GrandAurora Hearse Takes Scollen & Wright’s Fleet Into The Future

Scollen & Wright is an independent, family owned funeral director with six funeral homes serving a large area around Sunderland and Middlesbrough. With a well-respected standing in the industry, they need a fleet to suit their brand. Nigel Marston, General Manager, explains why he chose a Pilato Jaguar XF GrandAurora hearse.

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“We recently bought two new Cadillacs, so any new hearse needed to match them for prestige and wow-factor,” explains Nigel. “An ordinary hearse wouldn’t do. As soon as I saw the GrandAurora, I knew it would be right for our fleet.”

Scollen & Wright had an existing 2004 Jaguar XJ hearse, and whilst Nigel liked the Jaguar design and build, the vehicle was looking out of place next to the newer limousines.

Superior UK Automotive UK are Pilato’s approved partner and were pleased to show Nigel the stunning Pilato Jaguar XF GrandAurora. Nigel’s brief was a “modern and dynamic” hearse, and the vehicle met his requirements – and much more.

“I was drawn to the way the GrandAurora looks,” he says. “We work closely with the local community, including schools and community groups, and support lots of community initiatives. Members of our staff have written for trade publications, and we have won awards for customer service. We take great pride in the reputation we have built, and our vehicles need to be part of that.

“The GrandAurora really helps us reinforce the quality and standard of our service.”

Greg Platt, Superior UK’s Northern Area Sales Executive helped Nigel and his team design their perfect specification.

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“Nigel’s GrandAurora is beautifully finished in ultimate black metallic paintwork, complemented with a twin (light/dark) grey coffin chamber,” Greg says. “The roof lining is accentuated with a quilted leather centre piece which is back lit with LED downlighters and illuminated name plates. Large side glasses with wrap-around quarter-glass and a fully glazed tailgate mean the coffin chamber remains the main focus point. The Superior slide-out decking system and underdeck storage drawer make for very easy loading and unloading.”

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Scollen & Wright took delivery of the GrandAurora in October 2019 and the vehicle was almost immediately out on the road.

“The families are always very happy with it,” says Nigel. “With the GrandAurora, we have the best fleet in the area. It is a stunning vehicle that really fits in well with our image.”

Kevin Smith of Superior UK Automotive was proud to supply Nigel and his team with the amazing vehicle.

“It has been a real pleasure working with such a forward-thinking company,” he says. “Nigel looked into every detail and was very hands-on with the process. Scollen & Wright is a very modern business, and it is only fitting that they have a hearse that reflects their values. The Pilato GrandAurora ticks all the boxes.”

“GrandAurora Hearse Takes Scollen & Wright’s Fleet Into The Future” is a post from Superior Automotive UK. Our main website is here.

 

Five Decades in The Specialist Vehicle Trade: Happy Retirement to Peter Smith

Peter Smith is familiar to all of you who know Superior UK. Head of the family – and of the business – he is about to head into retirement. We take a look back at an astounding career in coachbuilding, specialist vehicles, and the funeral fleet industry.

The 1970s

The specialist coachbuilding world of the 1970s and 80s was an exciting time, and Peter was right in the thick of it. He recalls building exotic vehicles for Middle East customers – mainly 6-wheeled Range Rovers and convertible 2-door Range Rovers – as well as bespoke vehicles for the rich and famous.

Even back then, Peter would occasionally be asked to build a hearse or limousine, but it would be some years before they would form a significant part of his business.

6 wheeled Range Rover

Convertible Range Rover

The start for Nilsson UK at Aldermaston 1989

6 wheeled Range Rover

The 1980s

Cast your mind back to the mid-80s to a time when interest in classic English cars was on the rise. Peter began restoring and supplying some beautiful classic cars, including Jaguar E-types and XKs, Rolls Royce cars, and other marques.

Restored Jaguar E Type

Restored Jaguar E Type

Into the Funeral Vehicle Market

In the late 1980s, Peter formed a working relationship which would see him move into the funeral vehicle world – an industry he never left.

