We’ve seen our share of Cadillacs converted to specialty vehicles over the years. While the name is associated with elegant luxury, the long wheelbase has made the basic design suitable for a number of different uses throughout its history. Among the most memorable is the Cadillac Flower Car. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, don’t feel bad. Cadillac didn’t take them off the assembly lines. Manufacturing experts converted selected Caddy models with the modifications to create a hearse, hence the name “flower car.” Now we look at the history and evolution of the Cadillac Flower Car.
What is a flower cart?
A flower cart is an automobile that emerged in the United States for use in the funeral industry. The vehicle carried coffins under a flower bed for funeral services. The design of the Cadillac Flower Car was inspired by the chassis used to make a hearse with a mid-rise body at the rear that resembles the bed of a pickup truck to create space for the coffin and flowers. Special liners for placing flowers and caskets held everything in place when used in formal funeral services. Hydraulic systems installed to raise and lower the bed on some models streamlined funeral processes. Other style flower carts relied on a manual lift and lower system according to Wikipedia. The first flower carts appeared in the 1930s, but not all funeral homes were able to find these luxury vehicles. Not many were built in the beginning. Flower carts were a special item that was handcrafted by specialized bodybuilders. They were made specifically for the funeral market. A few dozen went out a year. The flower cars emerging today are rarities considered highly collectible in the vintage and vintage car market.
Cadillac Florentine Flower Car / Hearse
In 1952, bodybuilders created the Cadillac S&S Florentine Flower Car / Hearse. This design was labeled a “coffin bearing model” as many featured integrated designs to carry flowers only. This special car was a flamboyant flower car built to carry flowers along with the casket at funerals for dignitaries, celebrities, and important personalities of all kinds. The shelves were made of wood or chrome and were built into the vehicle, supported by hinges made to display flowers around the casket. The 1950s was the climax of flower cars in terms of popularity. The flower car came in a selection of 2 traditional hearse styles including the limousine and the Landau. The interiors of these flower carts were lined with heavy curtains and mohair interiors.
The western style flower car
According to Classic Dream Cars, the western style featured an open space behind the passenger side of the vehicle, made to hold flower baskets. The flower display area was protected by stainless steel or canvas with the Tonneau cover held in place under or over the flowers.
The oriental style flower car
The oriental-style flower car was the more expensive option of the two. It comes equipped with an adjustable steel platform that is raised and lowered through a hydraulic system. Flower sprays were placed throughout the deck and held by ornate chrome rails to create an artistic display. He carried the flowers from the funeral home to the cemetery grave for an extravagant display. Both basic and deluxe versions of the oriental style flower car were available. Some featured specially designed wind guards to keep flowers in place in turbulent weather, and had a fake, hinged convertible top to quickly get them out of the way. The funeral home staff lowered the caskets with the help of the hydraulics, making their job easier and hassle-free. A flower cart served the same purpose as a hearse. Some flower carts were used only to carry flowers, according to the wishes of the family. The formal term for these vehicles was “Floral Funeral Trainer.”
Who built the Cadillac Flower Cars?
Cadillac was not in the business of modifying hearses, but there were many body builders who got into the practice of making hearses out of a Cadillac chassis. Specialty Hearse offers the conversion of your Cadillac into a modern version of the current Cadillac Flower Car. You can use a Cadillac chassis you own or choose from your fleet of chassis …