had a 200 year old cemetery in our backyard, and you could see it from our pool.”

The Louisville Hearse Society currently has around 500 members that participate in meets and rallies both locally and around the region. It’s free to join and is open to enthusiasts as well as hearse owners. Check out their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/LouisvilleKentuckyHearseSociety/.

“It’s a whole lot of work and heartache,” says Hendricks about restoring and keeping a vintage hearse in good operating condition. Hendricks and Hack both say they enjoy taking their hearse out for charity events to raise money for organizations like Toys for Tots. Look forward to several such events during the summer, and especially around the haunting season. Stay tuned to the Louisville Hearse Society Facebook Page for details.

The Phantom of The Ville

Write a Review


Comments are closed.

  • www.dangerrun.com