An opportunity arose to work alongside specialist coachbuilder Yngve Nilsson Karosserifabrik, who were in charge of Volvo special vehicles for Volvo Cars. Peter quickly formed a great working relationship with the Nilsson family and moved fully into the specialist market of funeral vehicles.

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Volvo S80 hearse project

Nilsson UK & Specialist Funeral Vehicles

Did you know that Peter formed Nilsson Karosserifabrik UK Ltd (Nilsson UK)? He introduced the Volvo-based hearse and limousine to UK funeral directors, and with this came full manufacturer-approved specialist vehicles with steel body construction and one-piece steel roofs.

Over time, the Volvo funeral vehicles evolved and became one of the strongest and most trusted brands on the market. The vehicles were renowned for build quality – in fact many of these vehicles are still in service long after they should have retired!

Binz Mercedes (211) Limousine

The start for Nilsson UK at Aldermaston 1989

Innovations in Funeral Vehicle Design

Nilsson and Nilsson UK were forward-thinking companies. Peter was instrumental in the design and production of 5-door hearses, 4 and 6-door limousines, and 5-seater hearses as standard, as well as the development of the first Rise&Fall decking systems.

Volvo S80 hearse project

Nilsson Sweden showing Vauxhall Omega limousines

The 2000s

As the Millennium approached, it was clear that the world was becoming a very different place and customer expectations were changing. Peter knew the products he offered needed to adapt and continue to lead the way in a new millennium. Onto the next chapter…

The Binz Years 

Earlier in his career, Peter had crossed paths with world-renowned Germany coachbuilder Binz. They were best known for producing Mercedes-Benz E Class limousines, ambulances, and heavy-duty chassis. Binz and Peter entered into discussions. Binz agreed to produce their first production hearse (the 211 E-class Binz), and Peter formed Binz UK Ltd. From 2003, Binz products were the mainstay of the business.

Many of you will remember that first Binz. It truly was a mould breaker that altered the direction of the funeral vehicle industry. The hearse was launched with a diesel engine only, Elegance specification, with full glass coffin chamber including a glass roof. The styling was contemporary at the time, but has stood the test of time – demand for this timeless classic is still high.

Next came the 212 E Class, the limousine was launched with a panoramic glass roof fitted as standard. It became an overnight success.

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Binz Mercedes (211) Limousine

The Changing Face of Funerals 

During the recession of 2008-2012, people began wanting something different from funerals.

The traditional religious ceremony was on the decline, and people wanted more of a celebration of life. This often meant an alternative to traditional hearses: motorcycles, HGVs, horses, or even novelty type vehicles.

The Pilato family (who were also a concessionaire for Nilsson) were famous for their flamboyant hearse designs. Peter saw an opportunity to bring a new style of vehicle to the UK funeral market. He arranged a meeting with Pilato to discuss the possibility of a relationship. From that meeting, Superior UK Automotive was born, and launched a series of the most exciting funerals vehicles the UK funeral market has seen.

The Man at The Centre of a Changing Industry 

From Volvo Cars, to Binz UK, and a ground-breaking partnership with Pilato in Superior UK Automotive, Peter Smith has been instrumental in changing customer expectations of funeral vehicles. He has always believed that coachbuilding should improve the quality of the vehicle. The standards and equipment we enjoy today were innovations introduced by Peter and the associated coachbuilders during his 30 years’ service to the funeral profession.

Happy retirement to Peter Smith.

Five Decades in The Specialist Vehicle Trade: Happy Retirement to Peter Smith is a post from Superior Automotive UK. The main Superior Automotive UK website is here.

 

First UK Polaris Hearse Is Hand-Signed During Build By Southern Co-op

When Southern Co-op made the decision to order a brand-new Polaris hearse, the team already knew it was a first for the UK funeral industry. What co-operative funeral colleagues didn’t know is quite how unique the process would become – from flying out to the Pilato factory to see their car in build, to signing the inside of the vehicle and installing a personalised plaque inside the bonnet. 

