The UK’s First Pilato Superstella Lands In Norwich

Allcock Family Funeral Services had a very special delivery in March – the UK’s first Pilato Superstella hearse. We asked brothers Paul and Philip what’s so special about their new hearse.

Pilato Superstella at Superior UK HQ

The Superstella before it left Superior UK’s HQ

When the Allcock family ordered their new hearse, they knew exactly how special the vehicle was. After all, they’d actually seen it built at Pilato’s factory in Italy.

Allcock Family FS’s Pilato Superstella hearse is the first UK example of this stunning hearse. Brothers Paul and Philip Allcock explain why they choose to be trailblazers.

“The original plan was to upgrade to the latest Binz vehicle,” said Philip “But we’d seen the Superstella on Pilato’s website, and spoken to Superior UK about it at the NFE show. We liked what we saw. The question remained, was the UK market ready for it?”

Philip’s brother Paul was the one who pushed the idea forward. “We do things differently!” he said. “Our priority is to offer the best with no compromises. We’ve always been very forward-thinking. I told Philip that I thought the Superstella would make an excellent “front of house” vehicle.”

Allcock’s commitment to progress is evident in their choice of silver vehicles. The sleek, futuristic look of the Superstella was the next step. “We debated the pros and cons of running such a distinctive looking car,” said Paul. “We considered the new Binz hearse, too, but it wasn’t enough of a step forward for us. That highlighted just how different the Superstella actually is. We will never compromise on quality, and knew the Superstella is built on the Mercedes chassis that we’re used to. We decided to take the leap.”

The Allcocks were invited to Pilato in Italy to see the build in action. They were joined there by Kevin Smith and his father Peter, from Superior UK, who are Pilato’s exclusive UK partner.

“Barbara and Gianvittorio showed us the greatest hospitality,” said Philip. “Actually seeing the production line was incredible. Everything is hand-built. We could see the entire process from Binz baseline model, through to preparing the body, the paintshop, and the coachbuilding production line. We were struck by how quiet the production line was. It was like a cathedral!

“We were able to walk round the factory by ourselves, then Barbara and Gianvittorio introduced us to the foreman. We were able to discuss our requirements about the interior, trim, and finish.”

Allcock Pilato deck out

The Superstella’s bespoke deck


Kevin Smith from Superior was pleased that he could be there. “We have been Allcock’s vehicle partner of choice since 2008,” he said. “Paul and Philip are hands-on, and knew exactly want they wanted from their Superstella. After several consultations, we helped arrange a visit to the Pilato factory in Italy.
Allcock Pilato decking at night

A view of the deck lit up at night


“The Allcocks wanted a custom built deck and interior. The interior trim work was installed at Pilato, and we designed and manufactured the slide-out decking system. After our visit to Italy, the craftsmen at Pilato were left to transform the Allcock’s dream into reality.”
When Kevin delivered the Superstella to Allcock’s premises in Norwich, Paul and Philip’s father Terry conducted the handover.
Allcock Pilato with Terry at handover

Terry Allcock with his new car at handover


“The style was even better than we remembered, the deck looked stunning, and the finish was beyond our expectations,” Philip said. “I have to congratulate Pilato and Superior UK for the way they married style and function. They gave us exactly what we wanted, and we couldn’t be more pleased.”

The new hearse has received positive feedback since it took to the road in March. “The good comments reassure us that we made the right decision,” said Paul. “The families love the design, and our team members enjoy driving it.”

Paul Allcock is the current President for The National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors, making the Pilato Superstella the preferred Presidential choice!

The UK’s First Pilato Superstella Lands In Norwich is a post from the Superior Automotive UK blog. The main funeral cars website is here.

The Latest Mercedes-Benz Vito Joins Heart of England Co-operative’s Fleet

The Heart of England Co-operative runs a large fleet of more than 20 vehicles across thirteen funeral homes across Coventry, Warwickshire, south Leicestershire and Northamptonshire. Darryl Smith, Heart of England Co-operative Society’s General Manager of Funerals, explains why he choose to renew with another Mercedes Benz Vito.

Darryl Heart of England + Kevin Superior 1

“We have used the Vito as our choice of first-call vehicle for years,” said Darryl, “so when it was time to update the oldest vehicle in the fleet, the latest model of Vito was the obvious choice. The Vito has always been a hard working and high performing fleet vehicle, but the latest model has an upgraded shape and interior which suits our modern, forward-thinking business style.”

The Heart of England Co-operative Society is one of the most successful co-operative businesses in the country, with two new funeral homes opened already this year. The business runs a fleet of more than 20 hearses, limousines, and first-call ambulances. “Superior UK helped us put together an eye-catching fleet of Mercedes Benz hearses and matching limousines in our bespoke colour choice – Tenorite Grey,” explained Darryl, “and it’s important that our Vitos match the ceremonial vehicles as closely as possible. Kevin has been great at helping us customise our Vitos to fit in with our distinctive look.”

