1977 - 1979 Superior Downsized Ambulances

Paul Steinberg

Administrator
Staff member
Super Site Supporter
Been thinking of starting this thread for a long time now. I had fully documented the 30 downsized Superior ambulances a number of years ago, but like everything on the Internet, it doesn't last forever, unless you want it to. That thread is long lost, so lets start again... Please post your pictures and whatever history that you know about them here.

This is my 1978 Superior Cadillac Ambulance first delivered to Stettler Alberta Hospital in Canada. It then traded to Crestline Ambulance manufactures, and they sold it to went to another location, and eventually wound up at the Copper River EMS in Glennallen Alaska. This picture was taken when it was still in Alaska.

Note: The downsized ambulances had many different side light options, and roof light options. This is one way to know which car they are, since most times, these options are the only way to tell them apart. You can tell the different years by the tail lights and sometimes the front directional lights and grille. The differences are very subtle.
 

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Steve Loftin

PCS Member - Elected Director 2020-2023
Site Supporter
McAlester F.D.
1979 Transport

This was the last Cadillac ambulance sold new in Oklahoma. It was sold to an individual locally in the late 1980s via city auction. That buyer dismantled it for a restoration that never occurred. I have no idea of its disposition.

(SL photos)
 

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Here's my story. This '79 I believe was #4 of the last 10 built in the final model year of Cadillac ambulance production. It was originally sold new to the Winkler, Manitoba Fire Dept., in a small Mennonite community just north of the US border. While most towns this size in Manitoba seemed to do okay with low top vans, Winkler always had high end units. They had earlier purchased a '75 C/B Olds Cotington 54 to replace a '67 Superior 48" Pontiac. In '79, they acquired the Caddy. Many years later, they purchased a slant-side type III Braun unit, and decided the '79 Superior had to go, as it had less interior working room than the older C/B Olds. I was fortunate enough to purchase the Caddy from them in early '89.

I took the Caddy to the PCS International meet that year in Decatur, IL, and rotated it between my '75 Criterion for standby duty at Winnipeg Speedway, along with Kerry's '73 S&S Cadillac (now owned by Bruce Biancalana). Pretty nice fleet of cars for a 3/8 mile dirt track!

When I moved to So. Cal. in Sept. of '89, I sold the Criterion to a local motocross association and moved my wordly possessions to CA in the '79 Superior. I stored the car for a short time with Collins Ambulance West dealership in Orange County, and later with Paul Nix. Realizing I no longer had a practical use for the car, I offered it for sale. A funeral director from Rock Springs, WY, flew in with his trusty mechanic to look at it. The mechanic immediately determined that it must be full of bondo, since his magnet would not stick to the fiberglass area on either side of the rear loading door. The FD made me a low-ball offer, and having no alternative, and running out of places to store the car, I accepted it. I later heard that they blew the motor on the car shortly afterward (that gave me some degree of satisfaction), and that it ended up at Fred McPeck's dealership in Denver. I have no way of verifying either of these statements.

Here are three shots of the car, the first two being when it was owned by Winkler FD, the last one taken after I acquired it and made some minor modifications. I added a pair of CP25 chrome speakers and a Mars 888 light, and also replaced the front bumper fog lights with sealed beam flashers. I also removed the non-factory window frosting and a set of west coast mirrors that they had added, and put the factory Cadillac mirrors back in place. Had I not moved to CA, I was thinking of repainting the chrome yellow area of the car with the factory metallic turquoise for '79 Cadillacs.Winkler001.jpgWinkler002.jpgWinkler003.jpg
 

Paul Steinberg

Administrator
Staff member
Super Site Supporter
These were documented some time ago, many with original photos, in the Northland Chapter photo archive database located at www.northlandpcs.com.

I had documented each of the 30 ambulances with the names of most of the original owners, and also went into great detail as to where they were at that time. That was about 2005 or so. I know that there is a lot of pictures of them in the Northland website, however, it wouldn't be proper to take them for posting on this website without permission. Thanks Paul
 
I had documented each of the 30 ambulances with the names of most of the original owners, and also went into great detail as to where they were at that time. That was about 2005 or so. I know that there is a lot of pictures of them n the Northland website, however, it wouldn't be proper to take them for posting on this website without permission. Thanks Paul

lets merge the data.
 
Just curious, maybe this should be a thread of its own, but has something like this been done for the similar Miller Meteor downsized ambulances?
 

Tony Karsnia - Deceased - 1971-2020

September 12, 1971 - November 2, 2020
Paul,

I just wanted to point out that there are several photos and the chronological order of the cars in the Northland database. I think this thread is great, especially for more detailed stories like the one Terry shared. I think it is important that we keep the subject of these cars always alive in order to account for the survivors and their current owners.