Southern Co-op Polaris Delivery Jarrod Turner Kevin Smith Matt Turner

Southern Co-op is a regional, independent co-operative with more than 50 funeral branches across the south of England. Matt Turner from Southern Co-op told us about the process of becoming a Polaris owner.

“Some of our existing fleet were coming to the end of their life cycle with us,” he said, “and we were looking at the various options available in the market. We operate across a large and busy region, and our vehicles need to be reliable. But we also like our ceremonial vehicles to look the part – stylish and different, without losing any of the tradition and etiquette.”

Wow-Factor Hearse With Design Style

“We really needed a high end hearse that would wow our clients, and be in keeping with the high end service we are known for. Once I saw the Polaris, I knew it was exactly what we wanted. The latest Mercedes, with the design style of Pilato, created the perfect match for our company.”

Southern Co-op Polaris 01

After contacting Superior UK (official partners and distributors of Pilato to the UK), Matt felt even more certain that the Polaris was the right decision.

“We were captivated by the Pilato Polaris. It has such a modern and stunning design that we knew we wanted it as an eye-catching part of our fleet.”

Kevin Smith from Superior UK visited Southern Co-op to talk to Matt and his colleague Claire McGinty about the Polaris hearse, helping Matt and Claire design their perfect spec and finish.

“We have a very close working relationship with Pilato,” explained Kevin. “I visit the Pilato factory several times a year, and I know these cars inside out. That level of knowledge means I can help our customers make decisions almost as if their vehicle was in front of us.”

Before long, the vehicle would in fact be in front of them, when Matt and Claire received a surprise invitation to see their Polaris being built at the Pilato factory in Italy.

Co-op and Superior at Pilato factory

Seeing Their Vehicle During The Build Process

“We have never had the opportunity to see one of our hearses mid production,” said Matt, “so we jumped at the opportunity to head out to the factory. Being able to see the hearse – plus others that were further down the line – helped us visualise the end result far better than a picture ever could. We spent time talking with the Pilato team working on our hearse to explain our vision. It was an amazing experience.”

Matt and Claire were even able to personalise some of the design, as Kevin from Superior UK explained.

“During their visit to the Pilato factory, Claire and Matt secretly signed the inside of the hearse during the build process,” he said, “and we installed a little plaque under the bonnet dedicating the vehicle to its new owner.” 

Matt Turner Claire McGinty Southern Co-op signing car at Pilato factory

Adding A Personal Touch

“It was so nice to be able to add a personal touch to the hearse by writing a little message inside,” said Matt. “We knew our team would find and read it when we took delivery – a really special touch.”

The finished vehicle was finished in Mercedes Tenorite grey metallic. The interior has lots of LED lighting, grey laminate decking, a black leather interior trim and white quilted stitching. Pilato installed some custom perspex window trims which allow for the discrete display of illuminated name plates. 

Southern Co-op Polaris 02

Southern Co-op was the first to order a Polaris hearse, and the first to take delivery in the South of England.

“It’s great to get our hands on this amazing car,” said Matt. “It is everything that we had hoped it would be. Working with Superior and Pilato has been great. We really value the close relationship we have built up with Superior over the years, and look forward to continuing this for many years to come.”

Southern Co-op is a regional, independent co-operative owned by its 140,000+ members. As well as food and funeral branches, it also runs two crematoria and a natural burial ground which reaffirm the co-operative’s sustainable business approach and commitment to providing a fair, fresh approach for all.

First UK Polaris Hearse Is Hand-Signed During Build By Southern Co-op is a blog from Superior UK. The main Superior UK website is here.

William T Fraser & Son First In Highlands To Take Delivery Of PilatoMercedes Polaris 

William T Fraser & Son took delivery of their Polaris Mercedes hearse in July, they became one of the first funeral directors in the UK to run this stunning new design concept from Pilato.

Director Martin Fraser, who represents the third generation of this family business, explains why the Polaris gets a resounding thumbs-up from him and all his team.

