Hearses, by design, are a [sometime] careful balance between form and function. They're all custom made, but have to look like someone in the living world put careful thought into every design cue. They also have to carry the weight of a 500-800lb casket without sagging, so they often have air suspension set-ups and heavily fortified frames. Hearses began as purpose-built horse-drawn carriages, adorned with polished ornamentation and scrollwork. Today, they are generally built upon strengthened luxury car chassis, with somber gloss black paint and distinguished styling. No matter the era, hearses have been constructed with one driving goal: Give the dead a dignified ride to the cemetery.

And then there's this thing.

I stumbled upon this 2011+ Dodge Caravan hearse at a funeral parlor in Crossville, TN. It seems that the conversion shop that sold this one did the bare minimum. It's not even black.

To be fair, the relatively high loading height could be a pallbearer's advantage. If your octogenarian great uncle insists on helping to hoist the casket, odds are slightly better that he won't collapse, since one doesn't have to bend over as far as one would with a lower loading wagon.

One wonders what other advantages this sort of vehicle might offer in the funeral business. Does it have the nearly standard equipment flip-down monitor? Could a family request a certain DVD be played over the casket during the last ride? You could posthumously catch up that television series that you never got around to finishing.

Of course, you're still being shuttled to the dirt nursery in a front-wheel-drive minivan. Anyone else see the irony in using a vehicle designed for the recently expanded family to move the results of a recently contracted family? Just me?


I've already warned my family: Take me to the grave in a minivan and I will haunt our descendants for a century.