Dennis Goethe's car, pictured by Matt Taylor, is originally from Olyphant, PA.

Todd, we are currently working on a historical documentation of the downsized Miller-Meteor Lifeliners. These cars were not as carefully documented as the Superiors and many of them look the same visually from the exterior, so this study is being carefully completed.

I have a story to share regarding a Superior Transport:

Just after I finished my junior year of high school in the spring of 1988, I got a call from my good friend, John Ringdahl, owner of Ringdahl Ambulance Service in Fergus Falls, MN, offering me the use of a Cadillac ambulance over the summer. Also an ambulance dealer and collector, John had some professional cars that were always interesting to see. One such car was the 1977 Superior Transport that was originally delivered to the ambulance service in Park River, North Dakota. He took it in trade from them in 1983, sold it to F-M Ambulance Service in Fargo, ND (whom at one time had two '77 Transports; the Park River car and the Drumheller car.) F-M traded the Park River car back to Ringdahl ca. 1987.

Anyway, I get this call from John, basically saying that if I was willing to wash, wax, and detail the '77 Superior, I could keep it all summer and enjoy it! He didn't have to ask twice. A friend of mine and I drove to Fergus Falls to pick up the Cadillac, which was filthy from having sat in a shed over the previous winter. After giving it the much-needed cleaning and detailing, I put many miles on that car over the summer of '88; had it in a few local parades, car shows, and just cruising around. Just before I began my senior year of high school that fall, we returned the car to John. He kept it for several more years before selling it to the current owner, Sparta Area Ambulance Service in Sparta, Wisconsin. The car has been repainted in Sparta's fleet colors of light blue & white.

When I had this car in 1988, it had 59,000 miles on it. It is well-equipped with Cadillac options: AM-FM radio, tilt/telescope wheel, cruise, and power seat. The interior is light tan. This car has a single battery setup with a master switch on the floor just under the front edge of the driver's seat. The switch wasn't a Cole-Hersee; just a small arm-switch with on / off positions.

This was number 7 of the 10 1977 Transports.

I took these photos in June, 1988 in my hometown of Detroit Lakes, MN.

(Karsnia photos)001.jpg002.jpg003.jpg
 

Tony Karsnia - Deceased - 1971-2020

September 12, 1971 - November 2, 2020
Car in Post 8 is the first Transport delivered (new to Cheesequake, New Jersey.) This car has been owned for many years by Past PCS President, Mike Barruzza.

Car in Post 11 is one of two identical delivered to the Village of Dundee, New York.

Car in Post 12 was delivered to Pinedale, Wyoming.
 
Great to see the love for the downsized cars, I know they arent as popular as the older coaches and rigs but hopefully they get more popular, the more documentation the better for both the hearses and ambulances, especially M-M ones
 
Dundee Fire Dept

I'm looking for more information on the car in post #11 where is it located at what is the condition does anybody have any info on the other one like it. I'm a member of the Dundee Firefighters Benevolent. They have several of there old firetrucks that are restored.
 

Darryl Thompson

PCS Life Member
I'm looking for more information on the car in post #11 where is it located at what is the condition does anybody have any info on the other one like it. I'm a member of the Dundee Firefighters Benevolent. They have several of there old firetrucks that are restored.
The car pictured is available. You can pm me if you need more info on it. (thats if no one else has).
 

Steve Loftin

PCS Member - Elected Director 2020-2023
Site Supporter
McAlester F.D.
1979 Transport

This was the last Cadillac ambulance sold new in Oklahoma. It was sold to an individual locally in the late 1980s via city auction. That buyer dismantled it for a restoration that never occurred. I have no idea of its disposition.

(SL photos)

Thankfully, this car wasn't scrapped. However, it was never painted and reassembled. It is part of this upcoming auction. I have no way of knowing, but can hopefully assume, that all the missing parts are in this building somewhere:

http://chuppsauction.com/auction/estate-auction-dec-14/
 

Kurt Arends

Super Site Supporter
Super Site Supporter
Thankfully, this car wasn't scrapped. However, it was never painted and reassembled. It is part of this upcoming auction. I have no way of knowing, but can hopefully assume, that all the missing parts are in this building somewhere:

http://chuppsauction.com/auction/estate-auction-dec-14/

That is sad. I would seriously doubt if this one sells for much more than scrap price. Any prospective buyer would, obviously, have to be there for the live auction to try assemble as many of the rig's pieces & parts that may be scattered elsewhere in the building. This one may be history.
 
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