Darryl’s first-call Vitos are all finished in Flint Grey dark metallic paintwork, with colour-coded bumpers, alloy wheels and tinted glass. “The Vito looks more like an executive vehicle than a removal vehicle,” said Darryl. “This newest Vito has an improved driving position and automatic gear box, which makes it drive more like a car than a van. It’s had positive responses from our clients, and from our drivers. The bespoke hydraulic Rise & Fall decking designed and installed by Superior makes every transfer safer and easier for my team.”

Superior UK have supplied Heart of England Co-operative Society with more than 10 vehicles in the past four years, and have built a close working relationship with Darryl and his team.

“I can always rely on Superior UK to provide us with the right advice,” said Darryl, “ and then help us choose and customise vehicles when we are ready.”

Darryl discovered one surprising benefit of running Mercedes-Benz Vitos: the resale price. “This new Vito replaces one that was three years old,” he explained. “We got a very good price for it, partly because it’s a Mercedes-Benz but also because it was a Superior UK vehicle. People know that means a quality vehicle that has always been looked after properly. Every vehicle we have had from Superior has been great quality.”

Superior UK are delighted to be the chosen supplier of  Heart of England Co-operative Society. “We are always happy to advise Darryl, and help him choose vehicles which support the vision and values of the business,” said Kevin Smith at Superior UK.

The Latest Mercedes-Benz Vito Joins Heart of England Co-operative’s Fleet is a post from the Superior Automotive UK blog. The main funeral cars website is here.

It’s A Superior Surprise For Thomas Grieve & Son

When Anthony Grieve arrived at work on 18th November, he was presented with a huge surprise from his father Bill Grieve: a brand-new Binz hearse and limousine to mark the handover of business from father to son.

WP_20151117_15_16_04_ProUnknown to him, his father Bill had been working away behind the scenes with the help of Kevin Smith at Superior UK to arrange purchase and delivery of two bespoke vehicles. After 28 years running Thomas Grieve & Son, Bill plans to retire next year. What better way to begin the handover than with two shiny new cars, custom-built to the Grieve family’s exact specifications.

The Mercedes hearse and limousine vehicles were manufactured at Binz in Germany and delivered to Thomas Grieve & Son’s West Lothian offices by Superior UK, Binz’s UK partner.

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Like the rest of the firm’s fleet, the two new vehicles are stunning Palladium Grey which demonstrates Grieve’s modern, forward-thinking mindset. “We are in the process of upgrading our entire fleet to matching Palladium Grey Binz Mercedes vehicles,” said Bill Grieve. “As far as we are aware, we are the only funeral directors in the area that use this colour.”

Bill Grieve and his own father, Thomas, started the business in 1987 in Blackburn, West Lothian. The company is still based in Blackburn but has now grown, employing 15 members of staff across four locations, and offering chauffeur hire services. The happy recipient of the vehicles, Anthony Grieve, represents the third generation of this thriving and hard-working funeral firm.

“As soon as I saw the new cars in the yard, I realised what Dad had arranged,” said Anthony. “I was blown away by the surprise. The cars were put to work straight away and have been a huge asset to our fleet. My Dad and I have run the business tougher for the past eight years, and I’ll use the solid work-ethic he’s taught me to take the business forward when he retires.

“My own sons – the fourth generation – will join the business before too long. I hope these cars will still be in our fleet then, so I can in turn pass them down to my sons.”

The new hearse and limousine join Grieve’s existing fleet of two Binz hearses and limousines, and four Mercedes Binz family cars, all in the eye-catching Palladium Silver.

“This was a very special delivery of a hearse and limousine,” says Kevin Smith at Superior UK. “It was all arranged as a top secret gift from Bill Grieves to his son, and we were honoured to be a trusted part of the arrangements. The handover was very special!”

It’s A Superior Surprise For Thomas Grieve & Son is a post from the Superior Automotive UK blog. The main funeral cars website is here.

First Formal Hearse Purchase in 20 Years For FH Halliday & Son

When FH Halliday of Portishead decided to add a second hearse to their fleet, they went searching for a vehicle supplier who welcomed single vehicle orders.

FH Halliday Superior 2

FH Halliday and Son is run on a day-to-day basis by Funeral Director Matthew Aldridge and his wife Tracey, the busy firm serves a large area of Somerset and Bristol from its base in Portishead and second office, Abbey Funeral Services in Worle, Weston-super-Mare.

Matthew Aldridge tells us why it was important to find exactly the right vehicle supplier.

