We are pleased to be able to offer our 1957 Austin FX3 hearse, the vehicle which was purchased by Archie Cuthell and his brother Jim in 1968 is the second hearse that the company owned. She was retired in the mid 1980’s and was brought out of retirement for Archie’s funeral in 1992. In the intervening years the hearse was kept garaged and although roadworthy was sadly not in a presentable state that would enable her to be used by bereaved families.
A decision was taken by the Cuthell family in 2011 that with the hearse being such an important part of their history and such an unusual vehicle that she should be fully restored. This was overseen by Paul Cuthell and in the intervening time the full vehicle was taken back to a shell to ensure that no area was overlooked. Bo’ness mechanic Ian Riddell and his staff were responsible for stripping and rebuilding the whole engine whilst Falkirk’s Jim Blair oversaw the re-spraying of the vehicle. Other local tradesmen were also able to complete the restoration of the leather seats etc and completely re-wire the vehicle to ensure 100% reliability. The restoration was completed in the summer of 2013.
Sadly many of the vintage funeral vehicles used in the early days of motor vehicles no longer survive and this hearse is now one of only three of this kind that is believed to be in existence, one of which is not in use and the other is in England. Although a number of English funeral directors have vintage hearses which are still in use, this is believed to be the only original vintage hearse in Scotland.
We are delighted that such an important part of our history has not only been saved but is available to be used by the bereaved should they so wish. In recent years we have realised that bereaved families are looking for alternative options, we are often asked to provide a horse drawn hearse or a motorcycle hearse and indeed many other alternatives which are available to the public. Our family felt that the Austin Hearse was something unique to our business and indeed a historic part of the funeral profession which should be saved.