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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

Boy THIS turned into a novel....

I'd like to say the rest of the trip was uneventful. Mom always told me not to lie though. Plagues of locusts, pestilence, etc were always mentioned as potential consequences, and I just don't think my shots are up to date for "pestilence" or tetanus for that matter.

What I WILL say though is that I maybe, possibly, probably should have listened to the RedHead when she suggested getting a motel room in Buffalo. "Nay", sez I, the raving lunatic, "I'm OK to drive for a while yet". Note that this is about 3:30 AM, and I am right around 40 hours up, again with a few catnaps. Well, I admit freely that I am stooopid. I shoulda stopped in Buffalo, cuz when I *did* start getting tired (and by this time the RedHead had been moaning in discomfort and exhaustion for a few hours), it was North of Erie PA....and every room to Erie, and to Cleveland was full....even at the fleabag motels.

Arg. It's now about 6:30AM, and we are in some little town I was too tired to note the name of. Pull into a McDonalds, and I crash out for an hour and a half "powernap". RedHead does some exploring, since she can't sleep in the truck. Now, one thing that came with the Little-Dodge that I left on was a fake foot sticking out of the grille. She comes back to the truck, wakes me up, and asks "Did you take the foot out?" After I stared stupidly at her, wondering just what exactly she meant (and the mind just *boggled* with the possibilities), she elaborated. Seems someone must have been looking at the hearse as I slept, blissfully unaware, and accidently I guess pulled the foot out of the grille, since it was laying on the trailer deck. Hmmm.... Chuck the foot in the hearse, bungie the doors, and let's roll. Now, this was the second McD's I'd stopped at on the trip. The first was where I got the call about the P-51 crash in Oshkosh. Enough said bout that. I may not stop at McD's for a long time.

Driving down the PA Turnpike, I am feeling pretty good, and let the road speed creep up to about 60. I then notice a disquieting thing. Remember I mentioned in an earlier episode that the trailer weight was biased slightly forward, putting too much tongue weight on? Yuppers. What happens then is that you actually load the drive axles down, and pull weight OFF the steer axles. So the front end tends to "float". The faster you go, the more it "floats" and understeers like hella. Needless to say, the speed came back down to about 50MPH in a (measured, deliberate) hurry.

Somewhere along the PA Turnpike, I saw a very tasty Deuce coupe hot rod that passed me (as everything ELSE was doing, including a little old lady in a motorized wheelchair who shook her cane at me. I waved back.). Soon thereafter, I saw in my rearview what looked like the front end of an Edsel. Yup, I pinched myself to make sure I was awake. Soon thereafter, a service plaza came up, and I pulled in to replenish the "bottomless pit" otherwise known as the Queen Mary's fuel tanks (and ooh boy those fillups just HURT). The Edsel pulled in as well, and we wound up in that rest area for an HOUR as a BUNCH of folks came over to chat about the hearse. One fella owned a 49 Plymouth, so that was neat. I got his email address for future reference. The guys in the Edsel were father and son, the Edsel was the son's, and they were on the way back from the 50th Anniversary Edsel meet in Dearborn. COOL!!!! Great-looking Pacer convertible, teletouch transmission, drum speedo, and a host of other neat touches. The son has a 59 2 dr Ranger wagon, 1 of 12 built and one of three remaining that he's restoring. They were
built as Zone Rep's cars. So, kindred spirits.

The rest of the trip was on I-70, and down I-81 to the ultimate destination of the "Rock Farm and His-and-Hearses-pital", where the Little Dodge is currently resting under a tarp. I need to move some crap (I mean old cars) around in the various storage spots, and put in inside. That'll happen in the next days.

So, the bottom line is this: I have WAY too many projects for any TEN people, and I am gonna be broker than broke by the time they all get done...but what the he!!, it makes for an interesting life.

By the way DaveL, I am told that the pic in the Dodge Story pic is of my exact hearse. I'd LOVE a scan of that, pending my finding the book itself.

Anybody else having ANY info about this neat piece of funeral car history, send it along! And yes Gregg Merksamer and Steve Lichtman, that's aimed at y'all!!

Does anyone have any idea how many Little-built cars survive? Of course, I know of Lloyd Needham's jaw-droppingly beautiful 41 Carved Cadillac and my own, any others from out of the woodwork?

Hope y'all enjoyed this epistle, it actually has helped my blacker-than-coal mood a lot to write it up. A tip of the hat, and a raising of the glass to two of the best, gone West way too soon and achingly missed: Jim "Bulldog" LeRoy, and Gerry "Becks!!" Beck. Blue Skies, Tailwinds, and CAVU forever, guys.

 


 

Photos by the RedHead

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