Car Collector's Corner: Shriners 1960 Chevrolet Bel Air 18 Passenger Limousine

J Sutherland
by J Sutherland

Spotting old cars is like an addiction for car guys. That’s why this giant sized 1960 Chevy limousine had a group of guys around it even though a wedding reception was underway next door. The good news is that everybody found their correct seats before the respective festivities began. There were anecdotes about guys being dragged away by their ears.

No wonder. This car really gets your attention and it’s not just because of the psychedelic Shriners paint job. This is the ultimate 1960 Chevy. It has enough room for a volley ball game with extra room for spectators.

Pat Ferguson from the Shriners organization was kind enough to fill in the blanks on the car’s history:

“It started life as a 1960 Chevy Bel Air & was a Brewster Transportation touring car until the Banff Shrine Club (Now Alpine Shrine Club) acquired it in the late 60’s. It was originally a medium blue color just like the rest of the Brewster fleet & they had it stretched by Sherwood Body Co. in the US.”

The car needed a fair amount of power to haul the daily loads as Pat explained:

It originally had a 3 speed manual transmission but when it became a parade car for the Shriners they had an automatic transmission put in so they wouldn’t be burning out clutches! It currently has the 409 Chevv engine, & is a rocket on the highway. It doesn’t particularly like to run slow in parades.”

The car was designed to reflect function over form. That’s not a great leap of logic when you’re discussing a car that’s nearly a football field long:

“A couple of interesting points to mention are, that none of the doors on the driver’s side of the car open except the driver’s door to keep people from exiting into traffic. It also came with rear axle air bags to level the car when loaded with 18 passengers & all of their baggage.”

The beauty of this working Chevy is simply that it’s still actually working. Most of these types of vehicles became the biggest part of a washer-dryer combination. Seeing this car working in 2010 explains why all the male wedding goers were drawn to the car like moths to a light.

There was no word on whether the bride suggested parking the 50-year-old classic behind the building for the next wedding.

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J Sutherland
J Sutherland

Online collector car writer/webmaster and enthusiast

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  • Slab Slab on Apr 18, 2012

    Wish there were some interior photos. I'm still puzzled over how four rows of seats accommodates 18 passengers. Many years ago, I rode in Checker limos to the Newark airport. Those things were tall and boxy, but I don't think we sat more than four abreast.

  • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Apr 19, 2012

    Call me crazy but I've long thought that the SUV/CUVs that have the third row ought to come with six doors instead. Would make life much easier than climbing in and out of that third row and worrying about getting trapped back there in a crash. Yeah it would look weird compared to the two/four door designs we've had for 100 years but it would be so much more practical. I'd love to have a six door version of our CUV for family/friends hauling. No off road use. Just groceries plus seatbelts for six... I've thought about making an airport limo out of our current daily driver. Would be great. Not very fast over the Rocky Mtns should we decide to go cross country... LOL!

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