User avatar
By SabaSka109
#374570
Well, after enough heckling from my good buddy Matt Burkit, I realized it was time to start this thread. Here's a basic story...

In early April 2011 I come across some of the components for the roof rack of the Ecto...A-6 oxygen tanks, a Federal Propello-Ray Model 19, and also a pair of the correct whip antenna model. These items all arrive at my house and my dad is PISSED over the massive amount of stuff. For weeks I had this all in his living room...funny as hell.

April 10, 2011 (as if it were destiny after getting some of the parts recently before) I get a text message from Matt saying there's a 1960 Miller Meteor Landau Hearse for sale in Orange, CA for a very reasonable price. As soon as I got the message I checked out the listing on Craigslist and called the seller. The guy selling the car was super cool and very much into hearses so I was worried he would balk at me if I told him I wanted to convert it into an Ecto, but I went against my instinct and actually told him this. Thankfully he didn't turn me down. I claimed the car a few hours later. My dad's reaction: "I knew you were going to have an Ecto-1 at some point...where are you going to put it?"

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Now, I am a bit of a perfectionist, and of course it bugged me that this car was a hearse and the wrong year, but the body was in too good of shape (minimal rust...literally just surface rust) and I couldn't pass it up...I just hadn't figured out what I was going to do to convert it to what I wanted. I had talked with Matt about converting it into an ambulance (absolutely necessary) and joked about converting it to a 1959...well, it's being done. The guy I purchased the car from hooked me into a guy who does amazing work on older cars (custom work...he has won awards for what he's done) out there in California. He agreed to make my project his top priority at this time and has been tweaking things already. The rear window slots have been cut...

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After weeks of endless searching, I found a guy in Wisconsin who had the rear curved windows and window trim that I needed from a 1961 Miller Meteor and he delivered everything to me personally by driving here to Pennsylvania(what a guy). I then had the joyful experience of taking these parts apart (he literally cut the sides of his parts car off and I had to find a way to get the window trim separated without damaging them. I spent an entire weekend doing this with my dad and numerous headaches but it worked.

The guy I purchased the car from sourced all of the 1959 parts I needed (rear quarter panels, front fenders, front grille/bumper, and rear bumper) to make the conversion to a 1959 (those pics are yet to come). This took months to come up with because quality 1959 parts are the hardest Cadillac parts to find it seems...wow.

The car has recently been sand-blasted and the 1959 parts are soon to follow before being modded onto the body of the 1960 (which is the exact same)...

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The interior of the car will have to be completely custom done. I have tracked down some rear jump seats from a 1959 Miller Meteor in Florida (a car used by the March of Dimes actually) and am still on the hunt for a 1959 front seat.

Here's a shot of them removing the engine before they removed the glass and prepped the car for sand blasting.
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I'll be replacing the engine with something newer and more powerful than what was in the car and I'm also going to be replacing the brakes.

At this point I also have other parts including two Force 4 XL lightbars, the C5GB siren with accurate base (which I had to track down because I have never seen the particular base actually attached to a C5GB other than the one on the car), the deck lights, accurate Unity S6 spotlight and blue lens (not a bulb painted blue like the restored Ecto...the real lens like on the original car) and some other odds and ends.

Updates will follow, of course. This is going to take quite some time because I want it to be close to perfect. It won't be exact because my car has rear suicide doors (which I could have changed but did not want to) but so far so good...an EXTREMELY expensive.
Kh116 liked this
User avatar
By SabaSka109
#374573
Here's what I've got for the car already...

