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					     HOOSIER
      TAILFIN
     OFFICIAL
     PUBLICATION
     OF THE
     INDIANA
     REGION
     CADILLAC -
     LASALLE
     CLUB
Directors
Bill and Mary Hedge
Indiana Avenue
La Porte, IN 46350
whedge@comcast.net
Deputy Director
Lars Kneller
3018 West Small Road                        February, 2009
La Porte, IN 46350
(219)-326-8830
cadtbird@aol.com              Under the Hood:
Secretary-Treasurer        From the Director           2-5
Barry Wheeler              Barn Update                 6-7
208 North Center Street    Outstanding Dues            7
Flora, IN 46929            Obituary                    7
(219) 967-3752             Newsletter Feature          8
Fltd6019@Embarqmail.com    Tom Hoczyk’s Article        8-131
Board Member at Large
John Madden
P.O. Box 51875
Indianapolis, IN 46251
(312)-543-4483
dmadden3@comcast.net
Editor, Hoosier Tailfin           Indiana Region Website
Doug/ Vicki Brinson
408 S. Cheryl Drive                      Address:
Muncie, IN 47304
(765)-284-1945 CORNER
 DIRECTOR’S                             INCLC.org
whitecaddy70@comcast.net


                                   1

                                         www.INCLC.org
DIRECTOR’S CORNER

New Newsletter Feature

         This issue of the “Hoosier Tailfin” contains the inaugural article of what I hope becomes a regular
feature. This feature is a “spotlight”, if you will, upon a member of the club. Tom Hoczyk has kicked
this feature off with the first half an excellent article that appears later in this issue. The second half of
Tom‟s article, which starts with the caption Eureka! Striking Gold will appear in the next issue of the
“Hoosier Tailfin”. Tom‟s enthusiasm and passion for his car and the hobby comes through very strongly.
Tom has indeed set the bar very high. Be forewarned, once you start reading Tom’s article you will not
want to stop until you have read the entire article. Although Tom‟s article is thirteen pages long, your
article does not have to be that long. I have already started on what will be my first contribution that will
appear later this year or next year. In my article, I will focus on our first Cadillac and subsequent articles
will focus on our other Cadillacs. This article will probably be less than one page in length. During our
emails between Doug Brinson, Tom, and myself, Tom commented on how he had been asked to write
this article for a different publication and that the gentle “nudges” that Doug and I provided were what he
needed to finally finish this task.

       During our emails I commented on what a great legacy this article could provide for family
members and future owners of the cars. Tom responded that, after thinking about it, he would place a
copy of the article in the cars for future owners to discover. I look forward to hearing about our members
and their cars in future issues. Thanks Tom!!

                                               Next Meeting

        Saturday the 18th of April, 2009 Tom and Melaine Taylor have arranged for the club to tour
Samara House which is a Frank Lloyd Wright house located in Lafayette, Indiana. Tentative plans call for
us to meet for lunch, then go to Samara House for a two hour tour and photo session of members and their
cars in front of the house. An article and picture of our cars in front of the house is scheduled to appear in
the local newspaper the following day. Tom and Melaine Taylor have also had preliminary discussions
with Purdue concerning attending all, or a portion, of the Purdue Grand Prix go-cart race and having our
cars on display at the race. This sounds like an exciting event since many of our members' interests
include all kinds of antiques, not just antique cars.

                                         Auburn Meeting

        Our January meeting was held on Saturday, January 10, 2009 at the Auburn, Cord Duesenbeurg
Museum located in Auburn, Indiana. Although the meeting was to commence at 10:00 a.m. CST, it was
much closer to 10:30 by the time most of us arrived and the meeting started. Lars Kneller, Mary
Hedge, Bruce Olsen, and I left in plenty of time to arrive on time, but snow and road conditions were
such that it took us over a half hour longer to arrive. The tentative plan was for me to drive. But it did not
take much arm twisting to convince me that it was much more prudent for Lars to drive in his four wheel
drive Avalanche. On the way to Auburn we saw numerous vehicles that had slid off the toll road and into
the ditch. The inclement weather did prevent Jeff Shively and John Madden and Doug and Vicki
Brinson from attending as all called and said that they had started out but were turning around due to the
inclement weather. Barry Wheeler, after seeing the weather forecast the day before, emailed me the
Treasurer‟s report and said that he would not be able to attend either.



                                                      2
        Upon our arrival we were met by Kent and Kari Shisler, Tom and Melaine Taylor, Beuford
Hall, and shortly thereafter Tom and Marlene Hoczyk. The meeting commenced by members
introducing themselves and telling us what cars they owned. The introductions included Bruce Olsen
discussing his forty years of owning a single point Cadillac dealership. Bruce indicated that he felt that
Cadillac will lower its number of dealers from the current 1,600 to about 420. Bruce reported that it was
his opinion that GM will eliminate the Pontiac and Saturn brands, and may sell or eliminate Hummer and
Saab. Bruce also feels there will no longer be any single point Cadillac dealerships.

       In Barry Wheeler’s absence, the Treasurer‟s report was given by Bill Hedge. It was moved and
seconded to transfer $1,000.00 from the club‟s CD into the club‟s checking account. This motion was
passed unanimously.

