[last update: 05.26.2020]] 

Professional Cars

Cadillac Chassis


"Dream cars" section for 1956


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1902 1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908 1909
1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919
1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929
1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939
1940 1941 1942

WW2 years

1946 1947 1948 1949
1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959
1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969
1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979
1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989
1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999-up




Eureka (USA) Various professional cars built on the Cadillac commercial chassis, like the examples below:

56hrseuk.jpg (10424 bytes)

56eurk.jpg (5977 bytes)    56eurk2.jpg (5986 bytes)
Eureka hearse and ambulance models


Hess & Eisenhardt (USA) stretched convertible presidential parade cars (on Cadillac's regular "commercial" chassisd?)  dubbed  Queen Mary II and Queen Elizabeth II. They replaced two 1938 Cadillac V-16 parade cars nicknamed  Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth. These cars [the 1956 models] were built and used during the Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson administrations, remaining in service until 1968. Queen Elizabeth spent some time in Paris before "she" was acquired by the late Charly de Pauw, a Belgian collector; he claimed it was HIS car that was following the Kennedy Lincoln on that fateful day in November 1963. When de Pauw died, his car was acquired by well-known Belgian car collector, Ghislain Mahy, who exhibited the car in Belgium's national auto museum, the Palais national de l'automobile. That's where I photographed it in the eighties. In 1998, this car was sold, together with "Queen Elizabeth", one of the former 1938 V-16 [now V-8] White House security cars (dark blue car #2), for a reported $1.6 million. In April 2001 those cars was again offered for sale, this time in the Vegas Auction venue of the Imperial Palace collection.  "Queen Mary II" is believed to be the 1956 White House security car that followed directly behind the presidential Lincoln on that fateful day, November 22, 1963, when President Kennedy was shot dead by one [or more?] assassins. Jack Tallman of Tallman Cadillac in Decatur, IL was its owner. I was fortunate to be allowed to drive it when I visited Jack in Decatur back in 1978.

"Queen Elizabeth II"

Dr56pr11.jpg (7759 bytes)     Dr56pr9.jpg (7931 bytes) 

Dr56prs8.jpg (8705 bytes)     Dr56prs3.jpg (10033 bytes) 
Above four photos:  preparing for a mission (a) top left: unfurling the flags (the one
with the presidential seal is on the right, front fender, (b) top right: weapons all present?
(c) lower left: let's add a Tommy gun for good measure, (d) lower right: in active service
behind the then presidential Lincoln (Eisenhower and General De Gaulle aboard).  

I believe the flag on the RH febder of the  President's Lincoln is that
of South Korea, I have not been able to determine the year or the venue

dr56qumr.JPG (10672 bytes)
Above,  Queen Elizabeth II on a security mission in Berlin on June 26, 1963; this presumably was the
Paris car (car #1) that, later, found its way to Brussels; remember Kennedy's famous words on that historic occasion:
Ich bin ein Berliner! [in other words, Guys, I'm a 'Berliner' too, or I'm one of you]

I don't recognise the venue, but the car is there ... lurking in the background:
President Kennedy is seen alighting from the government Lincoln Continental

dr56qum3.JPG (9763 bytes)
Poor quality photo (above - from newspaper) shows "Queen Elizabeth II" on display
in the Belgian capital of Brussels, complete with dummy G-Men aboard

dr56whs4.jpg (7678 bytes)     dr56whs3.jpg (8317 bytes)
I took the above two snapshots in the Belgian Museum in the eighties (pity about that pillar!)
Photos: © 1989, Yann Saunders
- Autoworld Museum, Brussels].

Dr56prs7.jpg (8051 bytes)
The second 1938 and 1956 White House security cars formerly on exhibit at the

National Auto Museum in Brussels, Belgium,  were sold at auction, in 1998,  for around $1,600,000
It is believed they were acquired for the Imperial Palace collection in Las Vegas

56presid2.jpg (13961 bytes)     56presid1.jpg (14407 bytes)
Photo:  Internet [Imperial Palace, Las Vegas, NV]
This is believed to be "Queen Elizabeth II", formerly owned by the late Charly de Pauw


"Queen Mary II"

Although early photos of one of these cars shows it with the smaller, lower grab handles mounted at the A pillars [windshield frame], both cars now have the larger, raised handles, as seen on the car used in the November motorcade. The original grab handles fixed to the secondary cowl also were modified by adding to the extremities of the existing handles an angled piece that faces outwards and forward. Neither car was used in the film by Oliver Stone that recounted the Kennedy assassination. So far as I can tell from the  movie still (below), the car used was a customized Series 75 limousine; the small fender lamps used to illuminate the presidential standards were omitted; the combination siren and flashing red light on the LH front fender were mounted too far astern and the doors were not made narrower to allow for more standing room on the running boards; the movie car has also the small, rectangular grab handles.  Article in SSA 1981, p.12-13. Photo McC p.317-318.

