Big news that nearly all of you didn’t expect….

This entry was posted by on Monday, 30 January, 2006 at

No Jean is NOT preganant. (as I’m sure some of you would think that after reading the Subject of this entry. Fear not on that front.

Aside from browncolleen, and my lovely wife siobhan_genie of course, I don’t think any of my LJ friends knew we were looking for a new car. Well, not a new car per se’, but rather an old car that is new to us.

Yesterday, Jean, I, and our good friend John (playing the part of my “Mechanic”) drove up to Burbank to to view a car we had found on the intar-web-net-thing. You see, the kind of vehicle we were looking for is a bit “specialized” in nature and not commonly found at used car lots or even with private sales (pretty much a “single purpose” vehicle. They are fairly rare to find within local driving distances, though they can be found in slightly greater abundance on the web.

When we arrived at the parking garage (where the vehicle is stored), we had to make our way to the top floor to get to the car. This had to be the coolest ride through a parking structure I had ever taken simply due to the anticipation of what was at the top… and we weren’t disappointed. Every turn we made we could feel the anticipation grow, until we finally reached the top and saw two rows of 10 vehicles each lining the structure.

We parked the Benz, and made our way over to greet the seller, who has set up a business as a kind of clearing house for these vehicles. A small business to be sure, but renting the top space of a parking structure is exactly the right business move for him to make, being in Burbank where parking is a bit of a premium.

He immediately told us that he hadn’t started the vehicle with the single intent of allowing us to see and hear it start cold after having sat in the same place for over two months. (He had acquired the vehicle in the beginning of December.) It took two tries, but started up with a fair amount of ease for a 1984 vehicle that had been sitting unused for two months.

He pulled it out for us so we could inspect it in the light and with some room around it so we didn’t ding the other vehicles it was parked between. At this point John and I began the rigorous inspection necessary to make sure we weren’t getting in over our heads. Mind you, this inspection took us a good hour to complete. We went over everything we could visually inspect with a flashlight and proverbial fine-toothed comb.

Obviously, the vehicle is going to have some issues, but we found it had far less than I had expected and only a few points of consideration. For the price, however, it can’t be beat.

We did find that it will need a real mechanic to take a look at a small leak in the transmission, though we believe it is only a gasket issue, along with some body rust which will be taken care of when we repaint it. Aside from those two major points, the rest of the vehicle looks to be in decent mechanical condition, a fact which was substantiated when I took it for a spin around the parking structure. Even though the tranny has a small leak, it wasn’t slipping at all, which is a good sign. And the power steering is “to die for”. Feather touch is all it takes to turn the vehicle. Less pressure than the Benz even!

Jean and I figured that for the $1900 asking price, it was well worth the gamble. After all, if it doesn’t work out, we can take it as a write off for our taxes next year and donate it, or even recoup our expenses plus some by parting some of it out on eBay. There is a bit of front end damage, but the good news is the vehicle comes with the full replacement front end, so it is just a matter of bolting everything back on. The upholstery also needs some deep cleaning, but it should spiff right up…

Like I said, it does need some work, but nothing that is too substantial that we can’t deal with, and it is in very drivable condition right now, so getting it home won’t even be an issue. With that realization, Jean and I committed to buying this project car:

You can see the extent of front end damage here:

And here:

Plus the side/rear view here:

And of course the inside rear view that EVERYONE wants to see:

Yes, we bought a hearse. In fact, I just confirmed the deal this morning (after dealing with a lame hiccup with the bank) and we go back up to Burbank next Saturday to pick her up and hand off the cashier’s check to Doug, the seller.