       Lars Kneller reported that several hundred dollars will also be deposited into the club checking
account as the 2009 dues come in.

         In the absence of Doug and Vicki Brinson, the Hoosier Tailfin report was given by Bill Hedge.
Bill Hedge stated that it would be nice to start a membership profile in each issue of the Tailfin. Tom
Hoczyk volunteered to write an article for the February issue and Tom Taylor volunteered to write an
article for the April issue of the Tailfin. Both individuals will write an article about themselves and their
car or cars and will submit the article to the editor by the end of the prior month. Volunteers will be
sought for subsequent issues. The Director will assign members if no one volunteers.

        The following slate of officers was presented for 2009, to wit: Director: Bill Hedge; Deputy
Director/Recording Secretary: Lars Kneller: Treasurer: Barry Wheeler; Editor, the Hoosier
Tailfin: Doug Brinson; Historian: Jeff Shively. It was moved and seconded to elect the presented
slate of officers. This motion passed unanimously.

       The 2009 Meeting Schedule was discussed at length with the following conclusions:

      March- event in West Lafayette to tour a historic home and the Purdue University Engineering
Department. Tom and Melaine Taylor responsible.

        May- event in Shipshewana to visit the Hudson Museum and perhaps the RV Museum too. Tom
and Melaine Taylor are responsible. This will be a joint event with the Hoosier Thunderbird Club, based
out of Ft. Wayne. Lars Kneller responsible.

       June 6- Buick, Olds, Pontiac, Cadillac & La Salle club meet in Kokomo.

       June 17-20- Grand National, Las Vegas, Nevada

       July- Dealer show in Indianapolis. Tom Taylor responsible

       August 12-15- National Driving Tour, Washington , D.C.

       September 4- Pizza Party at Pete Peters garage, Fort Wayne, IN (confirmation pending)

       September 6- Blueberry Festival Car Show, Plymouth, IN. Lars Kneller responsible.

       October/November- Indianapolis event, to be determined. Annual planning meeting


                                                      3
        Under the heading of Old Business, Tom Taylor distributed name tags and announced that name
tags are available for those who were not present at the meeting. Hoosier Badges of Indianapolis has
blanks available for future members.

       Lars Kneller reported that the first batch of region shirts had been received and that he needed an
order of twelve shirts to place a new order. Lars Kneller reported that he has seven orders pending. It
was moved and seconded to place an order for twelve shirts, and order five extra shirts of common sizes if
five more orders are not received shortly. This motion was passed unanimously.

        Under the heading of new business Director Bill Hedge announced he has appointed Jim Snell as
Webmaster for our region. The membership agreed wholeheartedly with this appointment and members
noted that Jim Snell has done a superb job. Lars Kneller and Bill Hedge plan to take training to help
with maintaining the web site. Bill reported that Jim requests that if he is sent pictures that they contain
identification as to what is pictured, who or who‟s car is in the picture, and where and when the picture
was taken. Pictures may be cropped to better fit also. In order to make the editing easier, Jim requested
that pictures be sent to him as an attachment rather than imbedding the pictures in the email. A member
asked if the site counts the number of visitors to the site and Bill stated he will find out and report at the
next meeting.

        Lars Kneller reported about a proposed national clunker law being proposed by Speaker Nancy
Pelosi to be included in an economic stimulus bill she will propose to the House. He encouraged all
members to contact her with their opposition.

        Under the heading of Good of the Order, Beuford Hall reported that he was finally paid by Kruse
International after a delay of several months, and only after threatening legal action.

       The meeting was subsequently adjourned and the members viewed the ACD Museum, NATMUS
Museum and enjoyed lunch at Mad Anthony‟s Tap Room in downtown Auburn. Due to the inclement
weather, we pretty much had the museum to ourselves.

       I want to give a big thank you to Lars Kneller for taking the minutes at this meeting. The minutes
were very helpful in preparing this report!

                                         Upcoming Events

       Saturday the 18th of April, 2009 Tom and Melaine Taylor have arranged for the club to tour
Samara House which is a Frank Lloyd Wright house located in Lafayette, Indiana. For more information
on Samara House see: http://www.samara-house.org. Tentative plans call for us to meet for lunch, then
go to Samara House for a two hour tour and photo session of members and their cars in front of the house.
There is to be an article and picture in the local paper the following day. Tom and Melaine Taylor have
also had preliminary discussions with Purdue concerning attending all, or a portion, of the Purdue Grand
Prix go-cart race and having our cars on display. This sounds like an exciting event since many of our
members' interests include all kinds of antiques, not just antique cars.

        May 22 to 24, 2009,- Northern Indiana Amish Country Tour. Tom and Melaine Taylor are
working on a tour of the Hudson Museum , Mennohof, which is an Amish and Mennonite information
center http://www.mennohof.org/ , possibly a stop for lunch or dinner at the Das Essenhaus restaurant,
followed by a visit to the RV Museum, on Saturday. Tom has reported that there is a hotel


                                                       4
http://www.countryinns.com/ShipshewanaIn and a water park www.splashuniverse.com right next to the
Hudson Museum and that this event will offer something for the whole family, including children and
grandchildren. Tom has indicated that his children and grand children are planning on making this a
weekend event. The fun would only be limited by your imagination. Those who have the time might also
want to come early and attend the Shipshewana flea market.