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“We wanted to add a new hearse to our existing fleet of a vintage Daimler and E Class Mercedes,” said Martin. “I started looking around and realised most modern hearses are quite unattractive. Why should we have to buy ugly hearses? Superior UK and Pilato offer something very different and exciting. Kevin came all the way from Berkshire to Inverness to talk to us about the Polaris.”

Kevin Smith from Superior UK was delighted to tell Martin and his family about the PilatoMercedes E-Class Polaris hearse, which is still new to the UK. It’s a modern take on traditional hearse design, with sleek lines and distinctive Polaris aesthetics. Large side glasses, a glass tailgate, and LED illumination give an incredible sense of space, with the high-tech specification taking this hearse to a new level.

Fraser5

“Since that first long-distance visit to talk us through the options, Superior have continued to be a great help,” says Martin. “The ordering process was very smooth and we were able to personalise the specification, interior, and exterior. Greg from Superior was on hand right through to delivery day. I couldn’t be happier with the build quality, fit, and finish. It’s an absolutely stunning vehicle.”

Martin isn’t the only one who thinks the Polaris is the most eye-catching hearse around. Luckily, his whole team agree.

Fraser3

“I did a blind test of all the hearses on the market,” Martin says. “I showed every member of staff a photo of all the cars we could have chosen, making sure to remove the vehicle names first. They all picked the Polaris, without knowing it was the car I was considering.”

Martin likes to keep ahead of the game, and he has the first Obsidian black Polaris in Scotland. It has already become the show stopper of the William T Fraser fleet.

William T Fraser Fleet

“People are coming up especially to see it,” says Martin, “and it’s received incredible feedback from families. The Polaris is one way of showing our dedication to bringing the best possible service to families.

“We are over the moon with the vehicle, and with the service from Superior UK. We are very proud to be one of the first funeral directors in the UK to take ownership of a Pilato hearse.”

William T Fraser & Son First In Highlands To Take Delivery Of PilatoMercedes Polaris is a blog post from Superior UK – the main Superior UK website is here.

Edwin Pounds Choose Pilato For Brand-New Mercedes E-Class Hearse



Edwin Pounds and Sons of Bradford have become one of the first funeral directors in the UK to add a Polaris hearse to their fleet, taking delivery of the Pilato-Mercedes from Superior UK. Simon Broome, Company Director, explains the decision to switch to Pilato.

“We have already had three full fleets from Superior UK,” he says, “so when they became official partners of Pilato we kept an eye on the vehicles. We knew the partnership with Pilato was sure to produce something out of the ordinary.’

When it came time to change his existing hearse for a new vehicle, Simon came to Superior to enquire about Pilato’s hearses.

Edwin Pounds and Sons was established in 1904 by Simon’s maternal great-grandfather, who added funeral work to the business in 1940.

“We have worked with Simon and his family for nearly 15 years, and we know how much pride they take in running a beautiful fleet,” says Kevin Smith of Superior UK. “I was excited to tell Simon about the two Pilato hearses – the Mercedes E-Class Polaris and the Jaguar GrandAurora – and even more excited to actually show him the vehicles.”

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Superior UK arranged for Simon to visit the Pilato factory in Italy.

“It’s very rare to get the opportunity to see potential new vehicles in the build stage,” says Simon. “The Pilato family were so welcoming – it’s obvious they take great pride in what they are doing over in Italy.”

Simon made the decision to purchase a new Pilato Mercedes E-Class Polaris hearse, and Superior UK helped him settle on the ideal spec and finish. They even managed to fit in a second trip out to the Pilato factory – this time to see Simon’s own vehicle being built.

“It can sometimes feel like a long time to wait from ordering to delivery, so this extra bit of customer service fills that gap and adds a great deal of trust and confidence,” he says. “It was great to see our hearse in build – we were able to spec it up whilst we were out there. It’s a great way to feel involved with the process.”