Doug, by the way, is an amazing salesman. He was kind enough to give us room to inspect and talk amongst ourselves, and courteous enough to talk about the faults of the vehicle without any real personal attachment to it all. He is a true business man through and through. I highly recommend him. If any of you all are in the market for a hearse or a limousine, Doug Scott is your guy! His inventory can even be found online: http://www.funeralcars.com/

Of course, the true fun is yet to come… not only does it need some work before we can drive it longer distances (like to Estrella war coming up), but at some point we will have to deal with our neighbors and families “disapproval”. Amusingly, however, in my particular case my mother’s disapproval is what started the whole thing. Had she not told me back in 1991 that owning a hearse was a “Stupid idea”, I probably would have moved past this phase and been just fine. As it stands, that just solidified the fact that I needed to own one, and now I am in a financial position where I can do just that. So here’s my thumb to my nose just for you mom. 😛
Jean, of course, has her own reasons for wanting one, but I’ll let her deal with that in her own LJ if she so decides. Suffice to say, it’s just too damn cool for words.

There you have it. I know this post was word-intensive and for that I apologize to the people on my friends list who don’t like to read… for the rest of you, I hope you think this new purchase is as cool as Jena and I do. Of course, if you don’t, well we understand that too. After all, hearse ownership isn’t for everyone. All I ask is that you understand our excitement and I promise I won’t make you ride in the back 🙂

14 Responses to “Big news that nearly all of you didn’t expect….”

  1. But there’s always room for one more….

  2. LOL Very cool! Can’t wait to see it in person 🙂

  3. OMG! 🙂

  4. Heeee…. I’ll take that as a good OMG! 😉
    Can you imagine rolling into war with this and upacking from the rear? If anyone group in the world can appreciate this, it has GOT to be SCA folk! I’m taking bets on how many people will ask us if we’ll be camping in the back at Estrella.

  5. I absolutely love you guys. I knew from the moment you said you were looking for a car that was “specialized” in nature that it was a hearse. At the LA auto show last year someone had the most wicked hearse that had purple crushed velvet interior and an actual organ in the back. It was amazing. I’m envious, although to be honest, I don’t think I have the constitution to own one for myself. I’m excited to see yours though!

  6. If I owned a hearse, I’d paint it white and change my name to Egon Spengler.

    Does it smell of dead people?

  7. Nope – it appears all the dead that hitched a ride were properly embalmed and sealed in their coffins. However, it does look like a large cup of coffee was spilled on the passenger seat 🙂

  8. You suck!!!

    I hate you I hate you I hate you!!

    Can I have a ride in it when we come out in March?!?!? Can I take it for a spin around the block?!?!?!

    You suck!!

  9. You don’t hate us…. you’re just jealous. And that’s okay. We’d be jealous of you if the tables were turned 🙂
    And of course you can have a ride! In the front seat even. I may even let you drive it…

    And don’t hate us. It is going to cost us a bit to get it to a proper state. And you COULD get one of your own ya know. Ebay is a great thing. Or just come out and buy one in March from Doug 🙂

  10. You would… see the difference here is that this is a 1984 Cadillac hearse which looks NOTHING like the ghostbuster’s ambulance (which was grey if I remember correctly). 😛

    Besides, white is to sterile. Hearses should be black.

  11. Can’t wait to show it off! 🙂

  12. And we love you too… In researching hearses, I found a number of vehicles that were UNBELIEVABLE! Some of the more custom ones are really cool, while others are just gaudy.

    And who knows, you may just have the constituton it takes… I still don’t know if I do. But we’ll find ou tsoon enough 🙂

  13. Fine! I don’t hate you. I’m a crazy jealous girly.

    I think I may convince Tom that a Hearse would be a perfect 2nd car!!

  14. They really are the perfect secondary vehicle. It’s the goth station wagon: tons of cargo room with tons of character! Who WOULDN’T want one??? 🙂
    Just start doing the reaserch online and you’ll find yourself owning one in no time… that’s what happened to us!

    I found two great resources:
    http://www.professionalcar.org/ (registration IS required for the forums)
    http://members.aol.com/hearseq/

    Happy hunting 🙂 (am I enabling you enough or do I need to try harder?)


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