        Lars Kneller reported that this will be a joint event with the Hoosier Thunderbird Club based out
of Ft. Wayne, Indiana.

        June 6, 2009 The Buick, Olds, Pontiac, Cadillac & La Salle club meet and car show in Kokomo
next to the Elkwood Haynes Museum.

        June 17-20, 2009 Grand National, Las Vegas, Nevada See details at:
http://www.cadillaclasalleclub.org/

       July 11, 2009 Dealer show at Tutwiler Cadillac located in Indianapolis. Tom and Melaine
Taylor are in charge of planning this event. This event will include a cookout, show of our cars, and a
chance to view new Cadillac‟s up close.

        August 12-15, 2009 National Driving Tour, Washington, D.C. For details see:
http://www.cadillaclasalleclub.org/

       September 4, 2009 Pizza Party at Pete Peters garage, Fort Wayne, IN (confirmation pending)

         September 6, 2009 Blueberry Festival Car Show, Plymouth, Indiana. Lars Kneller is in charge
of this event.

        September 11-13, 2009 CLC Great Lakes Inter-Regional Meet Friday night picnic and mixer at
the hotel; Saturday car show at Taylor Cadillac, awards banquet; Sunday morning touring.

       October/November- Indianapolis event, to be determined. Annual planning meeting

                                             Website

        If you have not recently visited the Indiana Region website, do yourself a favor and do so. I would
suggest viewing the website at least weekly. Improvements are constantly being added. http://inclc.org/
If you have pictures of your car, please email them to our webmaster and member Jim Snell at:
jim@jims59.com. If you have suggestions for improvements, please contact us.

        Jim Snell requests that if he is sent pictures that the email contain identification as to what is
pictured, who or who‟s car is in the picture, and where and when the picture was taken. Pictures may be
cropped to better fit also. In order to make the editing easier, Jim requested that pictures be sent to him as
an attachment rather than imbedding the pictures in the email. A member asked if the site counts the
number of visitors to the site and Bill stated he will find out and report at the next meeting.

Respectfully yours,


Bill Hedge, Director


                                                      5
                                                Barn Update
                                                 Lars Kneller


It is truly a winter wonderland in northern Indiana! We had a brief stint above freezing right after
Christmas and our snow melted. I had removed the bad fillers, which necessitated removing its front
bumper, from the 77 Eldorado and delivered them to the body shop. I‟ll give him a call in late February
to make sure they aren‟t sitting in some dark corner of his shop forgotten. I took advantage of our brief
lack of snow to move that car into the cold barn, and move the 68 Eldorado into the heated shop. I want
to finish the under hood detailing I started a few years ago. At that time I got all of the engine done; now
to finish the fender well, radiator cradle, etc. To date, though, I haven‟t done anything other than look at
it!

The reason, though, is not because I have been idle. It started snowing again the week after Christmas and
now we have about a foot on the ground. The Lake Effect machine has been busy! As a result I‟ve been
spending some time snowmobiling. I live next to several corn and soybean fields (the latter are much
smoother), and take advantage of all the snow. One of my snowmobiles, a 2003 SkiDoo, last winter
started missing at high speeds and also the electric that powered the head and tail lamps didn‟t work
either. I took it in to my friendly neighborhood snowmobile mechanic and he diagnosed some electrical
component bad, but it was on triple super duty back order. To make a long story short the part didn‟t
come in until well after all the snow melted. This fall once the snow started to fly he got it all back
together, only to find it still didn‟t work right. It turned out he had to take it to the SkiDoo dealer to get it
“reprogrammed”. And you all thought our new cars are complicated- at least the car dealers can usually
get parts quickly. Nonetheless, for a price that approached what I paid for it (I bought it used, 3 years old,
at www.snowmobileauction.com- a good place to buy snowmobiles if you‟re interested), it is now back in
action, having spent 11 months in his shop! The only positive is I didn‟t have to store it last summer.

I did some more work on my wife‟s 69 Thunderbird. I was unsuccessful getting the clock to work, so I
sent it back to the place that quartz converted it and had already fixed it once since then, to be repaired
again. Region member Pete Peters (retired professional electrical engineer) was kind enough to look over
the car‟s wiring diagrams, but we still haven‟t found out why the cruise control and cornering lamps aren‟t
getting any power. I did manage to diagnose the HVAC‟s reluctance to go on high fan speed- a bad relay.
I dug through my mounds of extra parts and found an aftermarket electronic one, wired it up, and
viola!...it now works again! Speaking of Thunderbirds we are in the process of scheduling a joint meet
with the Hoosier Vintage Thunderbird Club on May 23, to see the Hudson and RV Museums, among
other activities. More details will be forthcoming.

