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49 Dodge "Little" Hearse PDF Print E-mail
Article Index
49 Dodge "Little" Hearse
The Hearse Chronicles
Loading the Little
Still Loading...
Rusty Crusty
Last Ride

Taste Test, Part Deux
When we last left the intrepid hearse collectors, they were rumbling out of Lantz Corners PA, headed North to Buffalo. 

At this point, I have to note that since it was daylight, and the trailer had seemed to settle down, and the hills didn't suck nearly so much, it was actually not too stressful. Nice scenery, good company, cute navigator...not so bad.

paper millStopped in some town along the way that had a couple paper mills (Godz did they stink) to use the restroom, and the RedHead scampered off to take pics [look ] of interesting bridges and an old powerhouse for one of the mills. Me? I was left with the mundane task of checking to make sure the trailer brakes etc weren't about to self-destruct. (Now I am thinking about this, the paper-mill town may have been just *before* Boylan's Garage...it all runs together. At this point in our epic adventure, I'd been awake for about 22 hours.)

We hit Buffalo, and cross the Peace Bridge. The Canadian Customs fella asked "What's your purpose in coming to Canada?" My answer: "Going to buy a 49 Dodge. Oh yea, it used to be a hearse." His eyes got more than a little big. "I bet that's the first time you've gotten *that* answer, right?" "Um, yessir, can't say I've ever heard that, eh." Welcome to Canada.....

Up the QEW, and to Oshawa. Now, lemme interject this comment to my brothers and sisters in the North: I thought DC drivers were insane. Now I see that we in DC are but mere apprentices, and when we master the art of driving in a truly reckless and wholly insane fashion, we can graduate and drive in Canada. Evidently, the Canadians either don't ever run radar, or the drivers on the QEW, the 403, and the 401 just DON'T CARE! Truly, an invigorating experience, especially seeing a crotch rocket coming up behind you doing at least 95 (mph, thanks), and me just KNOWING he was gonna misjudge and end up on the deck of the trailer. O yea, I am doing just under the speed limit...in the right hand lane. Didn't matter. All lanes thru, and all lanes bat-outa-hell/ super-warp-drive speed.

Make it to Oshawa, and find the fella's house. Neat guy. Cool taste in decorating his house (old advertising signs, other neat schtuff). The Little-Dodge....

peace bridgeWell, lemme just say this about the Little-Dodge. CUBIC dollars. Dollars by the wheelbarrow full. Heck, make that dump-trucks full of hundred dollar bills. This poor car is rusty crusty. Rocker panels? WHAT rocker panels? Heck, the rockers are flat GONE, B-pillars are rusted away three inches up. Fred Flintstone would love the floorpans (or lack thereof). Perforations abound, on the hood, ALL four fenders, the roof seam leading line.... Yeesh. I am off my rocker, completely around the bend, no question about it.

On the plus side, the interior is in pretty decent shape, not to mention mostly intact. No coffin rollers though. Anyone know if it ever had em?

So, how to load this beast? Now, my car trailer has a deck of 22'6". The rear-most 14'6" is a tilt-deck, with 8' ahead of that. The problem becomes that when you attempt to load a car, when the front wheels near the pivot pin about 5 feet in, it wants to tilt down. I sure as heck did NOT want to mess around loading this beast for hours. So, call the local towing company. "Bring a flatbed". The plan was to push the car out of his drive, onto the street (blessedly not heavily traveled). Load the car on the flatbed backwards and then drop it onto the trailer that way. Luckily, the driver from Jim's Towing, Scott, had a clue, and the operation went just as I had envisioned. (If that last comment doesn't terrify you, nothing will).

customsSo at this point, the 49 Dodge is on the trailer, and I am securing same to the trailer. The final count went like this: 4 5/16" chains, 2 binders, and 4 3" webbed ratchet straps, plus a 1" strap top hold the hood down, and two bungies to secure the doors. Not to mention I had an audience the size of, oh, the whole neighbourhood watching in rapt amazement that some idiot (Yep, that's me) actually bought this rust encrusted gem...and is gonna restore it.

Now, if anyone here has ever done heavy hauling or towing, you should know about weight. You want the most weight right over the trailer axles, but slightly biased forward. That's to keep the trailer tongue firmly seated, as it is strongest pushing down, not pulling up depending on the latch. Wonder of wonders, I got the weight distro pretty close just by eye, the first time. Unfortunately, as I was to learn later, I had a little too much tongue weight....




Photos by the RedHead

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