1962 Cadillac Ambulance
This 1962 Custom made Cadillac Ambulance / Hearse is an unusual and exciting vehicle. It was custom made by Miller-Meteor out of Piqua, Ohio. It first did service at a funeral home in Winter Park, Florida. Then for several years the Bahia Shriners in Orlando, Florida owned it. Gary Bergenske bought it from the Shrine and has been restoring it over the past five years. It is now a good looking vehicle of the past, a style that is no longer made. It looks close to that famous old car that was in the Movie "Ghostbusters". You can be sure to get plenty of looks any time you drive this 8,000 pound car. A small General Motors V-8 with an automatic transmission powers it.
The old car now sports the name of "J & J Metro Moving and Storage
Ambulance Service." It has had new paint, and interior work to make it look as it might have about 40 years ago. On Halloween each year it is converted to a Hearse, complete with an old casket and sent out on a mission to make Halloween a special night.
We do not often think about it, but back in the early 1960's vans were not available like they are today. All ambulances at that time were special made station wagon type vehicles. They had little or no ability to attend to the health needs of an individual. Their main use was to scoop up the person and run them to the hospital as quickly as possible. Roadside medical attention at a crash scene was not an option.
In some cases, as is the case with Bergenske's car, they would double as a Hearse or Ambulance. The emergency light had the ability to come on and off very easily. The back could be converted to a flat floor, with two jump seats when used as an Ambulance. Then it could be quickly transformed by putting down the jump seats, turning over some rollers on the floor, and presto, it was ready for a casket. This was especially good in small towns in the 1960's as one vehicle could serve the purpose for two needs. By the early 1970's all ambulances were being replaced by the type we are familiar with today, in the style of a van. As more room was available, more and more medical equipment could be taken along and more medical attention given at crash sites. For this reason you do not see many old style Ambulances around anymore, and I do not know of any that are still in service.
Gary Bergenske has added this Ambulance to his collection, which also includes a 1964 American La France Fire engine. He says, "I now have a Fire and Rescue Dept. of yesteryear, now that's something different." They are used regularly in car shows, parades, Shrine Events, and community and neighborhood functions.
Miller-Meteor's rich history takes its start back in 1915 when the first Meteor coach was built. At the time, no dealerships existed, but rather the vehicles were sold through mail-order notices and fliers for a whopping price of $1,750. A year later, Meteor introduced its 12-cylinder combination pallbearer's coach and ambulance, which sold more than 200 cars in just the first three months.
In 1957, the Miller-Meteor Company was first introduced. The next two decades saw great strides for the Miller-Meteor Company as they would obtain the largest single order for funeral cars in the history of the industry (1958), followed four years later as becoming the largest manufacturer of funeral cars and ambulances built on Cadillac chassis in the world.
|Conversion Builder||Miller-Meteor Company|
|Length||21 feet 6 inches|
|Height||5 feet 8 inches|
|Use||Ambulance / Hearse|
|Paint||White w/ red trim|