Now, after all that rambling, back to Cadillac‟s! Progress continues on the 72 Eldorado convertible. I
finally got the rear fiber optics done, and as a result, the back seat is now in. I had broken a prong off of
one of my original T3 low beam headlamps, and got that soldered back on. I think 1972 was the last year
they said T3 on them, and it is in fine print at the bottom of the headlamp. The older ones are being
reproduced but I don‟t think the 1972‟s are. I had to put in one set of the front fiber optics and got that
done too. I got all the hardware installed on my hard boot. I was missing the round metal cover that sits
on top of the spare tire. I ordered one from Honest John in Texas. About a week after it arrived, I was
rummaging around in the trunk of my junkyard parts car 69 Thunderbird where I store extra wood for
projects, and low and behold, stuck up way in the back of the trunk shelf was the round metal cover I was
missing. How it got there I will never know! Nonetheless it is now sandblasted and primered, awaiting a
coat of satin black paint.


                                                       6
As of the day I type this (January 26, 2009) I have yet to receive 2009 dues from the following region
members: Allie, Ardizzone, Bliss, Buckley, Cruze, Gambs, Gretencord, Harry, Madden, Miller,
Pirkle, Prokes, Robinson, Schmahl, Troup.
If your name is on the list, please take a moment to write a check for $15 to IN Region CLC, and send it to
Lars Kneller, 3018 W Small Rd, LaPorte, IN 46350-7929. Thanks! See you at our next meeting!



                                             DARLENE E. RANDOLPH, 72, passed away Thursday,
                                             Jan. 29, 2009, at Canterbury Nursing & Rehabilitation.
                                             Born in New Haven, she was a Radiology Technician with
                                             Fort Wayne Radiology, retiring in 2001. She was a devoted
                                             wife, mother and grandmother, and her retirement years
                                             were devoted to the care of her loving husband, Larry of 50
                                             years. She was a member of Good Shepherd United
                                             Methodist Church. Survivors include her sons, Scott
                                             (Joanne) Randolph and Darrell (Charlene) Randolph, both
                                             of Fort Wayne, Dr. Todd (Laura) Randolph of Park City,
                                             Utah; grandchildren, Erica, Jena, Alyssa, Chelsea, Connor,
                                             Ally and Renae; great-grandchildren, Noah and Elijah;
                                             brothers, Jim (Wanda Jean) Strader of Fort Wayne and
                                             Darvin (Dorceil) Strader of New Haven; brother-in-law,
Ronnie (Val) Randolph of Fort Wayne; and nephew, James Randolph of Fort Wayne. She was preceded in
death by her husband, Larry Randolph; brother, Wayne Strader, and sister-in-law, Marjorie Strader.
Service is 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Good Shepherd United Methodist Church, 4700 Vance Ave., with calling
one hour prior. The Rev. Stacy Downing officiating. Calling also from 2 to 5 and 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday at
D.O. McComb & Sons Maplewood Park Funeral Home, 4017 Maplecrest Road. Graveside service is 11
a.m. Monday in Highland Park Cemetery. Memorials to Good Shepherd United Methodist Church.

Darlene was the wife of Larry Randolph. Larry died in 2006 of Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS). They had a
very nice 1955? Cadillac CDV and a 1976 Eldo Conv. They were national and IN region CLC members.
Larry and Darlene were the ones who sold the sweatshirts at the Interregional we hosted in Auburn in
1999. They were also at the 2002 GN in Dearborn with their '76.

 New Newsletter Feature This issue of the “Hoosier Tailfin "is the inaugural of what I hope becomes a
regular feature. This feature is a “spotlight”, if you will, upon a member of the club. Tom Hoczyk has
kicked this feature off with the first half an excellent article that appears later in this issue. The second half
of Tom‟s article, which starts with caption Eureka! Striking Gold will appear in the next issue of the
“Hoosier Tailfin”. Tom‟s enthusiasm and passion for his car and the hobby comes through very strongly.
Tom has indeed set the bar very high. Be forewarned, once you start reading Tom’s article you will not
want to stop until you have read the entire article. Although Tom‟s article is thirteen pages long, your
article does not have to be that long. I have already started on what will be my first contribution that will
appear later this year or next year. In my article, I will focus on our first Cadillac and subsequent articles
will focus on our other Cadillacs. This article will probably be less than one page in length. During our
emails between Doug Brinson, Tom, and myself, Tom commented on how he had been asked to write
this article for a different publication and that the gentle “nudges” that Doug and I provided were what he
needed to finally finish this task.



                                                        7
        During our emails I commented on what a great legacy this article could provide for family
members and future owners of the cars. Tom responded that, after thinking about it, he would place a
copy of the article in the cars for future owners to discover. I look forward to hearing about our members
and their cars in future issues. Thanks Tom!!


                                    My Cadillac Story
                                    Tom Hoczyk, Fort Wayne, Indiana

Most Indiana Chapter CLC members know that my collection consists primarily of vintage funeral
vehicles. Without a doubt, the most common question I‟m asked is “Why….?” Why would I choose to
collect cars so closely affiliated with death? It‟s actually a difficult question to answer, because those who
know me well, know that I‟m a car lover first, and appreciate the custom craftsmanship of funeral cars
after that. My dad was an ardent car-guy, and the apple doesn‟t fall far from the tree. I was brought home
from the hospital in a ‟48 Buick Roadmaster, which dad impeccably maintained. I vividly remember his
Saturday afternoons washing the car prior to Mass on Sunday. He next purchased a ‟57 Special, then a
‟67 Skylark in which I learned to drive, have since fully restored, and still own. I came to appreciate
beautiful cars at a very early age.