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Kevin Smith explains the special partnership between Pilato and Superior UK.

“Both Superior and Pilato are relatively small, family-run businesses,” he says. “We really understand the funeral industry, and know how much value our customers place in their ceremonial vehicles. Funeral cars are not like other cars. They are a hugely important part of a funeral director’s business. That’s why we take our customers out to the Pilato factory so they can see the design and build process. Pilato go the extra mile to make their vehicles special, and we extend that care to our own customers. Our partnership lets funeral directors feel very involved in their vehicle investments. Which is as it should be!”

Edwin Pounds and Sons have now taken delivery of their new Polaris hearse – and of a brand-new VW Transporter 4MOTION removal vehicle which was also ordered from Superior UK.

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“When we saw Superior were doing the VW Transporter in 4-wheel drive, we knew it was the right choice for us,” said Simon. “We struggle here in Bradford during harsh winters. Our new vehicle hasn’t met any snow yet of course, but it’s already a far smoother and more powerful drive than our previous removal vehicle.

“

As for the Polaris, it has surpassed our expectations,” he said. “It’s stunning, unusual, and a real touch of class. Great service as always from Superior UK, this time with the addition of everyone at Pilato in Italy.”

For more information about Pilato vehicles or the Superior UK/Pilato partnership, see https://www.superioruk.com/

Pilato E-Class Limousine To Join Polaris In Luxury Mercedes Line-Up

News from Italy: Pilato in partnership with Superior UK are building a flagship limousine to complement the Polaris hearse

January 2019 saw the start of a very exciting project between Pilato in Italy and Superior UK (as Pilato’s first and only official agent). The Pilato range already includes the stunning high-end Polaris E-Class hearse. Thanks to close collaboration between Superior UK and Pilato, there will soon be an E-class limousine. Watch this space for the name!

An E-Class Limousine To Match The Polaris Hearse

Superior UK are Pilato’s official partner and first distributing agent. So when we told Pilato that the UK market was crying out for an E-class limousine with unrivalled aesthetics, quality, and finish, the team agreed to build it. We’ve been serving the UK funeral industry for generations, and we are proud of the trust our customer place in us. When you tell us you want an outstanding quality limousine, we will pull out all the stops to get it designed and built for you. And that’s why the new E-class Pilato has come into existence. For you.

Once Pilato agreed to build it for us, the E-class limousine project started to move fast. Faster than any other vehicle design and build we’ve ever known. We aim to have the first vehicle on our NFE stand at Stoneleigh in June, so keep an eye on our news pages as the show draws closer.

PLT_S213___LIMO+POLARIS-GB____KS-201902-05b-1057

Where The Polaris Leads, The Limousine Will Follow

The stunning Polaris E-class hearse has been Pilato’s flagship vehicle, unmistakeable in its sheer quality and design. We promise the limousine will match the standards of the hearse. It will be aesthetically pleasing – long, roomy, and airy but not too long (we know it has to be usable for the UK’s smaller roads, and older burial grounds and crematoriums). We can reveal that it will have the panoramic glass roof you have come to associate with top-of-the-range limousines, but this feature will be done with Pilato’s unmistakable flair. This car will be unlike anything you’ve seen before it.

“Pilato is the most exciting and forward-thinking vehicle brand in the funeral industry,” said Kevin Smith of Superior UK. “They are constantly pushing ahead with design ideas, and investing heavily into their factory. Superior UK is proud to be so closely involved with Pilato developments, and able to bring these luxury vehicles to UK customers. I’m glad we’re along for the ride!”

The premium vehicle will be primarily used by funeral directors, but we expect our order book to include high end non-funeral clientele and VIPs, too. We expect the vehicle to be that level of desirability and design, with fit and finish to mirror the original car on which it is built.

Specifications & Features

Whilst the Pilato E-class limousine doesn’t have a name (yet), we can definitely tell you about the spec, features, and customisation options. The vehicle will be a 9-speed automatic, in diesel or petrol, with heated front seats, air-con and luxury climate control, navigation, parking sensors and reversing camera. It will have a panoramic glass roof (Italian style) and the option of privacy glass, full-size centre bench seat, 64 colour ambient lighting, and LED head and tail lamps.

