We are here to offer some monthly tips, tricks, and tales from the automotive industry. Whether you are fellow gearheads, garage aficionados, or maybe you think about blinker fluid (Hint, Hint, you don’t have any blinker fluid), we are here for you. We are Jimmy & Leigh-Ann of Shift’N Gears Garage in Paso Robles. If you don’t know us already, we are both locals who decided to give back to our community and open up an ASE Master Certified full-service auto repair shop. 

Holidays & Hearses — OH MY!

The holidays are around the corner with Halloween kicking off the season! Looking for some “spooky table talk”? Here are some fun and possibly useless facts about, THE HEARSE.


Honoring our lost loved ones has been filled with ritual and intrigue dating back to ancient times. The hearse remains a popular choice for the mode of transportation for funerals and other medical-related events. As is with anything death-related, you will find myths and stories galore surrounding them.

“Don’t you ever laugh when a hearse goes by … ’Cause you might be the next to die.” This morbid western song has many versions with no official origin story; but made popular during World War I.

The term “hearse” is actually French and derived from Latin origins. Herse refers to a harrow, or a plow. So how did a vehicle carrying the deceased come to be named after piece of farming equipment? Early horse-drawn hearses consisted of a wooden framework with spikes used to hold candles. This candelabra-like structure resembled the teeth of a harrow. The name stuck in the 17th century.

In 1908, the first motorized hearse was ELECTRIC from General Vehicle Company. A year later, Crane & Breed released the first gasoline-powered hearse. Along with everything else, the hearse was evolving to suit the needs of the technological society in the Western world. It was not uncommon for hearses to serve as both funeral cars and ambulances, especially in small towns. But, with stricter regulations implemented in the 1970’s these “combination coaches” became more rare and then obsolete. 

Amongst hearse enthusiasts, the 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor hearse is considered one of the most desirable for collectors and recognizable for movie-goers, due to its especially ornate styling and appearances in several feature films, most notably in the 1984 film, “Ghostbusters.” 


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