When I was quite young, in the mid-„60‟s, mom and dad took my sister and me with them to shop at
Topps Department Store in Berlin, Connecticut. As we pulled into the store‟s parking lot, we‟d always
pass by what was once an old gas station. Parked there, near where the pumps would be, was what turned
out to be a 1950 Eureka-bodied hearse. It was big, black, shiny, and full of chrome. It always caught my
eye, partially because of paintings of an exploding dynamite stick on the sides of the car.

In 1969, when I finally got my driver‟s license, my curiosity got the better of me, and I drove dad‟s ‟67
Skylark to Berlin to check this car out, close up. One of the first things I observed about the ‟50 hearse
was its amazingly good condition. I walked around it, noticing the metal fender script saying “Eureka”. I
had heard of Coupe de Villes, Eldorados, etc., and figured that Eureka was the division of General Motors
that made funeral cars. It goes to show how little I knew! Secretly, I craved owning that car, but never
shared that thought with anyone, least of all my parents, who would have probably sent me for psychiatric
evaluation.
Many years up the road, however, my memory of that car was strong. I had since moved from college in
Boston to Indiana, and set out to track down the „50‟s owner. I phoned a friend of my dad, who was a
police officer in Berlin. It took him only moments to tell me the name and phone number of the owner…..
Ravizza Blasting, owned by Ronald Ravizza. I phoned Mr. Ravizza and he graciously spent time telling
me that he bought the ‟50 from Parks Superior Sales, a New England hearse dealer, which had taken the
car in trade from a funeral home in Maine. The price: $500.00. Mr. Ravizza and his brother were in the
business of imploding buildings, and used the old hearse to haul dynamite to blasting sights. Along came
OSHA, instructing him to cease and desist such transport, so the car sat idly by his office. A brake line
had rusted through, which explained why the car rarely moved from its parking space by the fuel pump.
Ultimately, Ronald‟s brother nagged him to get rid of it, and the car was crushed.




                                                      8
Mr. Ravizza told me he regretted that move. It was a very sad day for collector car hobbyists, as I know
of no surviving duplicates of that car.




It‟s probably appropriate for me to share that General Motors built a very special Series 86 “commercial
chassis”, to be made available to independent coachbuilders. Prior to WW-II, the number of
coachbuilders numbered well into the teens, and subsequent mergers and failures reduced the number to 6
or fewer. GM built a chassis with a 156” wheelbase, with a Cadillac front end, up to the windshield, and
nothing but a frame to the rear of that…. not even a seat. A wooden crate with “ship loose” items such as
trim was strapped to the frame and served as a seat to get the cars driven off the delivery trucks. These


                                                    9
chassis were trucked to the coach builders, each of which was in fierce competition with the other, and
had their own designs, trying to appeal to funeral directors.

                                            FIRST HEARSE

The desire to own a hearse never left me, with, of course, a „50‟s Eureka being the Holy Grail. To my
dismay, it seemed that such a car just didn‟t exist, and if it did, it wasn‟t for sale. In 1990, my good
friend, CLC Member Paul Cichon phoned me to say that Gleeson Mortuary in Torrington, Connecticut
was selling a 1967 Superior Cadillac with a 3-way side-loading casket table. Paul drove the car for me
and sent photos. Shortly thereafter, I flew to Connecticut to bring the car back to Indiana. I had resigned
myself to the fact that I‟d never own a Eureka, so I set out to make this car very showable and comfortable
to drive, adding air conditioning, cruise control, and a good radio. Despite being Cadillacs, the radio-
delete option was common on Commercial chassis cars.




                                            FIRST EUREKA

Two years later, a 1963 Eureka hearse-ambulance combination was offered for sale in Hemmings. It was
no charmer, but showed potential, and it was a Eureka, from the original factory in Rock Falls, Illinois. I
flew to Minneapolis and drove this car back to Indiana, stopping in Rock Falls to visit where the car was
built. Retired Eureka chief engineer Walt Cassens took me to the location of the

Eureka factory, which closed in 1964, and was now nothing but a crumbling concrete foundation on First
St., alongside the Rock River, in Rock Falls. Walt remembered the car well, having sold it new to a
funeral home in Sister Bay, Wisconsin. The original color was a beautiful steel blue, but since repainted
to a horrible tan. The interior, however, was original, intact, and not damaged. Having three old cars
now, the collecting bug had definitely bitten.




                                                    10
                                         LOVED AND LOST

Along the way, several vintage funeral vehicles captured my checkbook‟s attention, and were
subsequently sold because, surprise-surprise, they weren‟t Eurekas. Among them was a very nice 1965
Miller-Meteor hearse ambulance combination, and an equally nice 1968 Superior end-loading hearse, in
gold, with black crinkle paint top. A decent 1966 Miller-Meteor combination also graced my driveway
for a short while.




