Forget the past, hearse to the future

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Afterlife in Dunedin . . . Mischael Palmer bought his 1990 Mercury Grand Marquis station wagon after it had been decommissioned as a hearse. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

Hearse enthusiast Mischael Palmer, of Shiel Hill, talks to Shawn McAvinue about his 1990 Mercury Grand Marquis station wagon.

When did you buy it?

In an online auction about three months ago.

What’s its history?

I’m the second owner. Lamb & Hayward Funeral Directors in Christchurch imported it new to New Zealand.

Was it a hearse?

Yes. There are a lot of pictures of it online in service. It was especially busy after the earthquake. The tray has been taken out of the back and it’s an eight-seater now.

How do you get eight people in it?

Three in the front, three in the middle and two in the back facing each other.

Does its former life give you the creeps at all?

Nah, I’m not too worried about that. I once owned a Falcon hearse used by Gillions Funeral Services.

What’s the appeal of hearses?

They are tidy and have low kilometres on the speedo so they’re pretty good bang for your buck and you can’t beat the imposing look of them. The Falcon and the Mercury both have blue velvet interiors.

Is the blue velvet a deal clincher?

Definitely.

Is it thirsty?

It’s not too bad. It’s a fuel-injected V8, column shift 4-speed automatic and runs nicely.

Do you have any plans to modify it?

I’m going to keep it as is – the dignified look.