Eagle Coach - 1981-present - Amelia, Ohio
Cincinnati is home of the
highest quality and most professional specialty vehicles ever built. Limousines designed for the most influential
men and women in the world, United States presidents, and many foreign leaders. Cincinnati’s legendary reputation
was started by the fine company Hess & Eisenhardt in the 1940s. Hess & Eisenhardt also built the status of the S&S
Funeral Coach up to the level of “perfection”. (Just ask your father, he may remember when proud owners had their
picture taken as they picked up their new coach in Cincinnati.) As all things change, so did the Hess & Eisenhardt
Company. In 1981, they sold the funeral coach division of the company off.
Eagle Coach has rapidly become recognized as the premier funeral coach manufacturer in the United States. They do not manufacture limousines, but are resellers of LCW limousines that can be matched to their funeral coaches.
Eagle Coach was founded in 1981 by well-known Cleveland professional car dealers Tony and Bob Mazzarella, who started doing GM station wagon hearse conversions in a garage in Amelia. Some of Eagle's employees were highly skilled former Hess & Eisenhardt employees. Mike Kellerman (who knew a good thing when he saw it) purchased Eagle in 1989 and was soon building full-sized Lincoln and Cadillac funeral coaches. Eagle moved into its present plant, which has since more than doubled in size, in 1990.
"We're happy to have you here, because we have a great story to tell", our host, Gregg Conrad, VP - Process, tells us in his welcome. The Eagle Coach Co.'s approximately 50 employees build 240 hearses annually at a rate of about one each working day. The company also exports coaches to Belgium and Japan. Unlike its competitors, Eagle Coach does not build limousines. These are sourced from LCW in Laredo, Texas.
In terms of size, Accubuilt is the largest funeral coach manufacturer in the United States, followed by Federal Coach in Fort Smith, Ark., then Eagle. In addition to its distinctive full-size Cadillac and Lincoln hearses, Eagle also builds the industry's only long-wheelbase Cadillac flower car, and practical funeral coach conversions of GM and Chrysler minivans. The Eagle Alternative is a pleasingly styled hearse conversion of the Chevrolet Venture minivan with raised roof cap, rear quarter panel stretch and conventional hearse rear door. It takes Eagle about 14 days to build a funeral coach. On the assembly line during our tour are two Eagle Cadillac Coupe de Fleurflower cars. Eagle builds about five of these imposing cars with gleaming stainless steel flower decks annually, but is on track to produce about a dozen this year. '
These are nice folks. Eagle Coach is reminiscent of relatively small, family-owned old-line hearse companies like Eureka, Flxible and National.
The Eagle Coach Co. in Amelia, Ohio, takes special pride in being a relatively small, family-owned operation that completes just one hearse per day, or about 240 units per year. Individual custom orders typically takes two weeks from start to finish. The firm is especially renowned for being the only Cadillac-certified Master Coachbuilder offering an extended-wheelbase flower car.
Out of 50 employees in total--a workforce one-fourth the size of Accubuilt's--more than a dozen people are related to Eagle President Michael Kellerman. Another 15 or so learned their trade at the famed Hess & Eisenhardt plant that built S&S funeral cars and armored Presidential limousines on Blue Ash Road in northeast Cincinnati.
Attached to an all-steel roll cage and chassis extension, the roof caps and quarter panels for Eagle funeral coaches are built from corrosion-resistant composite at a company-owned shop down the road from the main Amelia, Ohio, plant. Clear gelcoat is applied so cracks and air pockets are easier to spot and repair prior to painting.
In addition to building brand-new funeral coaches and flower cars, Eagle's Amelia plant refurbishes a few older vehicles for loyal customers and dealers. This 1998 Eagle Cadillac Coupe de Fleur was sent from Cleveland by American Coach Sales, whose owner Tony Mazzarella and son Robert founded Eagle Coach in 1981.
Not to be confused with the Eagle Coach Corp of Dallas Texas (1972-1977 - later Phaeton Coach Corp.) or the Eagle Coach Corp. of Brownsville, TX an RV Manufacturer
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