Aretha Franklin’s Cadillac LaSalle Hearse Also Once Transported Her Father and Rosa Parks

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Aretha Franklin’s Cadillac LaSalle hearse has also been used in ceremonies for her father, Rev. C.L. Franklin; for David Ruffin, and Rosa Parks.

Not all Cadillac vehicles are meant for everyday use. One the rare occasion, a special one might be tucked away for very particular intentions. One such vehicle lives in Detroit, where it has been stored safely for decades when not in use. This special Cadillac is a white, vintage LaSalle hearse. Cadillac built this hearse in 1940, with two doors, three speeds, and a shifter in the steering column.

The vintage Cadillac LaSalle hearse is a gorgeous vehicle that has been dusted off for use in honoring some remarkable lives. Most recently, the LaSalle hearse was used to transport Aretha Franklin during her public viewing and memorial in Detroit. Aretha Franklin’s Cadillac LaSalle hearse has also been used in ceremonies for her father, Rev. C.L. Franklin; for David Ruffin, a member of Motown vocal group the Temptations; and Rosa Parks.

The Cadillac LaSalle hearse is owned by the Swanson Funeral Home, who purchased the vehicle back in 1958. The same driver typically drives the vehicle throughout the past 30 years, though on this particular event, it was O’Neil D. Swanson, the president of the funeral home, who took the wheel.

The Cadillac LaSalle is a beautiful and classic Detroit icon just as the Queen of Soul was a Detroit icon herself, so many viewers — including us at ELCO Cadillac — were touched to see this perfect fit come together for her public viewing.