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A-6 Oxygen Tanks for the rack (what started it all)

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Federal Propello Ray Model 19

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Whip Specialists ASP-633 Whip Antenna Base (I have 2 with a 102" antenna for each)

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Federal C5GB Siren for the roof

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Real Whelen HRDF 14/28 for the roof (not the newer HR-CFA model)

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Grimes Strobes for the bumper (I have 2)

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Gentec Dummy Antenna 525 for the dash

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Midland 77-859 CB Radio

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Regency ACT-R20 Scanner for the dash

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Accurate Saw Mandrel to allow the radar dish to rotate 360 degrees

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Code 3 Force 4 XL 48" Lightbar (these are a bitch to find) (Note the evil cat eyes in the background)

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THE GARAGE

Note: I have to thank Jonny from the New Hampshire GB for picking up the pictured lightbar for me from a weird dude in Woburn, MA.
User avatar
By SabaSka109
#374577
Because the fins on the 1959 are so much cooler...and I have all of the parts to make the 1959 conversion and the perfect guy working on it...when the opportunity was there to make the conversion I couldn't pass it up...I would have always been bothered by not doing the conversion.
User avatar
By mburkit
#374578
Though I originally pushed Adam to get the car and start collecting the parts for it, he has taken it to a whole new level. This boy knows the Ecto-1 about as well as I know the proton packs. Its been fun working on the project so far, even though its mostly been collecting parts. Once the car's body work is done and its on the East coast, the real fun will begin.

And just for fun, Adam forgot to post a few photos:

Such as this one:
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As Adam mentioned, the individual from Wisconsin actually just sent us the tops of his rear quarter panels for the trim and glass we needed. We also got a rear door (with glass and trim) as well as the center divider. That center divider has seen better days and I'm pretty sure we're going to just build a new one at this point.

Here's a few more parts Adam has for the car.

There's the Tektronix RM 561A Oscilloscope. . .
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And its attachments:

The 3A74 plug-in:
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As well as the 3B3 Time Base plug-in:
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And lets not forget the BLUE HOSE!
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User avatar
By mburkit
#374579
One last thing. The guy that did the sand blasting was so excited that he got to clean up the car that he took a video of the process. Now this guy made the video and posted it so we really didn't have any control over the music. . . so if you are not a fan of kid rock, best to just mute the video and play your own music, haha.



He also miss-spelled "hearse" but what are ya gonna do? We were just happy we got to see a video of the process.
User avatar
By tulsaecto1
#374583
Wow.... I have a 1960 too and I'm about to swap front bumpers to make the front a 1959.... haven't decided about the fins in the back yet... I'm very impressed with your progress so far.... can't wait to see more...

Raul
By drcaron
Supporting Member
#374659
Good job your projet Rock as kid rock song ,I can see the detail and accuracy is verry important for you so keep hard working up to the next update .


Martin :vinzclortho:
User avatar
By Mr. D.
#374685
SabaSka109 wrote:Image


When I first saw this I thought "Blah it wont look right without the rear windows..."

SabaSka109 wrote:Image


Then I saw this and thought "HOLY SHIT! This guy goes all out."



Awesome job man. can't wait to see the finished car.
SabaSka109 liked this
User avatar
By SabaSka109
#374732
Haha, I do go all out. Just wait until I get pictures of it with the window trim in...it'll look exactly the same. The Landau hearses were the exact same body as the ambulances...the seams for the window were in the car, it's just that they were filled in and the Landau bars applied.

I never knew if I'd be able to find the windows and trim (because they need to come from a 1959-1961 model) but I sure got lucky...very lucky.
By 69428scj
#374745
I have your polynoid...and can make you the bumper strobe bases too so PM me about that. Also I would recommend going with the original engine, you're gonna spend more money buying a new one and probably won't get the same amount of power than with the original. Also there's no guarantee it would fit since the motor mounts are very specific to that car. I HIGHLY advise you to not change the brakes, again a very specific brake set up only for that chassis. A disc brake conversion kit for a normal chassis will not work. No sense in wasting more money on the car if there was nothing wrong with the factory brakes to begin with, except maybe using a dual stage master cylinder.
User avatar
By RickH
#374769
I'm looking forward to seeing your '59 conversion. Were your '59 parts off a MM or are they from a sedan/coupe? I'd love to do the same on my '60 but there's too much money spent on it already, and much more to go :(
User avatar
By SabaSka109
#374781
In response to the last 2 posts:

There is a company that makes a disc brake conversion kit specifically for the 1959-1960 Cadillac. It costs a pretty penny, but I am not at all worried about that...the brake conversion should be easy and I've already been planning things out with the guy I have working on it (he's already done disc brake conversions). As for the engine, I realize that a new engine may not fit perfectly, but the guy working on the car can easily make minor modifications to fit a newer engine it. I'm not using the engine that was in there because it doesn't work to begin with. I'll be looking for some really powerful to put in...not something cheap.

