Mercury Grand Marquis hearse

Does anyone have any literature or advertising material for the Meteor Motor Car Company, not Miller Meteor, aka Caserta Professional Vehicles. These must be kinda' rare, maybe as few as 17 were made. Most were done on Mercury chasis. I have found a brief history of the company but would like more info and pictures. Thanks have a safe and well 2021.
 

Philip Scanio

PCS Member / Super Site Supporter
Stephen, I spoke with Tom Caserta in February 2006. He did send photos but asked me to return them and I did. He explained that a one piece composite cap was added and the frame was extended 14 inches behind the rear wheels. The original 4 doors were not altered. The exhaust was curved to exit behind right rear wheel. The original trunk was left in place for the spare and storage and was accessed by a hinged door in the rear floor. He said that he started working on this in 1996. The car was not QVM certified by Ford. List price was $ 54,950 but there were incentives of $ 10,000 so he could deliver the car for $ 44,950 plus TT&L. Delivery would be 4 months after order and 50% deposit. At that time a new Federal Lincoln was $ 68,000. I did not buy one. I seem to remember seeing a gold on built on a Crown Victoia in a trade journal. I hope that this helps. Philip
 

Daniel Scully

PCS Member
Super Site Supporter
I, am guessing you have this info , it came from Coachbuilt.com

Meteor Motor Car Co.
Meteor Motor Car Company, 1996-present; Piqua, Ohio
Associated Builders
Caserta Professional Vehicles
Totally unrelated to the original Meteor firm, the Meteor Motor Car Co. (aka Caserta Professional Vehicles/Car Sales of Piqua, Ohio) was started by Thomas Caserta in 1996. Caserta, a former 18-year Miller-Meteor employee, produced a handful of new Meteor Carmelita coaches on Mercury Grand Marquis sedans at his West Ash St. dealership in Piqua, Ohio. The Carmelita is made by stretching the rear quarter-panel of a standard-wheelbase Marquis by 13" which allows just enough space for a full-sized casket to fit behind the driver's compartment bulkhead.
Tom Caserta started out at Miller-Meteor in 1962, and after Cotner-Bevington was acquired by Divco-Wayne, he was sent there to streamline production methods. His efforts had a big influence on the popularity of C-B coaches in the late '60's, as it was he who made the decision to make the list of standard features in Cotner-Bevingtons so complete as to include air-conditioning, radio, full wheel-covers and whitewall tires, etc. Export sales were a common thing for his products.
© 2004 Mark Theobald - Coachbuilt.com, with special thanks to Bernie DeWinter IV.
 
Stephen, I spoke with Tom Caserta in February 2006. He did send photos but asked me to return them and I did. He explained that a one piece composite cap was added and the frame was extended 14 inches behind the rear wheels. The original 4 doors were not altered. The exhaust was curved to exit behind right rear wheel. The original trunk was left in place for the spare and storage and was accessed by a hinged door in the rear floor. He said that he started working on this in 1996. The car was not QVM certified by Ford. List price was $ 54,950 but there were incentives of $ 10,000 so he could deliver the car for $ 44,950 plus TT&L. Delivery would be 4 months after order and 50% deposit. At that time a new Federal Lincoln was $ 68,000. I did not buy one. I seem to remember seeing a gold on built on a Crown Victoria in a trade journal. I hope that this helps. Philip
Plil, thank you for the information. Your description is accurate as I have spent many hours under my Meteor. The 14" overhang poses issues because of ground clearance. Even empty the tail end scrapes on any drive way that is not flat. Loaded it must have been restrictive. The funeral home had recently installed air shocks to resolve the issue. They did not. I installed the Mercury "cop" coil springs, that helped some. I also installed air bags inside the springs, that helped more. The ass end still drags so after I repaired the fiberglass I installed a 1/4" X 1 1/4" aluminum bar fully across the rear most portion of the extension. I was able tuck it under far enough so that it is not visible, unless you look very closely, and it is removable should I ever want to. The Chicano taildraggers used to use the same trick for different reasons. I also spent a couple of hours under it replacing the OEM fuel pump. When Mr. Caserta had the mold made for the fiberglass extension he had the name METEOR molded into the glass, it is hidden under the license plate. A nice touch I touch. The lack of a full partition is a plus and a annoyance at the same time. I mounted additional speakers in a box aft of the seat along with an additional power outlet for passenger driver convenience so the partial partition works fine.

I have what I believe may be the last coach built by Meteor. VIN 2MEFM74W32X639580 2002 Mercury Grand Marquis, it is titled as a " Vehicle Type: Passenger". I purchased it in April of 2018 from a funeral home in Lubbock, TX., AGAPE. It had 40K on the clock. The funeral director told me that when he bought it it was Tom's demo that he drove to prospective customers to show case the line. Not sure if that is factual. I contacted Tom's son shortly after buying the coach to see if he had any additional info, he said any information would be in possession of his Mom in Ohio. But he asked me not to contact her because she was still grieving, I never did. The Meteor is our 8th coach, at one time we had 5 sitting in the drive. Contact me at Hearse_queen2yahoo.com and I can give you additional info about our many hearse experiences. Thank you again for the come back.
 
I, am guessing you have this info , it came from Coachbuilt.com

Meteor Motor Car Co.
Meteor Motor Car Company, 1996-present; Piqua, Ohio
Associated Builders
Caserta Professional Vehicles
Totally unrelated to the original Meteor firm, the Meteor Motor Car Co. (aka Caserta Professional Vehicles/Car Sales of Piqua, Ohio) was started by Thomas Caserta in 1996. Caserta, a former 18-year Miller-Meteor employee, produced a handful of new Meteor Carmelita coaches on Mercury Grand Marquis sedans at his West Ash St. dealership in Piqua, Ohio. The Carmelita is made by stretching the rear quarter-panel of a standard-wheelbase Marquis by 13" which allows just enough space for a full-sized casket to fit behind the driver's compartment bulkhead.
Tom Caserta started out at Miller-Meteor in 1962, and after Cotner-Bevington was acquired by Divco-Wayne, he was sent there to streamline production methods. His efforts had a big influence on the popularity of C-B coaches in the late '60's, as it was he who made the decision to make the list of standard features in Cotner-Bevingtons so complete as to include air-conditioning, radio, full wheel-covers and whitewall tires, etc. Export sales were a common thing for his products.
© 2004 Mark Theobald - Coachbuilt.com, with special thanks to Bernie DeWinter IV.
Thank you Dan, I have many books on the development and history of the coach industry but Meteor Car Company is neglected by most. Too small, too recent. See my reply to Philip below. My crazy wife and I have had 6 full coaches and 2 station wagon conversion first call cars, one a Mercury and one Ford. We have also had a Miller, a S&S (2), and a Superior. My wife is the "car guy" and has some local notoriety because of her fondness for eclectic vehicles. She was staff at a Kansas university and drove her Superior to work for years. She now drives an orange and black smart Passion, her Halloween toy. Stay well, stay safe.
 
This is a picture of 3 of our coaches and 1 of our first call vehicles. My daughter and I at one time owned 2 fire stations also, this is the smaller of the 2. This was taken just before a CO club came to visit.
 

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I sold the white S&S in the photo in 2005 to a friend, Mick Smith, that recently passed away in 2020. I bought the S&S back from the estate. Mick was a true hearse guy, may he R.I.P.
 

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