PLT_S213_LIMO_KS-1152LR

Mercedes-Benz Quality E-Class Limousine

Kevin Smith is thrilled to play such a key role in the development of the new E-class limousine. “Customers can expect Mercedes-Benz quality throughout this vehicle,” he said. “We know the funeral market in the UK are looking for a limousine of a certain quality, and we have been able to communicate this desire to Pilato. And the Italians are delivering! Pilato vehicles are a step ahead of anything we have ever worked with, and the new limousine will be no exception. I can not wait to reveal this amazing new car to our customers.”

The Pilato E-class limousine will be the most hotly-anticipated premium branded product in the funeral industry. It’s exactly the right size, wide and roomy with plenty of leg room. The glass roof gives an airy feel, and the luxurious interior will leave you in no doubt as to the quality of vehicle you are travelling in.

PLT_S213_LIMO_KS-1150LR

A Limousine To Match Your Brand Identity

The limousine in your funeral fleet speaks volumes about who you are and what you stand for. The Pilato E-class limousine will help you make a statement about your business, stand out from the competition, and offer families a true touch of dignified luxury. Your choice of limousine is interpreted by your customers. Let the Pilato limousine send out your choice of message.

To register your interest in the Pilato E-Class limousine, get in touch with Superior UK.

W S Ingham & Son Turns Heads Making Switch To Jaguar For New Fleet

W S Ingham & Son independent funeral firm had run Ford vehicles for over 10 years. From the moment they saw Superior UK’s Pilato demonstrator, the decision was made – the next new ceremonial vehicles would be Pilato Jaguar. Tony Ingham explains why his new cars have the wow factor.

Superior Ingham 5

“We’ve made a lot of changes to our premises over the past 6 years,” Tony says, “including two extensions and new garages. We take pride in being a modern, forward-thinking business. It was about time our fleet reflected those values and showed the local community how we like to take care of them.”

Tony, who runs W S Ingham & Son with his mother Pat, had been running a fleet of Ford vehicles, but when looking to change they were not wowed by the new models. Tony felt they just lacked that ‘certain something’.

“We actually tried out the new model of our existing fleet cars,” he explains, “ and they were just OK, certainly not special enough for how we like to do things. I knew that Superior work with Pilato Jaguar, so I got in touch. They were quick to respond, and brought the demonstrator for a visit.”

As soon as Tony saw the XF GrandAurora hearse, he realised how different it is to anything else on the market.

Superior Ingham 6

“It was clear from first glance that Pilato have thought about Funeral Directors and designed something that really works for us,” he says. “Greg from Superior talked about all the extras and personal touches we could have – and the decision was made. Once I’d seen the GrandAurora, I couldn’t imagine us with anything else.”

The GrandAurora certainly has the wow-factor, but Tony wanted a whole new fleet. Alongside his new hearse, he also required two limousines, and we were able to help him personalise his new XJ limousines with plenty of special touches.

Ingham signing car at Pilato factory

“We’ve never had a Jaguar fleet before,” says Tony, “but this entire process was so smooth and easy. By far the most exciting part for me was our visit to the Pilato factory in Italy. What a wonderful experience! It’s amazing to see your vehicles being made. The factory is remarkable, and the Pilato family can’t do enough for you. It’s thanks to Superior that we were able to have that experience.”

At the Pilato factory, Tony and his fiancee Debbie gave their cars the ultimate personalised touch: a signature on the interior whilst the vehicles were in build.

W S Ingham Pilato Visit

Debbie Walls and Tony Ingham (far left and right) with Gianvittorio Stella and Barbara Pilato at the Pilato factory in Italy

“This is the third new fleet I’ve bought, and I’ve never been asked to put my signature inside my cars before now,” says Tony. “Debbie found it so overwhelming, she burst into tears.”

