THE “PROFESSIONAL CARS” ARE HEADED FOR MOTOWN

August 1, 2018 | By Ted Kade

As you well know, certain vehicles are bound to stand out among the gleaming entries at any car show. Among those to quickly catch you eye are, perhaps, a Plymouth Superbird with its towering spoiler, a ’57 Chevy that looks as if it had just rolled out of a showroom…or maybe a perfectly restored ambulance or hearse…

That’s correct, while they may make up a small segment of the hobby, there’s an enthusiastic group of restorers and collectors who are “Dedicated to the preservation and appreciation of vintage ambulances, funeral cars & livery vehicles.” They even have their own club—the Professional Car Society— that holds an annual event, and this year’s gathering, the 42nd Annual International Meet, will be held Aug. 13-19 in Sterling Heights, Michigan, a suburb just north of Detroit.

Here’s how the club describes its mission and provides insight regarding some of its strongest followers: “The acceptance and appreciation of hearses and ambulances within the wider old car hobby took a huge leap forward when the Professional Car Society was founded in 1976 to advocate authentic restorations, establish judging standards and discourage morbid displays of coffins, cobwebs and skeletons that distract from the fine craftsmanship and aesthetics of these virtually custom-built vehicles. This emphasis on heritage has resonated especially strongly with funeral directors and emergency service personnel who have spent their careers working in ‘pro-cars,’ so it’s unsurprising they constitute a large share of the 1000 PCS members counted in the U.S., Canada and a dozen other countries.”

If you’re from the Detroit area, it’s no doubt occurred to you that this year’s PCS meet will overlap with the famous Woodward Dream Cruise which officially takes place on the iconic street on Aug. 18. (For more on the Dream Cruise, see page 3.)

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This A.J. Miller-bodied 1950 Cadillac was trailered 1900 miles each way from Florenceville, New Brunswick, in Canada to Lebanon, Missouri, for the PCS 2017 International Meet.

In fact, the club is capitalizing on the timing by taking part in the Ferndale, Michigan, Emergency Vehicle show which takes place on Friday, Aug. 17. (Woodward runs through Ferndale and is part of the Dream Cruise territory.) Then at 5 p.m. Friday, club members and their special vehicles will take part in the Dream Cruise ribbon-cutting ceremony and participate in a “Code 3” lights and siren procession to help kick off the official portion of the cruise. (Understand that Saturday the 18th is the official day for the Dream Cruise but many folks start cruising Woodward days in advance in anticipation of the event.)

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The PCS 2017 Host’s Choice honors went to this all-white 1952 National Pontiac Eight ambulance.

As the Woodward cruise is proceeding on Saturday the 18th, the PCS will hold its Professional Car Concours beginning at 10 a.m. at its event host location, the Wyndham Garden Sterling Heights Hotel at 34911 Van Dyke at 15 Mile Road. The club says the concours “will offer Motor City citizens another opportunity to see Cadillac, LaSalle, Lincoln, Packard, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Buick, Ford, Studebaker and other chassis artfully bodied as hearses, flower cars, ambulances and limousines by such renowned specialist builders as Eureka, Flxible, Henney, Pinner, Siebert, Sayers & Scovill, Miller-Meteor, Cotner/Bevington, Armbruster/Stageway and Superior.”

The PCS event will wrap up at 9 p.m. Saturday with a Light and Sound Show by the ambulances’ beacons and sirens which organizers say will bring the meet “to a memorable conclusion.”

For more on the club and its annual meet, visit www.TheProfessionalCarSociety.org; email hookjch@ptd. net. –Ted Kade, Editor