As for the 59 parts, they came from a Coupe DeVille. The only issue is finding the right car to use the rear quarter panels for, or they won't be long enough for the Miller Meteor. The Coupe Deville has ones that are long enough as would a limo/hearse. The 59 parts cost me over double what the car I bought cost, but again, cost isn't an issue.

I'm very lucky to be consulting a Cadillac hearse nut who knows lots of people that do nothing but work on and collect old Caddies...I couldn't have purchased the car from a better person...he's helped me tremendously.
By 69428scj
#375004
Standard Cadillac brakes were not used on the commercial chassis so I again would recommend against using standard Cadillac disc conversions...in regards to the rear quarter panels, did you know that the fin sizes differed from standard to commercial chassis, and even then from coach manufaturer to manufacturer? Coupe DeVille fins are not as tall as the fins on a CC. I don't want to sound like such a negative Nathan, but what you're doing is not plug-and-play. I am anxious to see this car's completion though...
User avatar
By SabaSka109
#375043
I look forward to showing you that things that appear impossible are indeed possible...haha. I trust the guys working on it. My reference for the project has a 59 Miller Meteor in immaculate shape for it all to be compared to. I will ask him about the fin size but he says they are exact to what is on the CC. He and others in his hearse club have also used the disc brake kit on the old hearses (a few of whom have 59's) and the conversion works and eliminates the fear of the single cylinder system failing and leaving the car with no brakes. Others can choose to not worry about such an unlikely disaster like that ever happening but not me...

Thank God I have very experienced people working on it...this all wouldn't be possible with probably anyone else.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I777 using Ghostbusters Fans on Android
By Mxlplx
#375543
Fin sizes shouldn't differ at all. The Commercial Chassis left the factory with the dash forward and the rear quarters. If anything, the Coach builder modified the rear quarters to make them into their respective builds.
By 69428scj
#375559
The coach builders had taller fins than standard cars to accommodate the taller roof lines, just like the commercial glass so everything would be proportional. I will find a few pictures and post them here...
By 69428scj
#375773
"According to GM sytlist Dave Holls, who was in the Cadillac studio when the cars were created, the designers felt that the towering height of the fins on the 'regular' Cadillac models was incompatible with the dignity of the stately series 75 offerings. They then lowered the height of the fins above the tail lamp assemblies, which makes them appear longer than those seen on other 1959 Cadillac models" - as quoted in the Series 75 book by renown professional car experts Tom McPherson and Walt McCall. Series 68 (hearse/ambulance) and 75 (limos) share the same height.

So while the height from the taillight to the top is shorter. the overall height is 1" taller from the top of the bumper to tip of the fin. Below is a shot of some limos and hearses:

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Compared to a Coupe DeVille
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User avatar
By Interceptor9C1
#375883
Id pick up an LQ4 or LQ9 6.0 chevy to swap in. LQ4 is 325 horse, LQ9 is 345hp 380tq. A very mild cam can bump them numbers considerably and its fuel injected reliability. Throw a 4L80E trans behind it and youll be good to roll.
User avatar
By Alan Hawkins
Supporting Member
#375962
Carpeteria wrote:
It's such a travesty that no one mass-produces car designs like this anymore. That is such a goddamn cool car.


We have Ralph Nader to thank for that. He said GM has designed their cars "aggressively and dangerously at the expense of humans".
User avatar
By SabaSka109
#376113
Great photos indeed...if my fins are 1" shorter than they are supposed to be I won't honestly care...haha. They look pretty damn close to me...we shall see how it turns out.
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