A New Fleet That Turns Heads In Brand Colours

The Ingham family were able to customise their hearse and limousines with the features, spec, and finish they wanted – down to every last detail.

“We like to be different,” says Tony. “So it is great to have ceremonial cars that match our company colours and help us stand out.”

When the vehicles were ready, Superior had them delivered by covered transporter for the official handover at W S Ingham & Son’s impressive Mansfield premises.

Superior Ingham 3

“Driving the new cars onto our premises on the day was an amazing experience,” says Tony. “The entire team came out to welcome the cars. Since then, they’ve been out on the road and the response has always been “WOW!” They have been an absolute dream to drive. And the service we’ve received from Superior is second to none.”

Kevin Smith from Superior UK says what a pleasure it was to help W S Ingham & Son with their Pilato Jaguar fleet.

“Tony was very clear in what he wanted from his cars,” he says, “it was refreshing to work with a Funeral Director who is so hands-on. Taking Tony and Debbie out to Pilato in Italy was a great experience and I enjoyed showing them the lengths Pilato go to in making dreams a reality. It has been great to demonstrate what the Superior/Pilato partnership is capable of. These three cars are absolutely beautiful!”

Superior Ingham 9

W S Ingham & Son was set up in 1927 by Tony’s grandfather. Tony explains why luxury ceremonial vehicles are an integral part of a modern Funeral Director business.

“Giving our families the best possible service is the most important thing to us,” he says, “and these vehicles are a massive investment for our company. Having cars like these shows our commitment to families and to our local community. We care about every detail of the service we offer.”

Discover more about Superior UK’s official partnership with Pilato here.

A E Stoodley’s Queen II Pilato takes centre stage



When A E Stoodley & Son hosted a gala event to launch their Community Fund, the firm’s new Queen II Pilato hearse had a starring role. Tracey Warren of A E Stoodley & Son tells us what’s so special about her new Pilato.
Tracey Warren of Stoodley with Queen II at Community Fund launch

“I’ve been at A E Stoodley & Son for 18 years, but I took over fully in 2017,” says Tracey. “We are a very progressive, forward-thinking funeral director, and my goal was to bring our brand in line with our values. One of the first things I did was replace our existing vehicle.”

A E Stoodley & Son were running a Mercedes E320 Pollmann build which was about 20 years old – a true workhorse of a car but no longer in line with her vision. Tracey wanted something new, unique, stylish and modern for the business in 2018.

Love At First Sight

The Pilato Queen II was the first vehicle she saw at the National Funeral Exhibition last year. Even though she took a good look around, she couldn’t help coming back to it.

“I assumed we’d get another Mercedes,” she says, “we’ve always had a Mercedes fleet. The second I saw the ‘Queen II’ on Superior UK’s stand, I knew I wanted it. I spent a lot of time looking around, but there was nothing else that came close for me!

Stoodley's Queen II 2

“I had a strong vision of how I wanted our vehicle to look, and the scope of the Queen II allowed me to look beyond the demonstrator. I knew we could create something really special for A E Stoodley & Son.”

Kevin and Peter Smith of Superior UK spoke to Tracey at the NFE and help her to make her vision a reality. She knew exactly what she wanted, and Superior UK were able to advise her with their extensive knowledge and experience of Pilato vehicles. They even facilitated a visit to the Pilato factory in Nervesa della Battaglia, Italy, so Tracey could see her Queen II progressing through the build process.

Watching The Build At The Pilato Factory

In February (6 months after placing the order), Tracey went over to Pilato with Peter, Kevin, and Jon of Superior UK.

“The entire trip was memorable,” she says. “I had a wonderful tour around the factory and saw our Queen II in her grey shell as she started to take shape. It was amazing to see what Pilato do and watch the build in action.”

Tracey was even able to add some very special personalised touches to the car during the build phase.

Stoodley's Queen II coffin chamber

The Most Personalised Details

“I signed the vehicle inside the back wing, and had our logo etched into one of the windows. It was great to have that level of detail available to us. It made me even more excited to take delivery of the finished vehicle.”

