1959 Eureka High-Boy Ambulance front

An ambulace, a road rally, and a bunch of Europeans

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No, it’s not the set up for some sort of lame punchline. That was the scene at my job today. When not writing content for Auto Waffle or Region Rides Magazine, I masquerade as the Internet Marketing Coordinator for a collector car dealership, so we frequently get interesting visitors looking to buy, sell, or consign vehicles. This week, however, we were approached by visitors of a different kind.

1959 Eureka High-Boy Ambulance front

Let’s get one thing clear here: No; this is not the same thing as the car from Ghostbusters. Ecto 1 (and Ecto 1a) were Miller-Meteor ambulances. This is a Eureka. There are a number of different coachbuilders that build professional cars on the Cadillac commercial chassis. These days, though ambulances have moved on to truck and van based platforms, flower cars and hearses are still car based.

Eureka Manufacturing Co. can trace its roots all the way back to 1871, when it was a school furniture manufacturer, and eventually branched into many different industries, including butter churns, washing machines, farm trucks, wagons, and more. By 1900, thanks to a contract with the US Government to build mail delivery wagons and other things, Eureka was one of the largest carriage builders in the country, producing roughly 5,000 vehicles per year.

In 1917, the company began producing the professional cars for which it is most well-known today. They began to produce wood-bodied cars and motorizing older horse-drawn units as the motor vehicle market began to pick up steam. Eureka pioneered the limousine style funeral coach which is what most of us are used to seeing today.
Onto this particular car, though. What we have here is a 1959 Eureka High-Boy Cadillac Ambulance. Owned by Edwin and Irene Otten, the car now resides in Holland. Originally, it saw service as a part of the Bogota Volunteer First Aid Squad in New Jersey. According to their website, a former Eureka representative noted that they only built three 1959 High-Boy ambulances. These models, towering over seven feet tall, cost over $14,000 in 1959 (over $86,000 in 2013 dollars).

1959 Eureka High-Boy Ambulance front 3/4 view

They really don’t make them like they used to.

I spoke with Edwin briefly while taking photos of this magnificent machine. He noted that it was quite expensive to purchase and ship to Europe, but he loves it. The Ottens have brought the wonderful ambulance back home to take part in a road rally from Antwerp, Belgium. The 2013 Tour Americal rally is running from New York to Miami, and they just so happened to be spending an evening in my small coastal Florida city, Stuart. They also made a pit stop back to Bogota, NJ to have a special homecoming for the car.

Tour Americal number for 1959 Eureka High-Boy Ambulance

You can visit the Tour Americal website and track Edwin and Irene in their wonderful ambulance using their entry number! Awesome!

Apparently, the cost to take part in the rally is quite reasonable and even includes lodging, airfare, and shipping for the vehicles to and from the United States. I think I know what I want to do next. For more information, visit the Tour Americal website HERE. In the meantime, feel free to drool over more candid photos of the Ottens’ gorgeous Eureka ambulance!

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Ray Saez, Jr.

Ray is a lifelong auto enthusiast. His father worked on the dealership side of the industry for many years, and his passion for fast, fun, and unique cars has been passed on. Particularly fond of American cars and trucks, Ray is an avid General Motors fan. When not writing, he can be found with his dogs, or at a local car show.

View all contributions by Ray Saez, Jr.

Website: http://autowaffle.com


  1. […] I'm not (only?) whoring my website. There's a Cadillac in here – and it's a TOTALLY AWESOME ONE. http://autowaffle.com/breakfast-dinn…nch-europeans/ I'm still drooling over this thing. It's gorgeous! The owners were super polite, loved the […]

  2. Thanks Ray you did an awesome job showing this rare and beautiful work of art !!

  3. Pete Grave says:

    A great job of reporting the Pilgrimage back to its home from faraway and then the tour. Its wonderful to see these fine coach built cars finally recognized as more than jokes or freaks. Folks who have more interest should check out the Professional Car Society.

    1. Ray Saez, Jr. says:

      Jokes or freaks? Heck no! Professional cars are awesome. Someday, I want a Cotner Bevington Oldsmobile.

  4. Homepage says:

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    […] Find More Informations here: autowaffle.com/breakfast-dinner-ambulace-road-rally-bunch-europeans/ […]

  5. talismandave says:

    Nice to see at least one avoided being turned into “Ecto #1328”

    1. Ray Saez, Jr. says:

      I agree! It’s a shame that all of these cars are instantly identified as “that car from Ghostbusters,” when on the surface and below, they’re gorgeous machines and pretty incredible feats of engineering.

  6. Garry says:

    I am thinking about starting my own personal blog.
    Would you give me a couple ideas?

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