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Car & Driver: It’s Your Funeral, Pal. Luckily, There’s an Utterly Fab Toyota Crown Hearse for Sale!


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1983 Toyota Crown Hearse


In the United States of America, the only usual sop to ostentation in the face to death is that the vehicle carrying the deceased to his or her final resting place has historically been built on a luxury automobile’s chassis. Japan, on the other hand, flips the script. True, the 1983 Crown was not the most pedestrian model in Toyota’s line, but compared to a Cadillac or Lincoln of the day, it’s a spare vehicle. But on an American hearse, about the only additional nods to the post-mortem sybarite are a vinyl-covered roof and ornamental carriage bars. Let’s just say the Japanese went a bit further with this one.


1983 Toyota Crown Hearse


While American-fashion funeral coaches exist in the Land of the Rising Sun, they’re referred to as “foreign style.” A properly Japanese hearse is gussied up like a rolling temple; it’s a machine with all the collective subtlety of an entire bosozoku gang’s worth of Hondas, Yamahas, and Suzukis. This particular model features straight-six power, a four-on-the-tree shifter, and round headlamps, suggesting it was crafted from a van/taxi-spec Crown, rather than one of the more uplevel models.


1983 Toyota Crown Hearse


But who needs fanciness up front when such a shindig’s a-ragin’ in the rear? The cargo area features what appears to be pale-gold brocade wall-and-upholstery, a quartet of ornate lanterns mounted from the ceiling, and of course, the mandatory lace curtains with additional bamboo privacy shades. And won’t you dig those chrome inner fenders? Outside? What is there to say about the coffin compartment’s exterior other than it’s wildly customized with stamped-brass plates featuring a floral motif. The photos tell the story much better than we could.




The seller claims the hearse is straight and rust free; that the only real issue is a gummed up carb from having sat in storage. The ask is a pretty heavy $39,500, but c’mon, you can’t buy a pagoda in Kyoto for that. And given that a ’71 280SL just went for $209k at Pebble Beach, you’d be hard-pressed to find a nice Pagoda for that amount, either. Viewed in the right light, it’s peanuts. Just think of all the funeral-crashing fun you’d have in the thing! If this isn’t an automobile built for hijinks, there’s not a vehicle around that is.


Not to mention, when it’s your time to go, you’ll be all set in the transport department. Have you had to shell out to have a person interred lately? It ain’t cheap. Any penny spent on this beauty is some fraction of a penny saved when you shuffle off this mortal coil. No, you can’t take it with you, but at least you’ll arrive in your final resting place in grand style.




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