“We already run an bespoke Mercedes Vito hearse, but had been hiring in vehicles to cover demand,” he said. “The time had come to purchase another hearse. We decided a formal hearse would give our clients even greater choice. As this would be our first formal hearse purchase for 20 years I knew I had to find a vehicle supplier who could advise us every step of the way. We searched high and low to find a supplier who shared our excitement for the project.”

Matthew did a lot of industry research but found some carriage masters seemed unenthusiastic about a single vehicle order from a smaller funeral firm.

“That changed when I spoke to Kevin Smith at Superior UK,” he said. “He was excited about our order from the first conversation and no detail was too small for him. He was really good throughout the entire process. I told him exactly what we wanted, and that’s exactly what he found.”

FH Halliday Superior 1

FH Halliday & Son took delivery of their Binz hearse which came with modern styling, glass roof and lights in the coffin chamber. It joins the firm’s Mercedes V class fleet. “We believe it’s important to offer families choice,” said Matthew. “We recently signed up to the Quakers Fair Funeral Pledge, to give people with lower incomes a simpler funeral option if they choose.”

The business has been in the Halliday family since the 1880s and is owned by Helen and Glyn Lawrence who now live overseas. Glyn flew back for the delivery of the hearse and was delighted to be present at the official handover.

“The new hearse was delivered by Kevin in perfect order with our personal plates, and was out on the road the day after Kevin delivered it,” said Matthew. “It looks great and we’ve had fantastic feedback about it from families. Our V Class following cars compliment it perfectly. We have a beautiful fleet now thanks to Kevin’s help and advice.”

As well as extending their fleet, FH Halliday & Son are developing their existing site to include new Chapels of Rest and Service Rooms to give families the opportunity of having services on site. “We have a solid history behind us,” said Matthew, “but we are always looking to the future.”

“I’m grateful to Kevin Smith and the team at Superior UK for the professional handling of this hearse purchase,” he said. “We love the vehicle and the personal way we were all looked after. I hope we can do more business in the future.

First Formal Hearse Purchase in 20 Years For FH Halliday & Son is a post from the Superior Automotive UK blog. The main funeral cars website is here.

A Comfier Drive For Edwin Pounds With New-Style Vito Removal Vehicle

Edwin Pounds and Sons of Bradford have come to Superior UK for their fleet and family vehicles since 2004. Company Director (and fourth generation family member) Simon Broome tells us why loyalty, trust and longevity matter in ongoing supplier relationships.

“We initially went to Superior UK in 2004 because of their industry reputation,” he said. “Everything went so smoothly with that initial purchase – and with each of our three fleet purchases in the last 11 years – that we have no desire to look anywhere else for our vehicles. Like us, Superior UK are a family firm and they share our own values of communication, attention to detail, trust and integrity.”

vitoEdwin Pounds and Sons are now on their third full fleet from Superior UK, and last year took delivery of the new generation E Class hearse and limousine with their distinctive single headlamps, Sport style grille and panoramic glass roofs. Last year it became time to upgrade the existing Vito removal vehicle to a newer, more spacious model. With the help of Kevin Smith at Superior UK, they ordered a brand-new Vito 114 BlueTEC.

“We had been running the old shape Vito since 2012,” explained Simon, “but I began to think about replacing it after a long trip to Scotland on one of the hottest days of the year. The old vehicle had no air-conditioning. And the cab could feel cramped for me, since I’m pretty tall.”

The firm’s new Vito is the new 114 shape, with aluminium wheels, automatic drive, and of course air conditioning! Like its predecessor, it was custom-built to Simon’s specifications with the build overseen by Kevin Smith at Superior.

“The Superior Rise&Fall decking in Superior’s Vitos is a huge bonus,” said Simon, “making life a lot easier for us and making removals more dignified and professional. The new vehicle is a lot nicer to drive. It’s already a great replacement but I know it will really come into its own next Summer.”

Edwin Pounds and Sons was established in 1904 as a farm, coal business and carriage providers by Edwin Pound, Simon’s maternal great-grandfather, who added funeral work to the business in 1940. Edwin Pound and Sons is now run by Simon, with support from his family and the team, and occupies a large site which was rebuilt in 2009.

A Comfier Drive For Edwin Pounds With New-Style Vito Removal Vehicle is a post from the Superior Automotive UK blog. The main website is here

Funeral Industry First For Nicholas O’Hara Funeral Directors With Pilato SPA and Superior UK

The delivery of two new Pilato XJ limousines marks the latest installment in the story of Nicholas O’Hara Funeral Directors’s relationship with Pilato SPA and Superior UK. But it’s far from the final chapter.

Superior Pilato for FSJ
Here’s the story behind this ground-breaking fleet.