Dr56prs6.jpg (10682 bytes)     Dr56prs5.jpg (9436 bytes)
Two White House security cars in a single collection, that of Jack Tallman, Decatur, IL. 
Right:  my son Jamie (aged 4 at the time), takes a shot at some bad guys hiding in the trees!
Owned by Wayne Lensing,  the car is currently (2005)  on display at the Historic Attractions Museum in Roscoe, IL

    Dr56pr10.jpg (9475 bytes)     dr56qum5.JPG (7996 bytes)
Photo left: rarely was the top ever put up, but it was there in case of a sudden downpour. Photo, right:
close-up of the bumper mounted, fold-down step plates and the grab handles used by the duty G-Men

56presjt.jpg (14692 bytes)

56prsidl.jpg (14105 bytes)     Dr56prs1.jpg (11409 bytes)

dr56qum2.JPG (13182 bytes)
Preceding four photos of car #
2: courtesy of Jack Tallman
Jack's car was in the tragic Dallas motorcade, in November, 1963



kendy56.jpg (35563 bytes)     dr56qum4.JPG (8872 bytes)
Dallas, TX, November 22, 1963, despite every precaution taken, president Kennedy
is assassinated... [photo, left].  Right is a still from the movie Kennedy;
you will notice how the movie car is much shorter than the original and
the running boards are mounted outboard of the body sides


The "Made for Movie" car
[ which I am guessing was converted from a stock Fleetwood 75 sedan ]

 56paradA.jpg (52065 bytes)
The extension panel that fits between the doors of the original security cars is missing; it was joined by a solid cowl across the front seat back that housed
a deep storage cabinet for rifles, hand guns and phone receivers;  the rear doors on the original cars were the "suicide" type, hinged on the "C" pillars;

56parade2.jpg (55847 bytes)      56parade9d.jpg (55624 bytes)
Here we see how far outboard the running boards are mounted on the movie car; on the orignal cars, the doors were inset and narrower

56parade3.jpg (45737 bytes)      56parade4.jpg (65145 bytes)
The flag staffs on the original cars are mounted on the outer edge of the gull-wing front bumpers; on the movie  car they are attached to the fenders, level with the center of the wheel well

56parade5.jpg (52053 bytes)      56parade8.jpg (43427 bytes)      56parade9.jpg (36566 bytes)     

56parade9a.jpg (49312 bytes)      56parade7a.jpg (46893 bytes)
The cowl extension on the original cars gave more leg room between the jump seats and the rear seat; the rear door panels
on the original cars had a long, horizontal pull handle as well as horizontal piping and a large flap pocket decorated with the Cadillac crest;
on the original cars, there are twin grab handles across the division cowl (not a single bar);
the back of the unopened jump seats are a  plain design, unlike the biscuit and button design on the movie car

56parade9b.jpg (48038 bytes)      56parade6.jpg (44663 bytes)      56parade9e.jpg (48853 bytes)
On the original cars, the trunk grab handles are slimmer, longer and of one-piece construction;
also, the grab handles on the "A" pillars are curved upwards, level with the top of the windshield frame;
the rear  step plates (right)  are striated, crosswise; they are not rounded; they are the fold-away type;
the trunk lid inscription (right also) reads "CADILLAC" and  not "FLEETWOOD"

Hess & Eisenhardt (USA) Various custom vehicles for the ambulance and funeral trades like the examples below:

56sssuvi.JPG (11521 bytes)

56sshrin.JPG (5975 bytes)    56sscmbi.JPG (6961 bytes)    56ss3way.JPG (6569 bytes)
    56srrtb.JPG (6284 bytes)    56sscmb2.JPG (5807 bytes)    56ssamac.JPG (6272 bytes)

56ssknia.JPG (14111 bytes)    

56ssfrnt.JPG (7026 bytes)    56ssrear.JPG (4489 bytes)

56sssukn.JPG (12104 bytes)

56h&e.JPG (10018 bytes)    56h&e2.jpg (12988 bytes)
This combination hearse-ambulance was copied from a photo in the collection of the
McSwain & Evans, funeral home in Newberry, SC, courtesy of the management

[ Photo: Professional Car Society ]


Hess & Eisenhardt (USA) Skyview observation coach on the 158" wheelbase. Like the 1955 model, of which six were built, these 1956 models also were delivered to the exclusive Broadmoor Hotel near Pike's Peak, Colorado.  All were painted Mandan Red and had Pecos beige upper body accents.   There were four large, transparent Plexiglas roof panels on the roof for sightseeing in the scenic park around the hotel.  One of these rare station wagons was offered for sale at a Kruse auction in Scottsdale, AZ, in January 2001. Although bid up to $53,000, it was not sold.

