Most car folks know that every year there is a huge automotive show that is held in Las Vegas. And while its the largest automotive trade show anywhere, its not open to the public. Its a trade only show. We were lucky enough this year to secure passes to attend, and while there were literally thousands of amazing cars shown, ONE stood head and shoulders above the rest and was the talk of the show all week long. This particular car also holds a special relevance for us here at Professionalcar.org. Its a totally custom 1960 Superior Hearse that I’m sure most of us would love to have in our garage given the opportunity.
Now regardless of your feeling about custom cars. I can tell you that this particular car is beyond stunning. The workmanship and fit and finish are beyond amazing. As we mentioned before, the car is a 1960 Superior Hearse. It’s called “Thundertaker” and it was built by Bryan Fuller Hot Rods of Atlanta GA. We had the opportunity to chat briefly with Mr. Fuller, as well as some of his talented crew while we were at the show, and we learned that this particular coach is a customer build. And while this particular customer would like to remain anonymous, in additional to this amazing coach, they also own a stock hearse of the same vintage. While the car as shown at SEMA is absolutely amazing, its still not quite finished. In fact, schedules were so tight that the car did not arrive at the show until very early on opening day. The crew from Fuller’s Hot Rods told us that the car was fairly rough to begin with so folks can rest easy knowing that this is a coach that really was saved from the crusher and not a mint coach that was customized.
The coach itself truly is amazing to see in person, and the photos do not really do the car justice. There are so many little details on the car that are just amazing, and the quality of the work is far beyond what you normally see on a vintage coach. Superior couldn’t build a coach that is this clean. Now I know that some folks are going to whine about the customization done to the car. And to those folks, I can only say “get a life”. There are folks in our hobby that spout off about “restoring and preserving” coaches, and then they add things to their coaches that those particular cars never had when they left the factory. People ignore the build tags and paint it in colors that they prefer. They ignore actual documentation about a specific car and “restore” it the way they would want it. And that is fine in my book. Its your car, do what you want to with it. But don’t look down at someone that decides to customize a car in a direction that you don’t like. Unless you return your coach back to factory specs, you are “customizing” it as well. Even the hardcore “restoration” folks in our hobby cannot hold a candle to the quality of work that went into this car. Its clean and elegant and just stunning to see in person. The body panels are laser straight, the paint looks like its a mile deep. And the little details look factory, with a fit and finish that the factory only dreamed of attaining.
Some basic details about the car are as follows:
- The build time so far is 3 years.
- The car rides on a custom Art Morrison tube chassis with rack and pinion steering, power disc brakes, and full air bag suspension.
- The roof was chopped about 5″ to accommodate a coupe windshield.
- The rear fins were raised 4″ in the rear and tapered all the way back into the doors to flow cleanly with the lines of the car.
- 50’s and 60’s factory Cadillac trim was used throughout the car to give it a consistent factory look.
- Custom white leather and silver metallic upholstery was used through, and period style plastic seat covers were used as well.
- Factory gauges were completely restored.
- The valve covers were custom machined to echo the look of the Cadillac V16 show car engine.
- Engine is a GM ZZ454 big block.
- The car has a custom 30 gallon fuel tank.
- All the Stainless trim was restored and polished.
- Custom brass trim was milled and drilled and then show chrome plated.
And there are literally hundreds more small details on the car. But we know you all want to see the photos, so here you go. Enjoy!