If you saw this vehicle on the road, you’d probably think it originated in the 1920s or 1930s. But this Baron Roadster was originally designed in the 1970s by Max Prinzing, a pioneering automotive manufacturer who created vehicles that looked like old classics.
Richard Neal, President of Rosewood Classic Coach, debuted this prototype roadster at the National Funeral Directors Association convention and expo in 2016. His hearses, based on the designs of Prinzing’s vehicles, look like classic cars. But each custom-made vehicle is built on a modern automotive chassis with current engines from General Motors.
Neal is a fourth generation funeral director and embalmer from the tiny town of Morrilton, Arkansas. He has a lifelong passion for classic cars and funeral service vehicles. His father, third generation funeral director Bob Neal, bought and sold used funeral cars as a way to support the funeral home during slow times. Richard became obsessed with restoring and reinventing hearses.
About the roadster, Neal said, “Prinzing only built four of these vehicles. The fourth one was never completed, and we had the pleasure of bringing it back to life and offer it to our public and our consumers. He hand-sculpted and designed this body style, as well as our hearses.”
At NFDA, Neal had the roadster coupled with a trailer hearse. “Funeral homes can use this as a lead car, a parade vehicle, a personal vehicle,” explained Neal. “They can team it up with the trailer as a funeral coach, and they can also use it as a floral tribute vehicle.” Rosewood offers an insert that facilitates a lovely floral display inside the trailer.
The prototype roadster on display was a high-performance version, with a high-performance suspension, 15-inch wide rear tires, and a 430-horse Corvette LS-3 motor. There is a convertible top, and they are designing a removable hard top.
“We figured it [the roadster] would make a nice tax write-off for a weekend car,” joked Neal.
Enthusiasm was so high for this roadster, Neal kept the vehicle’s doors locked, to keep attendees from climbing into the driver’s seat (but your faithful correspondent got a special dispensation – see below). Don’t hold your breath waiting for delivery – there’s a 10-1/2 month wait to complete each vehicle. Learn more at www.RosewoodClassicCoach.com.
And here’s a video from Max Prinzing, focused on other vehicles he created, the Madame X Series Motor Car, and a link in the description to information about the range of vehicles created by the Prinzing Motor Company: