1961 Dodge Seneca

The Dodge, one of six imported to New Zealand new in 1961, was the firm's main hearse in Dunedin between 1961 and 1973. In 2009 we added an identical vehicle (from Auckland) and the Dodge is now fully restored to near its original condition.

The 1961 Dodge Seneca is a lovely choice for a traditional-style funeral. In 2016 we added the 1961 Dodge Pioneer to our fleet after it was fully restored. This year (2018) we have taken the Dodge Seneca off the road for a major restoration and rebuild. We will get the Seneca back with a new v8 engine, complete bodywork, and a beautiful repaint.

The Dodge arrived in Dunedin in May and Lyndon collected it from Jeffs Haulaways yard. It was in better than expected condition – very original condition. We evaluated the engine and running gear – which were given a clean bill of health by K G McLeod's – other than a bit of brake work, and a slight diff leak.

The panel and paint was surprisingly good and we elected to at some stage fix some screw holes in the front guards, remove the tow-bar, fix a mirror, re-chrome the air-vents and rear bumper, and paint the rear door. The rear door handle was quickly fixed by Clements and Stephens. We will remove the crosses front and rear.

But ultimately the Dodge was ready for use upon arrival and has already been used on a number of funerals. We have had much reaction in our travels, parking it out the front, and when it has been at its carers.

It is a 1961 Dodge Seneca. Six were imported new to New Zealand from Canada where they had been converted to right-hand-drive. Hope and Sons was an original owner, but this is not our actual one. We sold ours in about 1973 when we started using Valiant Regal station-wagons as hearses.

We are pleased to be able to return a bit of classic Dunedin yesteryear to its former glory and make the Dodge available to our funerals.