Specialty Vehicles: What’s New in 2017

ss-and-superiorS&S and Superior added great new features to their 2016 professional vehicles last year. The 2016 line up had funeral directors wanting to trade their older models for the new S&S or Superior styles that were unveiled at the last NFDA show.

The major changes S&S and Superior made when they returned to their roots last year hit the market with great response.

S&S and Superior released a new coach, the S&S Park Hill, at NFDA show last year.

“The Park Hill name dates back to 1958; it was a distinctive limousine styled funeral coach. The all-new 2016 S&S Park Hill is built on the Cadillac XTS chassis and featured distinctive limousine styled windows. The S&S Park Hill comes standard with a stainless steel roof band, a full painted top, and a traditional left or right hinged rear load door. Those who buy S&S products appreciate the history, longevity and prestige of the brand; they know that all S&S vehicles are refined, and well appointed,” says Mike McKiernan, Senior Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Product Development for S&S and Superior.

S&S ParkHill

S&S ParkHill

On the Superior side, the brand identify and nameplate was totally refreshed. With last year’s 2016 Superior hearses, the brand really focused on achieving superiority in every respect. The Sovereign has proved to be a coach of exceptional value. It’s a high quality coach, very dependable, stylish, reliable and priced to compete with any coach in the market. In 2016, Superior introduced optional oval limousine widows for the Sovereign models, a move that was very well received in the industry.

“We also widened the casket floors on both S&S and Superior Cadillac line up last year, a trend that will continue in our 2017 models as well. The width will still be 42 inches wide, and the side doors open 73 degrees. Both are still among the widest in the industry,” mentions McKiernan.

Superior Oval Window

Superior Oval Window

This year, S&S and Superior are really taking time to focus even deeper on their brands, stressing quality and craftsmanship to get back to their heritage. Both brands carry a legacy of excellence and that doesn’t just happen.

“After the introduction of the Cadillac XTS 70 inch limousine and S&S Park Hill last year, we are taking the time to refine them even more for 2017. While we are very happy with our product line, there is always room for improvements. For example, our 2017 Cadillac limousines will be equipped with a modified center seat for greater passenger comfort. We will also be making minor refinements to the interior and we will continue to find ways to make improvements, even in the most minute details of our products,” says McKiernan.

70 Inch Limo rear to front interior.

70 Inch Limo rear to front interior.

With cremation trending strong right now, S&S and Superior have found that people still want full funeral services. All 2017 S&S coaches will be equipped with a standard portable urn holder which will be available as an option on the Superior models. “This allows a full life honoring service with the use of our coach even when the family chooses cremation,” explains McKiernan.

Make sure you get another look at the newly refined S&S and Superior cars at the NFDA show this October.


federal-eagleFrom the beginning, Eagle and Federal Coach have always worked hard to design and manufacture high quality professional vehicles that exceed customer expectations. For 2017, that will not change. Eagle and Federal Coach are taking their line of top notch vehicles and making some significant changes to the interior.

“We are taking the lineup that we have had for the last couple of years and making major adjustments to the interior of the Kinglsey and Heritage models. Last year we introduced the Echelon with new interior and adjustments to the top, but this year our focus is on the Kingsley and Heritage models,” explains Nathan Hurst, National Sales Manager.

The XTS Kingsley is both beautiful and functional. It features a full vinyl top, chrome coach lamps and landau bars, and 50-inch rear side doors. New to 2017, each Eagle XTS Kingsley comes standard with an extend-a-sill, adding the portable Urn Enclave to the featured options list. The Kingsley can also be equipped with many optional features including strobe kits, flags, extend tables. The 2017 Eagle XTS Kingsley is ideally positioned for the funeral director that requires elegance at a cost-effective price.

Federal Heritage

Federal Heritage

Designed to provide funeral directors and livery operators with the most sought-after and practical features on the market, Federal’s 2017 Cadillac XTS Heritage offers unsurpassed practicality and elegance. Its big and bold exterior design makes a striking appearance while its large interior dimensions yields maximum functionality. The 2017 Cadillac XTS Heritage is becoming the most popular Federal funeral coach in the industry. It comes standard with landau bows that are chrome with the silver Federal emblem, emergency unlock switch that unlocks the driver’s door – located in rear license plate pocket, a vinyl top, and polished aluminum wheels. Extra features such as a backup camera, dome lights, drapes for the rear side and loading doors, and an urn holder are all add on options for the Heritage.

“In addition to the redesigned interiors, the Heritage will feature a new landau panel interior design which is far different from the traditional look we have had in previous years. The car will be brighter and lighter due to this new lighting that has been added,” explains Hurst, “The same goes for the Kinsley. The Kingsley has always had a traditional look to it, and for 2017 we have worked to achieve a more contemporary look with recessed lighting,” he continues. When it comes to technology, the 2017 line up will include a lot of the great features that were available last year. The grill design will remain the same and there will still be 4G wifi capabilities offered in the 2017 line up. The Cadillac models come standard with backup cameras and reverse sensors as well.

