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Abbot & Hast Co.
Abbott & Hast Company, 1957-present; Monterey, California
 
Associated Builders
 
     

The Abbott & Hast Company of Monterey, California was formed in 1957 by Allan Abbott and Ron Hast to assist funeral homes in the transportation of floral tributes and equipment from the mortuary to the gravesite. By the end of the year, the pair began offering a livery service that included both limousines and funeral coaches as well as local and long distance decendent transportation.

The company grew to become the largest funeral support company in the western United States, employing over 50, and operating in excess of 50 funeral-related vehicles. Abbot & Hast also provided funeral coaches and props to movie studios and television production companies. They estimate that Abbot & Hast-owned equipment has appeared in over 300 movies, television shows and commercials.

Because they purchased new vehicles every year, they always had the latest models, and when a local funeral home was chosen to direct the services of a VIP, Abbot & Hast would usually provide the cars and drivers. Between 1957 through 1985, Abbott & Hast vehicles participated in the funeral services of Marilyn Monroe, Natalie Wood, Clark Gable, Jack Benny, Gary Cooper, Ernie Kovacs, Jack Warner, Mario Lanza, David O. Selznick, Karen Carpenter and Los Angeles Police Chief William H. Parker.

A marked expansion commenced in 1973 and Abbott & Hast acquired a number of funeral homes in the  greater Los Angeles area. Two years later they purchased Berg Publications Inc., the publisher of Mortuary Management magazine. The firm had advertised its "junior hearse" conversions in the magazine since the 1960s with large ads that featured Dodge-based coaches using either Monaco or Coronet wagons. Later ads dating from the mid-1970s featured Ford-based conversions.

In 1960, the partners created their first "junior hearse" a formally converted Dodge station wagon. A typical Abbot & Hast conversion consisted of an all-black, but otherwise stock station wagon outfitted with a frosted tailgate window with a large cycas leaf pattern in it, and fixed, side door drapes in a rayed pattern made of a sheer material that allowed for one way vision. 

Abbott & Hast stopped offering their station wagon conversions in 1985 and the name of the company was eventually changed to Abbott & Hast Publications, Inc. and in that form it continues today.

2004 Mark Theobald - Coachbuilt.com, with special thanks to Bernie DeWinter IV.

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Pictures

1967 Dodge Coronet Junior Hearse by Abbott & Hast

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References

www.abbottandhast.com

The Professional Car, Issue # 51, First Quarter 1989

Gregg D. Merksamer - Professional Cars: Ambulances, Funeral Cars and Flower Cars

Thomas A. McPherson - American Funeral Cars & Ambulances Since 1900

Walt McCall & Tom McPherson - Classic American Funeral Vehicles 1900-1980 Photo Archive

Walter M.P. McCall - American Funeral Vehicles 1883-2003

Thomas A. MacPherson - The Dodge Story

George H. Dammann - 90 Years of Ford

   
 
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