                                                  11
As we all crave fins, I was very fortunate to find and purchase a glorious 1960 S&S (Sayres & Scoville)
hearse with only 20,000 miles on it, owned by a small West Virginia funeral home. On the return trip
from a Florida vacation, I diverted to check out this car, which turned out to be even nicer than photos
showed. I had it trucked to Indiana and showed it proudly for quite a few years. The 1960 was a real
attention-getter, and was the car Marlene and I exhibited at our very first CLC Grand National, Chicago,
1997. The magnificent ‟60 left the 1967 Superior and 1963 Eureka in storage much of the time, and the
1967 was ultimately sold to an individual in Memphis, Tennessee.




                                     THE TRAIL GETS WARMER

In late 1994, my friend John Ehmer of Pittsburgh was offered a 1960 Eureka endloading hearse by a
funeral home in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The asking price made John lose interest, but knowing my
fondness for Eurekas, he mailed the VCR tape he had received, which showed the car in detail. My first
reaction upon seeing the tape was “UGH! The car is GREEEEEN!” The asking price made me wince, so
I filed the tape beneath my television set. Perhaps six months later I played the tape again, and my heart
had softened to the dark forest green color of the car. I decided to phone Graham Mortuary and chat with
them about it. After a long conversation, it was emphasized that they didn‟t want the car turned into a
low-rider, cruising the streets of Las Cruces. I was able to convince them that Fort Wayne Indiana was far
enough away that they didn‟t have to worry about that, and we came to terms on a more reasonable price.




                                                   12
I dispatched a truck to retrieve the car in June 1995. Despite a few years of neglect, it had always been
garaged, was immediately driveable, and showed great promise. Of course, it was wonderful that it had
fins, but just as importantly, it was a Eureka! Subsequent research shows it to be among 4 remaining ‟60
Eureka Landaus, one of which is in Australia. The car made its first public debut at the Professional Car
Society International Meet, that year in Fort Wayne. Multitudes of envious eyes were upon the car as it
slowly entered the show field. Lots of mechanical work has since been done to the car, as well as adding
factory air conditioning, including all the stock dash controls and ductwork. It was driven to the Saratoga
Springs Grand National in 2003, and the Des Moines Grand National in 2005.




It‟s appropriate to mention that professional cars are made in three typical styles. Limousine styling
denotes that there are windows completely around the car, as in the old style Cadillac ambulances.
Landau styling means the back panels are filled in, and “laudau bars”, representing stylized carriage top
hinges, decorate the panels. The last, and most coveted style is Carved Panel, with actual wood carvings
on the side of the car, depicting large glorious draperies. Carved panel hearses all but disappeared after
WW-II, and limousine style hearses faded quickly after the „70‟s demise of the automobile-based
ambulance. Currently, laudau style hearses are most predominant.
My 1967 Cadillac Superior had been sold by this time, and my sadly neglected 1963 Eureka hearse-
ambulance combination received a new lease on life after being purchased by funeral director Joseph
McDonald, in Eureka‟s home town of Rock Falls, Illinois. Joe has painstakingly restored the ‟63 to its
original beautiful steel blue color, and it‟s currently a front-line car in his funeral business.




                                                    13
                                   “ EUREKA! ” STRIKING GOLD

A dinner at the previously-mentioned Chicago Grand National was to change my car collecting life
forever. Marlene and I shared dinner with CLC Member Larry Dunn and his wife Ardelle. They winter
in Phoenix, and Larry told me that he had been approached the previous winter to buy a 1954 Eureka
hearse. Larry‟s conversation with us continued on another subject for a few moments before I abruptly
stopped him to ask more about this supposed 1954 Eureka. After describing the car further to me, and
with me still not believing such a car even existed, Larry stated that if we met him for breakfast the next
morning, there was a chance that he had a photo of this car that he could show me. As I excitedly
approached the restaurant for breakfast, Larry made good on his claim. It was not a very detailed photo,
but showed the key elements that confirmed that, indeed, it was a 1954 Eureka hearse. I checked with
Larry to be sure that he didn‟t have an interest in purchasing the car, and he said that he‟d gladly help put
me in touch with the current owner.

The old ‟54 was originally delivered to Eureka‟s dealer in Los Angeles, and driven around Arizona in an
effort to be sold. The big black car was shown to funeral director Edward Murphy of Whitney & Murphy
Funeral Home in Phoenix, who said “I like the car, but our company color is white.” The salesman,
George Hubbard, said, “If you buy the car, we‟ll make it white for you.” Thus, a brand new gorgeous
black Eureka was repainted white, and remained that way until the day it was delivered to Indiana.

In 1968, a young man from Phoenix was killed in the Viet Nam war. This 1954 Eureka was used for his
funeral. Many years later, the funeral home had retired the old hearse, and the brother of the soldier
wanted to own the car that carried his brother to his grave. “John” began restoration in earnest, collecting
some NOS mechanical parts and having the front seat recovered. Sadly, John suffered from a manic-
depressive condition, and one day ended his own life. A long telephone conversation with John‟s 42-year-
old widow led her to part with the car for the same $5000 that John had originally paid for it. The Holy
Grail car had been found and purchased.

