This post is motivated by another that Paul Niedermeyer did yesterday on that fantastic website of his, Curbside Classics (link here). I've been including some of my car pictures on a Flickr group, created to allow fans to contribute their pictures to Curbside Classic (the "Cohort", here). And yesterday Paul used this one, of a Cadillac CTS Hearse I took in downtown Santiago.
I had never seriously tried to find more about these vehicles, as I assumed they were imported. But the comments on Curbside Classics made me realize they could be something more unique. So I stated the quest to find their origin... something that took me like 3 seconds of Googling.
On this rear shot, you can see the little "Elegance" badge on the sides. I followed that bit of info to this website: coronacarrozados.cl. Carrozados Corona is the responsible for all those hearses I've taking pictures of lately, often generating surprised comments from people abroad. Turns out they are built in Chile, specifically in the town of San Felipe! They are an originally Argentine company, that established a factory here in 2001. Maybe I could try and ask for a factory tour, the town is not that far from Santiago.
Let's start with the most unusual I've seen. This Hyundai Sonata hearse I snapped not long ago in Peñalolén:
And here it is, as shown by Corona (website link).
Seems to me like Corona calls this bodyshape the Elegant President, as they have a picture of a Chrysler 300 with the same rear and name. It does look really good, specially on the swoopy Sonata.
Talking about the Chrysler 300, I've seen it too. This more squared version of the custom body is called Chrysler 300 Elegance Premium (more pictures also here).
But as I was telling you, the 300 can also get the President treatment.
More traditional, to my eye at least, are those hearses based on models from Mercedes-Benz. This I have not seen myself. Or maybe I did and just didn't take a picture. A Mercedes hearse just doesn't catch my eye as a Hyundai does!
Talking about eye-catching, it was the Dodge Magnum conversions the first that started to call my attention, as I recall them appearing at funeral homes beside the traditional 90's Caprice/Roadmaster/Custom Cruiser trio. Turns out Corona does both Magnum and Caprice conversions.
The final variations of the surprisingly broad range of Elegance hearses leds us to 4 more different Korean cars! I have yet to see any of these, and I can't wait to find them, as I'm sure they have to be very unique vehicles worldwide. Maybe there are similar things in Korea, but I can't see where else... especially with this: The Samsung SM5 Elegance.
I don't know if the Renault Samsung brand is sold nowadays anywhere other than in Chile and South Korea. So these have to be extremely exclusive vehicles. I think the President style might suit this car betther, though.Sonata, and both Kia Magentis and the hideous Opirus.