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Tractor-Powered Hearse Carries Special Memories
Harold Boquist built a tractor-powered hearse using a 1930’s Thieman frame that he bought at a junk yard.
“My wife asked me why I’d build something this unusual, and I replied, ‘why not’”, says Boquist. “We’ve watched old westerns for years and many times we’ve seen a hearse on a wagon pulled by a horse. I thought why not update the concept?”
Boquist had been a Thieman tractor collector for years, so he knew a Thieman chassis was the ideal setup for a tractor hearse. “I started by lengthening the pipe chassis a few feet so I could mate a second transmission to the first one,” Boquist says. Doing that gave him lower gearing so he could inch his way onto a car hauler to attend shows, fairs and parades.
Boquist replaced the tractor’s narrow front end with wide set wheels to stabilize it during turns and give it more curb appeal. He overhauled the Ford Model A motor, built a new operator platform and double-wide bench closer to the engine, and shortened the steering shaft. He fabricated a solid oak coffin and placed it inside a steel frame mounted behind the bench seat between the rear wheels. Hinged French doors on the back reveal the coffin inside.
Boquist meticulously painted every piece of metal, including the special cutout emblems for the coffin frame. He says the shiny gloss finish on the solid oak coffin provided even more eye-popping crowd appeal, especially for kids.
“Building it was really fun, almost a year-long project,” Boquist says, “but even more enjoyable is taking it to events and seeing the smiles as we drive by.”
Boquist sold the tractor hearse this past July. “It was tough to part with the vehicle, but we had 10 years of fun, and it was time to let someone else take over,” Boquist says. “The money I received probably paid me just a small hourly wage for the year I spent building it, but making money wasn’t the point. It brought us a lot of happiness, and that’s priceless.”
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Harold Boquist, 602 O St. Apt. 500, Saint Paul, Neb. 68873.

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2021 - Volume #45, Issue #5