Taking funds from a rising stock market, full restoration was begun. I like to tell people that I did the
“bull work” of the restoration. I removed all the chrome and trim, and reassembled the car after
repainting. I pulled the engine and transmission and sent them out for rebuilding. The extra coat of white
paint actually helped to preserve the metal. The naked body was bead-blasted to remove all paint, down


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to the metal. The tech who did the work was totally amazed that when he completed the bead blasting,
there was no rust on the car.




As the original black crinkle-paint roof had been repainted white, I feared I‟d have to depart from
originality by having the roof be gloss-black, which was still a legitimate Eureka option. A chance visit to
a truck show at the Fort Wayne Coliseum led to the roof being sprayed with black Rhino Lining
rubberized bed liner, with the spray being adjusted to create a similar crinkle paint effect. This, I
reasoned, not only looked good, but would provide maximum roof protection. The car was trucked to the
body shop, where the rust-colored sealer coat was applied to the bare steel body. Another truck trip
brought the car to the home of my friend Jim Smallwood, who had totally rebuilt the engine, and
reattached the rebuilt transmission. We installed the engine into the car, and with minimal difficulty, had
the engine running in the car. For the first time, the car drove under its own power back to the body shop
for final black finish.




                                                    15
No rechroming was necessary, and I very delicately reassembled the bumpers and remaining chrome and
stainless trim. After lots of vacuuming of plastic bead blasting media, the interior was reassembled. The
original interior material was still in amazing condition, but it bothered me that there was a slight color
difference between the fabric of the front seat and the side trim in the rear compartment. Thus, the
maroon mohair in the rear compartment remains original, and the tan trim was changed to match the seat.
Minor subsequent improvements were made, but the car is now one of the gems of my collection.




                                                    16
                                         THE “FLOWER POT”

One of the stars of the 1988 Professional Car Society International Meet in Decatur, Illinois was the 1953
Eureka Flower Car owned by Robert “RF”. Parsons. Just seeing that flower car was like a dream, and I
never imagined being able to own it. I befriended RF during that meet, and we remain good friends to this
day, despite RF now being 90 years of age. Initially, RF rebuffed any and all overtures at anyone
purchasing that car from him, but patience and gentle hints lead to a wonderful surprise one day in
December 1999. At a traditional Christmas party held in Chicago, RF pulled me to the side and said that
Harrah‟s Museum wanted the flower car. My heart sunk to my shoes. “But,” he said, “I don‟t want them
to have it. I want the car driven and shown.” With that, RF explained how he knew I would love and care
for the car, and knew that my storage building was fitting for a long rust-free life of the car, and agreed to
sell it to me for what Harrah‟s had offered. Needless to say, it was a princely sum, but on the ride home
after the Chicago party, Marlene and I agreed that the car was worth it. Thanks again to the bullish wave
of the stock market at the time, I was able to phone RF and come to terms. He even agreed to meet me
half way between Fort Wayne and Chicago with the car, and even my mother and father, still alive at the
time, accompanied us to Valparaiso, Indiana.
We all enjoyed lunch at the Strongbow Inn, and I drove the flower car for the very first time. As it is the
only surviving example of a 1953 Eureka, and being a flower car, it attracts attention wherever it goes.
Especially at stop lights, I‟m always asked “What is it?”, or, “Did you chop it yourself?” It even won 3rd
place in the Peoples‟ Choice category for „50‟s cars at Motor Muster, Greenfield Village, in Dearborn,
Michigan in 2007.




                                                     17
                        SOJOURN TO AMBULANCES AND LIMOUSINES

My friend Tony Karsnia of Minneapolis had for sale a 1976 S&S “Professional” Ambulance, in very
decent condition. As it came from the same coach builder as my ‟76 S&S Victoria hearse, I thought it
would be neat to have a matching ambulance. It was a fun car, but in the end, I didn‟t have the attachment
to it that I did for the funeral cars. After a couple years, it ended up getting sold somewhere in the
Wichita, Kansas area.

The 1954 Series 75 limousine is a slightly different story. It was originally from Reno, Nevada, got sold
through the Barrett-Jackson Auction, and ended up in Toronto, from which it came to me via eBay. It was
a classic example of a “10-foot car” in which from a short distance it looked great, especially parked next
to my 1954 Eureka hearse. Close up, though, it needed attention inside and out to really be top-notch. It
did run well, though, and provided several wonderful trips to Indianapolis to visit the grandsons, who
loved the car. Because of the amount of work and money needed to make it a real beauty, I decided to sell
it when I received an offer to buy, and the car is now in the New York City area.




                                                    18
                                CAN’T SAVE THEM ALL, BUT I TRY

My 1976 S&S Centennial Victoria hearse is the “rooster in the Eureka hen house”. Of course, with the
S&S Victoria being the most expensive hearse offered to the industry, it still deserves a worthy spot. This
particular car was discovered by my friend Gene Smith of Columbia City, having seen it repeatedly in a
parking lot outside of Elkhart. On my behalf, Gene learned that the car was, indeed, for sale, and we
made arrangements to see and drive it. It had been taken in partial trade toward an RV from a dealer
there.