Eagle Kingsley

Eagle Kingsley

“One of the things we are known for on our 6 door limousine is that the GPS navigation comes standard in the vehicles, which is something our competitors do not offer,” says Hurst.
As the shift towards cremation grows in popularity, the market for specialty vehicles has had to work to design vehicles that include cremation services.

“The constant challenge for us to figure out how we fit in an industry when cremation is always growing. We’ve worked hard to design around the incorporation of cremation services within our vehicles,” explains Hurst.

With Eagle and Federal vehicles, customers have come to expect innovative design and quality in every aspect. Year after year, the vehicles offer a quality traditional exterior with the same well known interior. The newly designed interior for 2017 will really put the Eagle and Federal Coach vehicle lineup ahead of the competition. Thus far, Eagle and Federal Coach have been recognized in the industry as leaders in overall quality, style, innovation and customer satisfaction and 2017 will be no different.

“With our new interiors, we will really stand apart from our competition with our 2017 lineup. In the past few years, we have really advanced when it comes to lighting features inside the cars. This has given the cars a much warmer and lighter feel overall and highlights the casket in any type of outdoor light,” says Hurst.


rosewoodRosewood Classic Coach was created by Richard Neal, a fourth generation funeral Director and embalmer with a passion for classic cars and professional vehicles. As a child growing up in a small town funeral home, his father Bob Neal bought and sold used funeral cars as a way to support the funeral home during slow times. Today Rosewood Classic Coach has grown into one of the most unique options for funeral homes when it comes to specialty vehicles.

“The funeral industry is an ever evolving industry that will always balance the fine line between service and profitability. In today’s world of the internet, the informed consumer, third party sellers, cremation, and the emerging “green” funeral movement, it only makes sense that we – like our customers – seek out the most for our money, and begin making business decisions that look beyond a 5 year purchase cycle, and seek out long term solutions. I feel that it is time that the funeral industry has a true ‘purpose built’ professional car,” explains Richard Neal, Owner and Creator of Rosewood Classic Coach.

With this mentality, Rosewood Classic Coach was able to develop a truly timeless design and create a stunning vehicle that stands out from their competition and blurs the line between vehicle innovation and fine art.

“The Rosewood Classic Coach’s chassis is design based upon that of Chevrolet truck components and features a timeless design that isn’t offered anywhere else in the industry,” says Neal.

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With a design that stays relevant year after year, this allows funeral directors to break their lease purchase cycle and buy a car that will never go out of style. The heavy duty truck chassis components provide a strong base for a car that is an unbelievably powerful marketing tool that makes financial sense.

“All of our cars offer the latest and greatest fuel injection, overdrive and emission technology that GM has to offer. We also use composite bodies which are impervious to rust and heavy duty, powdercoated frame rails. We then delicately outfit the exterior with the customer’s unique brand of colors, logos, gold leaf, and embellishments to make a memorable tribute vehicle,” explains Neal.

All Rosewood Classic Coaches are built on a nearly indestructible custom chassis featuring the best of GM truck components and engineering. Because Rosewood Classic Coach custom designs their proprietary chassis, they have the ability to incorporate ergonomic storage compartments for the church trucks in the rear as well as a huge – but discreet – 1000lb capacity, pullout drawer concealed neatly underneath the passenger side casket floor. Rosewood’s use of a rugged chassis, composite bodies and stainless steel bright work will ensure that customer’s brand icon & trademark remains a timeless heirloom for decades to come.

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New for 2017, is the Grand Vista window design. This window is floor to ceiling, features 7-foot arched glass, and combines the best styling elements from the traditional horse drawn hearse carriage with the golden era of automotive design. The Grand Vista is the 6th funeral coach design in Rosewood’s offerings.

“It satisfies my soul knowing what a difference our vehicles make for grieving families – to restore the honor and grandeur that much of our industry has misplaced, and to create enduring, powerful memory pictures for not only the families, but as brand icons for their owners.” Richard Neal

Rosewood Classic Coaches are custom made to your colors and specifications by the finest craftsmen. Production is limited. For more information you may contact Rosewood Classic Coach at 501-477-2229 or visit them at www.rosewoodclassiccoach.com. FBA


fcaSince FCA invented the minivan over 30 years ago, a lot has changed. This year FCA is taking the time to reinvent that iconic brand staple.

“Over the years, our Chrysler and Dodge minivans have won more awards than any other minivans in the industry. We’ve introduced 78 minivan innovations. Things like dual sliding doors, Stow ‘n Go seating and front passenger airbags are all things developed by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) that were firsts in the industry. Chrysler is known as the inventor of the minivan segment, and we want to continue to be recognized as such, so this year we wanted to focus on reinventing the segment with the all-new Chrysler Pacifica” explained Matt McAlear, Senior Manager for Chrysler Brand Product Marketing.