Dr56viw3.jpg (10583 bytes)


Hess & Eisenhardt (USA) This Custom View Master with roof rack but no imitation wood paneling was photographed at a car show in the mid-seventies by the late Gene Babow

dr56wagn.JPG (6738 bytes)    dr56wag2.JPG (5792 bytes)
Hess & Eisenhardt Custom View Master

[ Photo: © 2009 Jeffrey Hansen ]


Miller, A.J. (USA) various vehicles for the funeral industry, like the landau coach below

56mlrhrs.jpg (6974 bytes)
Miller landau hearse



Meteor (USA) Various custom vehicles for the ambulance and funeral trades like the examples below:

Hard at work ... in 1956?

Dr56amb.jpg (9786 bytes)    Dr56amb1.jpg (6927 bytes)
This model was built by the Meteor Motor Car Company of Piqua, OH

A rare and beautiful survivor

dr56meta.JPG (8679 bytes):
This one was photographed a few years ago in a junkyard:
could it be the above car???

Dr56hrsa.jpg (9517 bytes)    Dr56hr4.jpg (5932 bytes)
Above: the renowned Crestwood hearse

Dr56hr5.jpg (12206 bytes)    Dr56hr3.jpg (7650 bytes)
Above two photos, the Meteor side-service coach with landau styling; the wrap-around
rear corner windows were standard on  all Meteor cars except for
the Landau Traditional models and the Envoy flower car

Dr56hr6.jpg (12059 bytes)
Above, the popular Meteor combination hearse-ambulance

56mmeteor.jpg (57189 bytes)     56mmeteor2.jpg (63377 bytes)
Above 2 images: a magnificent survivor

The odd black mark seen between the RH front door & fender suggests these could be one and the same car; possible?

Converted ambulance used as a prop by Universal Studios in California?

Dr56flc.jpg (11282 bytes)
This flower car too is from the Meteor Motor Car Company


S&S [Hess & Eisenhardt] (USA)  Various commercial vehicles including ambulances, flower cars and hearses such as the example below; these are the renowned "S&S" models




Superior (USA) various commercial vehicles for the funeral and ambulance trades, like the examples below:

dr56amb3.jpg (11582 bytes)
Above and below: Superior limousine ambulance, with built-in, "tunnel" roof lights;
The car below appears to have done its time; it now awaits an enthusiastic restorer

56supb.jpg (7366 bytes)
Here's a side-loading hearse from a
Superior product catalog of this year

56supc2.jpg (7732 bytes)
...and here's an ambulance from the same brochure

56supam.jpg (8375 bytes)    56supam2.jpg (5619 bytes)   
This survivor was offered for sale on Internet in August, 2004

dr56amb2.JPG (11123 bytes)

An "artsy" survivor - possibly from Superior



This survivor was used by a band to transport their gear


[Unknown] (probably from Europe) Fire truck conversion on 1956 Cadillac chassis

Dr56fire.jpg (8991 bytes)


[Unknown] (USA?) Hi-Top ambulance; maker unknown

56amb.jpg (6940 bytes)
[ Image:  Internet, 2008 ]

Visser [meaning "Fisher", in Dutch] (Holland) Various commercial vehicles (hearses and ambulances on regular or stretched Cadillac chassis, like this one from 1956. My friend Dirk-Jan de Jong of Holland wrote: This one is built on a 1956 Cadillac commercial chassis. At least one of the cars still exists and is (partly) restored by a guy living near my parents. The construction is partly made from wood. Note the non-standard windshield. At the start of the seventies it was over for the Cadillac ambulance as regulations (and money supply) were tightened and a switch was made to the (Chevy)van-based ambulances.

visser56.jpg (11359 bytes)
Visser built an entire new upper body, including the windshield
[ Photo: "Ambulances in beeld (1945 - 1975)", courtesy Dirk-Jan De Jong, Holland ]




Pick one   >

1902 1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908 1909
1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919
1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929
1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939
1940 1941 1942

WW2 years

1946 1947 1948 1949
1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959
1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969
1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979
1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989
1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999-up


© 1996-2020, Yann Saunders, DLM Group, and the Cadillac & LaSalle Club Museum and Research Center Inc.
[ Background image:  1961 Crown Sovereign funeral car by Superior Coach Corporation ]