This stunning hearse has just been delivered to the proud new owners!
Possibly the only RHD Superior of its type left in the world, this vehicle was imported new to Hamilton, New Zealand & used for many years.
It appears that for the RHD market, the Canadian Studebaker plant prepared the initial chassis & running gear & sent to Superior Coach in Lima, Ohio, USA for their process. This company is still active!
Superior lengthened the chassis to 164", and handbuilt a wooden framed, steel body to suit, modelling from the sedans original lines. Our coach was the top of the line President Straight 8, but others were available in the 6 cylinder specification. It also featured the sidroll system, where a casket can be loaded or unloaded from either side suicide doors, or via the side opening rear door.
Specifications include exterior as per restored car, but with modern running gear ex AU Falcon, including Intech OHC 4 litre injection 6, 4 speed automatic transmission, four wheel disc brakes, independant front suspension & rack & pinion power steering to make it usable by any modern car operator. Even the wheels & tyres are 100% authentic, but converted to falcon stud pattern, running 3" wide whitewall 650-16 Radial tyres!
All woodwork framing internally used in the body will be replaced by steel RHS. Lead used to load the seams during he initial build in 1937 is being sweated out & replaced with modern fillers, to ensure no shrink back & compatibility issues marr the coachwork.
The detail involved in keeping the look is astonishing. Such as the factory Studebaker steering wheel & gear lever, the Smartlock security system using Ford ignition key mounted into the original dash, original interior door & window winder handles..
This vehicle has now been hand delivered to Dempsey & Forrest in Wanganui, & the 400 km journey went without a hitch. Gordon reports it performs extremely well & is most happy.
We have added a raise /lower bed for the casket to be viewable through the side windows, and also converted the side opening rear door to a hatch style top hinged item. This will make loading & unloading with pallbearers a lot simpler, plus giving an element of weather protection during loading.