Deporah Hornberger and Stephane Langelier, from Kendallville, Indiana, have an unusual hobby – collecting vintage hearses. The gothic couple have three well-maintained funeral coaches stowed away in their spacious garage – all are modified Cadillacs, two from 1949 and one from 1964.
Stephane, a talented artist and musician who runs a pipe organ service, explained that he has always loved hearses. He met Deporah, a local realtor, in a gothic-style bar in Washington D.C. 10 years ago, and they have been inseparable ever since. Among their many shared interests is a common love for hearses.
The couple are members of the ‘Just Hearse ‘N Around’ car club in Michigan, and participate in car shows around the country. Whenever they show off their cars in these parades, they make sure to dress up – Stephane wears a top hat, black jacket and black leather pants, and Deporah shows up in a red satin and black lace gown.
Stephane said that he prefers to do all the restoration work on the hearses himself. He is currently working on the couple’s third vehicle, converting it into a ‘rat hearse’ – that means he’s restoring the interiors and the engine, but he’ll leave the coppery exterior as is. The couple plan to name the car ‘Rusty Patina’ once she’s ready.
But Stephane doesn’t leave all his cars in their original condition – for Charcoal La Bete, the second 1949 Cadillac, he installed a plush red velvet interior and upholstery, with a silky gray exterior. He even put a coffin in the back with a dressed skeleton in it, named ‘Skelly’. He previously added pipes that shoot flames out the back of the 1964 hearse, La Belle.
In its heyday, La Belle doubled as an ambulance as well. It has two jump seats at the back to accommodate medics, and the floor panels have rollers for the coffins, which can be flipped over to a flat surface for patient transport. According to Stephane, the arrangement was made for villages that couldn’t afford to have a hearse as well as an ambulance.
“That way, if you died on your way to the hospital, you were already in a hearse,” he joked.
When the couple go to car shows, they prefer to camp out in the back of La Belle. They’ve installed heavy curtains on the windows for privacy. No, they don’t actually sleep in coffins – they use sleeping bags instead and they say that it makes for a pretty cozy place to spend the night!
Photo: Stephane Langlier/Facebook
via News Sentinel