As the automotive landscape evolves, so does the traditional hearse.
We’ve devoted many digital pages at Motor1.com to the pursuit of epic #vanlife creations. Today we offer something a bit different, and though we’re tempted to label this grim project a #vandeath build, the demise of elegant sedans and big station wagons has unfortunately left a void in the transportation sector for mortuaries. SUVs are filling that role, but it’s impossible to overlook the ample interior space of a van. That leads us to this black Ford Transit which, on the outside at least, looks like a typical cargo carrier.
Inside, however, this Transit is fully equipped to carry dearly departed family and friends to their final destination. Creative Mobile Interiors in Grove City, Ohio carried out the conversion, and just to be clear, we’re not so morbid as to troll the internet looking for hearses. CMI handles everything from cool conversion vans to epic executive buses and mobiles offices, but admittedly this hearse conversion on the company's Facebook feed caught our eye as something different. That’s why we called them up for a bit more information because honestly, we’re all about #vanlife but we don’t know jack about afterlife accommodations.
Gallery: Ford Transit Hearse
Images courtesy of Creative Mobile Interiors
“We've done just about everything, but this was our first hearse conversion so we learned all about the industry and the special equipment needed," said Aaron Lane, CMI design engineer and marketing director. "The Transit came to us as a standard cargo van with windows; we added the insulated sides and ceiling, along with the custom cabinetry on the sides and floor fitted with rollers, stops, and hardware needed to safely transport caskets."
As for the hardware, Lane explained the two rows of rollers obviously let the casket roll easily in and out of the hearse. Two rows of rubber guides help support the casket while protecting the wood/vinyl floor. The three long strips in the middle are stops, with large metal pins that can be raised in various positions to secure caskets regardless of the size. The side cabinets are designed to hold a casket dolly, and to also carry flowers.
As for the very un-hearselike appearance on the outside, Lane said that's exactly how the customer wanted it.
"The owner has a fleet of typical hearses, Cadillacs and the like, but they can feel old and stuffy and people identify with them in a bad way," said Lane. "The owner wanted something that felt different, a more modern hearse without all the fluff. We spent about two weeks on this project, and more vans could be in store as older hearses are retired."
Death is never a pleasant thing, but we can see calming wisdom in this line of thought. It makes practical sense as well, since a van conversion is far simpler than performing structural changes to create a custom vehicle. And yes, for the road-trippers and outdoor-lifestyle folks, there's a neat symmetry in transitioning from #vanlife to #vandeath.