I’ve always been fascinated by vintage Cadillac hearses; not because of their association with the end of the road, but they look cool in a Johnny Cash sort of way. However, this 6×6 diesel behemoth is now more Black Sabbath than Cash. The master mechanic who built this big-daddy Caddy is named Jimmy Driver. He, along with his wife Leah and friends, created this impressive machine in true Frankenstein fashion. They ripped parts off school buses, tractors and industrial equipment and put it together one piece at a time to create this killer mud bogger named Mortis.
YouTube channel Barcoft Cars took an in-depth look into Mortis in 2018 as part of its Ridiculous Riders series. Driver tells the story of how the idea for Mortis was born in 2004. He saw purpose-built mud bogger rigs and decided he wanted to do that too. That was all the motivation he needed to buy a $600 1967 Cadillac Superior in Utica, Mississippi, and haul it back home to the snow covered mountains of Naples, Idaho. Over the next 14 years, Driver and his family tinkered, welded and fabricated parts to build Mortis. The finished product is a ten-foot-tall Cadillac Superior with a 22,000-pound curb weight, thanks mostly to its massive 60-inch tires.
Powering this six-wheel-drive heavy metal album cover is a 6V53 Detroit Diesel engine located where the Cadillac’s back seat used to be. Mortis is no longer a street-legal hearse thanks to its limited top speed of 12 mph and the fact that you need to wear ear protection while driving it. The Detroit Diesel needs to be provoked into starting, too-sort of like aggravating a bull at a rodeo before the rider gets on. Also like a raging bull, once Mortis gets going, it’ll mow down anything in its way. From driving over boulders to knocking down trees, Mortis is not just for show, even if it is slow.
Driver has no intention of ever selling Mortis as he didn’t build it to make a profit. He built it to be enjoyed and ends the video by saying the vehicle will more than likely be passed down. How’s that for a family heirloom?