Bids start at $1.5 million for hearse that carried Dale Earnhardt Sr. | News
By Jeff Rivenbark - email
By David Whisenant
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Someone is trying to sell a hearse on the website eBay in which the seller claims was used to transport the body of the late Dale Earnhardt Sr.
Earnhardt was killed in a fatal crash in the 2001 Daytona 500 on February 18, 2001.
According to the eBay, the 1996 Lincoln Town Car Hearse is located in Huntersville, North Carolina, which is located north of Charlotte.
The seller, which is only identified as "chmark1968", says the vehicle has "Great NASCAR history," and "This Hearse was the last ride of Dale Earnhardt, Sr."
The listing goes on to say that "On Feb. 21, 2001 this hearse took Mr. Earnhardt from a Huntersville, North Carolina funeral home to his final resting place."
The seller's last statement, however, is not correct because Earnhardt's body was not transported on this day.
A public memorial service was held on Feb. 21 at Calvary Church in south Charlotte, but Earnhardt's body was not there. In fact, it wasn't until weeks later before the funeral home in Huntersville transported his body to the mausoleum where he was interred.
The seller's listing also says, "This is 100% verifiable to qualified buyers" and concludes by saying, "Serious inquires only."
Raymer Funeral Home is the only funeral service located in Huntersville. Tuesday afternoon, we spoke with a funeral manager who said she wanted to remain anonymous.
She said they are not selling the hearse, but she did confirm they handled the funeral arrangements Dale Earnhardt Sr.
At the time of his death, she said the funeral home only had one hearse. Following Earnhardt's death, she said the hearse was used numerous times to transport the bodies of other people who have passed away since Earnhardt's untimely death.
In 2010, she said Raymer Funeral Home sold the hearse to a man in Mt. Pleasant, NC, but she did not reveal his name.
When asked if there was anything unusual about the hearse, she replied, "It's just a regular hearse-- nothing special."
According to the website jalopnik.com, Bill McKeithan purchased the hearse from Raymer Funeral Home and "...he had simply been sitting on the car, part of a small cache of old vehicles that made him a 'halfway collector.'"
During this year's Daytona 500, McKeithan said he posted an ad on Craigslist to sell the hearse for $8,800. Less than six hours later, someone called wanting to purchase it, jalopnik.com said.
McKeithan also told jalopnik.com that he was "remorseful" for selling the hearse and, "I should have just kept it."
The new owner of the hearse - whose identity is not known - has now posted an ad on eBay for the hearse with a starting bid of $1,500,000. The cost of a brand new hearse would be about $90,000.
The bid will end on Tuesday, March 15. The website says the full payment would be required within 7 days of the close of the auction.
Both the interior and exterior are gray in color, the listing says. The seats inside are leather and the vehicle is equipped with a cassette player.
With 115,679 miles on the odometer, the hearse has an automatic transmission and an 8-cylinder engine. However, there's no warranty available.
On Wednesday several people in Huntersville expressed surprise in learning about the hearse and its listing.
"I think that's awful, I don't think that's a very prudent thing to do," a woman told WBTV in the parking lot of the Target. "I think that's something that should be respected kept value, I don't think you can put a monetary value on that."
Mike Holshouser had not heard about the listing of the hearse.
"People have a right to put what they want on ebay, but that's not one of my personal favorites," Holshouser told WBTV. "I would say it's a little excessive and kind of bad taste."
In Kannapolis fans can find two of Dale Earnhardt's very first NASCAR stock cars on display at the Curb Music and Motorsports Museum.
Curator Jerry Spurgeon told WBTV that he doesn't think anyone will pay a million and half dollars to get the hearse, but he does say some fans would probably like to see it.
"People, half of them would not believe it was the truth, the other half who really believe in Earnhardt would probably come to see I guess, because he was something that they truly…they loved him."
In an interesting parallel to this story, WBTV found a listing for a 1964 Cadillac hearse that had been on eBay, but was not sold.
That hearse was the one used to transport the body of President John F. Kennedy after his assassination in Dallas in 1963. The listing for that hearse also carried a $1.5 million price tag, but never got any serious offers.
It is now still for sale at a car dealer in Arizona.
Copyright 2011 WBTV. All rights reserved.
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