By Lethbridge Herald on July 13, 2015.
It didnâ€™t get lost on its way to the funeral home, but Cory Yeikâ€™s 1964 Pontiac Bonneville hearse gives â€œgoing out in styleâ€ a new meaning.
As one of hundreds of classic vehicles registered for Sundayâ€™s Street Machine Weekend Show and Shine at Galt Gardens, it got more than a few double-takes.
The â€œzombieâ€ cargo in the back may have had a little to do with it.
â€œItâ€™s a consort. There were only 20 of those made. It doubled up as an ambulance and a hearse,â€ said Yeik.
Part of the family for 40 years, the car was first owned by Yeikâ€™s father, who worked maintenance at a cemetary.
After convincing his father to hand over the keys 15 years ago, Yeik turned the hearse into his first restoration project.
â€œItâ€™s quite a car. Everything is pretty much custom on it. Itâ€™s got a 470 stroker Pontiac (engine), 750 horse power, Turbo 400, full leather interior, billet aluminum. Itâ€™s been cadmium plated underneath. Itâ€™s quite a ride.â€
It even has a custom Saskatchewan licence plate, â€œLST RYD.â€
A souped-up hearse is something many wouldnâ€™t expect to see at a car show, and Yeik said he hasnâ€™t seen another like it.
â€œPeople enjoy it because it is different.â€
Itâ€™s an ongoing project and a labour of love. Yeik estimates heâ€™s invested at least $150,000 worth in both parts and time.
â€œThe time, I canâ€™t even begin to imagine the time. I would probably roll over if I added up all the hours I put into it, and am still putting into it.â€
He has since restored another five vehicles, including a 1971 Dodge Demon 340, a 1970 Charger RT, and a 1970 Challenger.
Part of the charm of restoring old vehicles is about â€œbringing back an era that is long gone,â€ Yeik said.
â€œWe canâ€™t make those old cars anymore and itâ€™s an exciting thing to do. Itâ€™s an accomplishment. Just seeing the joy in the kids and everybody when they see the cars at the show.â€
A resident of Lethbridge for the last 10 years, this is Yeikâ€™s sixth time at the Show and Shine.
Like many classic vehicle enthusiasts, he travels to other car shows and events. He has another 10-15 lined up within Alberta this year.