When Nicholas O’Hara Funeral Directors took delivery of their two brand-new Pilato XJ limousines, it completed their current fleet of stunning Pilato vehicles. Anthony O’Hara explains why he made the decision to work closely with Pilato SPA in Italy and Superior UK, Pilato’s UK distributor, to create a fleet which is turning heads.

“We took delivery of a Queen II Pilato hearse earlier this year,” he said. “The vehicle was considered so special that it was unveiled at the National Funeral Exhibition, and Barbara and Gianvittorio flew in from Pilato Italy specifically for the handover event.

“Our two Pilato hearses – a Queen I and the Queen II – have proved so popular with families that we decided to order two fully-customised Pilato XJ limousines.”

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Nicholas O’Hara Funeral Directors are a busy family firm serving a wide area across Dorset. They pride themselves on excellence, winning several local and industry awards for business and customer service. In fact, they have recently won the Customer Service Award at the fourth Blackmore Vale Media Business Awards. They extend this commitment to excellence to their fleet.

Their two new Pilato XJ limousines herald a new standard in UK funeral industry vehicles: the cars are the first Jaguar limousines made outside the UK.

Kevin Smith of Superior UK said he was delighted to serve O’Haras with their industry-first choice of fleet vehicles. “Superior UK is very proud to be partner and supplier of Pilato SPA’s Jaguar vehicles to the UK market. Pilato has been a family managed company for over 50 years and a fully-approved Jaguar manufacturing partner since 2007. They are one of Europe’s most successful funeral vehicle suppliers and their vehicles are some of the most sophisticated in the world. We share solid family values and an ongoing desire to provide excellence to all our customers. As UK agent for Mercedes Benz and Pilato’s Jaguar products, we get a great deal of satisfaction out of handovers like these!”

Funeral Industry First For Nicholas O’Hara Funeral Directors With Pilato SPA and Superior UK is a post from the Superior Automotive UK blog. The main website is here

Why Richards Funeral Services Chose Bespoke Removal Vehicle Over Self-Build

Why Richards Funeral Services Chose Bespoke Removal Vehicle Over Self-Build

Busy Welsh funeral firm Richards Funeral Services Ltd serves a large area of the Cynon Valley. So their fleet needs to be reliable, with a professional look that honours this deeply-rooted community and give the families they serve the service they deserve.
new vito mercedes removal funeral vehicle
James Richards, Director and Owner at Richards Funeral Services explains why he made a big decision when it was time to purchase a replacement removal vehicle.

“Our existing removal vehicle was getting a bit tired, so we were looking to replace this workhorse,” James explained. “The removal vehicle we were using was a van on which we’d carried out our own conversion. It was good, and had suited our purposes for many years, but I knew an upgrade would benefit our staff, our business and the families.”

The lifting system on Richard FS’s self-build van conversion was solid but basic. James had a look at some other vehicles including the Ford Transit, which had great reviews, but decided to approach Superior UK to discuss a Mercedes-Benz Vito.

“I really felt we needed something a step up from a standard van,” he said. “We already run a Mercedes-Benz fleet of a hearse and two, so the obvious starting point was to look at a Mercedes-Benz removal vehicle. I’d dealt with the Smith family at Superior regarding our cars, so I gave Kevin a call and he paid us a visit to talk about the Vito.”

James’s key requirements were: exacting Health and Safety standards, an improved lifting mechanism for the vehicle’s top deck, and a professional look which matched his existing Mercedes-Benz fleet. After Kevin Smith of Superior UK had visited Richards Funeral services in Aberdare, James made the trip to Reading to see a selection of vehicles and view the workshop.

“Kevin was able to listen to my requirements and turn them into a practical set of specifications which would work very well in everyday life,” he explained. “It was great to be able to see the workshop and workmanship in action. The Vito is not just a van. It has an executive look, and an incredible level of design and finish. It’s built specifically for the job.”

Richards Funeral Services took delivery of their new Vito removal vehicle at the beginning of October and it was put to work immediately, covering hundreds of miles in its first month. “The staff here are delighted with it,” said James. “It’s a comfortable ride, runs well, and has given us no problems. The details of the finish are great, with excellent coverage on the paintwork unlike previous Mercedes vans we’ve had. The Rise&Fall lifting mechanism Superior built and installed is a step up from anything we’ve had before, and really makes our life easier.”

As the third-generation of this established family business, James knows that reputation and trust are key to longevity.

“The new Vito, and its lifting system, also looks a lot more professional when families see us doing a removal. And that’s what it’s all about,” he said. “We are here to serve the public as best we can, and the families are paramount to the success of our firm.

“Ultimately, the Vito is a better-equipped and more professional looking vehicle than anything we could have achieved ourselves, and I’m glad we went to Superior UK for their help.”

Why Richards Funeral Services Chose Bespoke Removal Vehicle Over Self-Build
is a post from the Superior Automotive UK blog. The main website is here