The new Pacifica has had more research and development put into it than any other vehicle has ever had in the history of the FCA vehicle line.

“We went out and spoke with our owner base, which is extremely loyal, to see what they wanted out of the next generation minivan. We also talked with people who bought competitive vehicles to see why they chose other vans in the past. Lastly, we did a lot of research looking in to why current SUV owners had left the minivan segment. All of this research helped us create a completely new vehicle from the ground up. The entirely new architecture, created solely for the Pacifica, makes it, not only the best minivan, but also one of the best vehicles in the industry and in the world,” said McAlear.

Since its launch in January of this year at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit and from when it went on sale in April, the Pacifica is already the most awarded minivan of the year.

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

“With the Pacifica, there is so much to talk about. We started with ground breaking design, added best-in-class aerodynamics and even packaged the most powerful vacuum in the segment to keep the interior clean. It’s a vehicle that is large enough to carry an entire family, and also very quiet. We have standard noise cancelation on all Chrysler Pacifica minivans, so you can carry on a conversation from the first row to the third row, with seven or eight passengers, very comfortably. It’s the vehicle that my family uses and loves. It’s the kind of vehicle that just makes life easier,” explained McAlear.

The Pacifica’s design makes it easy to get in and out of, and it’s easy to store a lot of cargo or luggage in it, as well. And it’s fun to drive. There are five available models of the Pacifica and they all include the same 287 horsepower V6 with unsurpassed 28 mpg highway fuel economy. They all have lots of power, the same transmission, the same suspension, and standard noise cancelation – so they all ride, handle, and drive the same. The difference in the models is in the amenities.

“What model is right for you depends on if you want cloth or leather seats, our 20 speaker Harman Kardon surround sound system, high definition touch screens on the rear seats with games and apps, 20-inch wheels and more. We have a model that will fit everyone’s lifestyle, and we offer over 100 safety and security features. The Pacifica will even park itself with the available parallel and perpendicular park assist feature” said McAlear.

The Pacifica offers a 360 degree bird’s eye view camera, so the driver can see all the way around the vehicle, a standard backup camera, as well as park sense, which will stop the car if something is detected behind it. There are also options for heated and ventilated first row seats and heated second row seats. The Pacifica is still the only minivan on the market that can stow the second- and third-row seats completely into the floor, making it possible to store a lot of cargo. Up to 64 sheets of quarter inch 4×8 plywood will fit in the back of the Pacifica. The versatility of all these amenities makes the Pacifica a great option for families and business owners.

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid (L) and Chrysler Pacifica (R)

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid (L) and Chrysler Pacifica (R)

“It’s just so versatile, you can reconfigure the seats in 243 different seat combinations. So when you look at the Pacifica for small business and people who need a vehicle for multiple uses, it’s a really great option. You can use it for 7-8 people, easily get in and out, configure the seats to fit exactly what you need, all while getting 28 mpg highway,” said McAlear.

New for this year, FCA will release the industry’s first ever hybrid electric minivan. It will have a 30 mile electric range, 530 mile total gas and electric range, standard V6 engine, and rapid charge that fully charges the vehicle in just two hours. This makes it totally feasible for a small business owner to operate Monday through Friday without ever using any gas and still take a long trip on the weekend with the benefit of the 17-gallon fuel tank and standard V6.

“In times of grieving, no one wants to deal with the trouble of transportation, and the Pacifica just makes it easy and effortless. It makes the transportation process fade into the background. With the Pacifica, you have one less thing to worry about,” said McAlear.


captureRance Bennett grew up in the automotive business with his father, so naturally he grew to love all automobiles. As time went on, he became more and more interested in the coach-built cars of the 1920s and 1930s. It fascinated him knowing there was a time when you would order the chassis you desired, then contact a coach-builder to have a body constructed, which could range anywhere from a four door sedan to an open 2-seat roadster or a magnificent limousine.

“I eventually realized that funeral cars are the last of the coach-built cars,” mentioned Rance Bennett, Owner of Bennett Funeral Coaches located in Middleville, Michigan.

Today, Bennett builds a traditional hearse with contemporary design; the Landau Coach.

“We wanted the vehicle’s coach-work to align with Cadillac’s design. We wanted the car to look like as though it was built by Cadillac” explained Bennett.

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This year, Bennett is introducing their new Cadillac XTS State Coach, which uses a massive amount of glass, so the casket and flowers (or flag) are displayed in full-view. With this design, familes and loved ones get to see what really matters. After all, as Rance says, “they didn’t come to see the hearse.” FBA

By | 2016-11-15T19:40:33+00:00 September 22nd, 2016|Issue Features, Special Feature|Comments Off on Specialty Vehicles: What’s New in 2017

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