Initially, I thought that I shouldn‟t be spending the money, but now there are no regrets. 1976 was the last
year of the “big ones”, and this hearse is no exception, exceeding 21 feet in length, bumper to bumper.
1976 was also the Centennial of S&S (Sayres & Scoville) of Cincinnati, builders of funeral cars and
Presidential limousines. As such, this car was fully decked out with a very special Centennial package,
including special emblems, trim, and a reproduction of the 1929 Clement Barnhorn “Angel of Memory”
sculpture that once adorned the entire side of an old S&S hearse. Even the material for the seats and rear
interior trim was special, covered with embossed horse drawn hearses. There are several surviving
examples of this car, but none that I know of has all the Centennial markings, especially the cloth trim.

The car was originally built for Vander Plaat Funeral Home of Fair Lawn, New Jersey. Interestingly,
Vander Plaat is the firm that cared for the body of Richard Nixon when he died. John Vander Plaat
confirmed to me that my Victoria once sat in the very same spot in their garage as did the hearse seen by
millions on TV during Nixon‟s final ride to Newburgh, New York, to board Air Force One for the ride to
California. How my car made it to the Midwest is a complete mystery, but I do know that it was the front
line car for Carmony Funeral Home in Shelbyville at one time. Also, the original 500 c.i.d. engine
overheated severely once in the past, and was replaced with a 1969 high compression 472 by coach dealer
Charles Butler, of Indianapolis. More recently, I had that engine overhauled, installing hardened valve
seats, a new timing chain, and new sprockets. It performs flawlessly, as attested to by a 1300 mile round
trip to the PCS International Meet in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey in 2008. I‟m proud, also, that before his
massive stroke, my dad used to drive this car and exhibit at various car shows with me.




                                                    19
                                          NEVER SAY NEVER

The one car that would make me give serious thought to opening my checkbook had always been a carved
panel hearse. I was able to purchase a 1939 Eureka carved panel hearse from the estate of the McGinnis
Funeral Home of Davenport, Iowa in 2002. Having last been used for the funeral of Finley McGinnis
himself in 1985, it sat undriven in his collection until I purchased it. The fuel tank and system were quite
rusted and contaminated, and the unmistakable odor of varnish was evident as soon as the fuel cap was
opened. After a carburetor and fuel tank rebuild and major tune-up, along with brakes and a new clutch,
the car became very driveable. I was able to exhibit it at the South Bend Grand National in 2004. There
is still a lot I‟d like to do to the car, but the carved panels make it draw attention wherever it goes. It‟s
interesting that people seem to find it irresistible to feel the old carved wood. I recently made contact with
the grandson of Sanford Stewart, who carved the drapery panels for Eureka. The grandson is 75 years old,
but was thrilled to learn that an example of his grandfather‟s artistry still exists. A sister to my carved
hearse is completely restored and owned by Mike Riefer of Owensville, Missouri.




                                                     20
My cars have occasionally been pressed into funeral service. Newer hearses just don‟t have the stylish
grandeur of the old ones. When my sister died in West Palm Beach, Florida, Marlene and I drove my
1960 Eureka there for the service. After several years of interment there, since my parents had relocated
closer to me, her body was flown to Fort Wayne, and I brought her to a temporary holding crypt at
Catholic Cemetery in my 1960 S&S Victoria. A new mausoleum was being built at the time, and she had
to wait almost a year before it was completed. When the day came for her to be moved to her final
resting place, I brought my 1954 Eureka to do the job. Our father died in 2002, and the mighty ‟54 was
also used for that beautiful service. He wouldn‟t have wanted it any other way.

Undoubtedly, the most spectacular funeral involving any of my cars was for the funeral of Margaret
Ringenberg. She was locally famous as having been a WASP, Womens‟ Air Force Service Pilot, during
WW-II. She was even interviewed by Tom Brokaw and one of the subjects in his book, “The Greatest
Generation”. The Ringenberg family desired to use a hearse from as close to WW-II as possible. As
such, my 1939 Carved Panel LaSalle ran its first funeral since Finley McGinnis died in 1985, 23 years
prior. The media was out in force for this funeral, and the car appeared both in the newspapers and
television. Despite never leaving 2nd gear while driving the long route through Fort Wayne, the old coach
never gave a hint of failure or breakdown.




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In closing, I‟d like to mention one last thing. I have long believed that I‟m a curator of cars that, if not
rescued, would be scrapped and turned into soup cans. They‟re not the most popular among collectors,
but in several cases are the only surviving examples, worthy of a small spot in automotive history. Many
times, while driving, I‟ve thought of the families whose loved ones took their last ride in one of my cars.
I‟d like to think that some comfort can be derived by these families, knowing that the car that last
transported their loved one, still exists in caring hands. There is no doubt that members of the
Professional Car Society feel as I do, that we‟re humbled by the gracious acceptance of our cars at CLC
Grand Nationals. I hope that my story helps explain my appreciation for these unusual Cadillacs and
LaSalles, and helps reinforce my love for automobiles in general.

Tom Hoczyk
Fort Wayne, Indiana
www.bippusautostorage.com/cars


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