Superior UK kept in touch with Tracey throughout the process, and then delivered the car to her by specialist transporter in June 2018.

“I don’t mind admitting that I cried when I saw it,” says Tracey. “It is absolutely stunning, beyond anything I could have comprehended. It is everything I’d hoped for – and the rest!”

Soon after delivery, the Queen II was put centre stage at a special event hosted by A E Stoodley & Son – the launch of their Community Fund. The funeral firm have always been community focused, they are at the heart of the town, for the local people.

Centre Stage At Community Fund Launch

In their 95th year of trading in the town, Tracey launched the Stoodley & Son Community Fund. This initiative is the latest in the firm’s community focused activities. Tracey presented the first award on the evening to The Teresa Braley Memorial Garden. A E Stoodley & Son also run a free Bereavement Support Group (which has supported 120 families over 5 years) and hosts a number of charity events throughout the year.

“People want a funeral director they can feel comfortable with,” says Tracey, “our community work makes us more noticeable and approachable. It was great to be able to welcome so many local people to the launch event. We were only expecting 40 people, and we had over 120! The Queen II was a stunning centrepiece and a real talking point.”

Stoodley's Queen II 3

Since the community fund launch evening, the Queen II has been out and about in the local area – working hard and turning heads.

“We get plenty of looks,” says Tracey. “People even cross the road to look at the car and talk to us about it!”

Stoodley's Queen II detail

A E Stoodley & Son’s new Queen II Pilato has helped bring Tracey’s vision for the business to life. Superior UK were delighted to play a part in the journey.

“A E Stoodley’s Queen II Pilato takes centre stage

” is a blog post from Superior UK. The main Superior UK website is here.

A Second Queen II Pilato Hearse For Nicholas O’Hara Funeral Directors & Family

In 2015, Nicholas O’Hara Funeral Directors proudly took ownership of a Pilato Queen II hearse. The family firm have just taken delivery of their second Queen II, and Anthony O’Hara told us about adding a new statement vehicle to their head-turning fleet.

“The time had come for us to replace our original Queen I hearse,” explains Anthony O’Hara, who represents the third generation of Nicholas O’Hara Funeral Directors. “We have been over the moon with the vehicles we have received from Pilato via Superior UK. Our first Queen II hearse has been an outstanding vehicle from the moment we received it at the NFE 2015, and we knew we wanted a second Queen II.”

Nicholas OHara left, Anthony OHara right, Kevin Smith Superior UK middle

Kevin Smith at Superior UK (Pilato SPA ’s official UK distributor) took Nicholas O’Hara over from Dorset to Italy to visit the Pilato SPA factory and workshop. The two men were met by Barbara and Gianvittorio of Pilato, and Nicholas given a full tour of all the potential specification for his new Queen II.

“We have always been made so welcome at Pilato,” explains Anthony, “and this visit was no different. It’s very exciting to see exactly how your vehicle will be built and to be able to choose your specification from such a legendary factory. We had full input into the spec and finish of our new vehicle. Once my father was at Pilato in Italy, he realised we were spoiled for choice!”

Nicholas and I spent a lot of time designing this vehicle,” says Kevin Smith at Superior UK. “Nicholas is very hands on and enjoys discussing every detail of his vehicles. The result is a beautiful hearse, with new one-piece headlining with a blue quilted leather insert, quilted leather side covers and an Almond Oak slide-out decking system. Other items requested by Nick were clear flashing LED lights covertly mounted in the front grille, an MP3 loud speak system and illuminated name plates. It is a stunning looking vehicle inside and out.”

OHara Queen II inside

From visiting Pilato in March, to taking delivery of the vehicle in August, the entire order was fast and smooth, thanks in large part to the close relationship between Superior UK and Pilato SPA.

“Kevin Smith at Superior UK was excellent as always,” Anthony says. “His customer service is second to none and he makes every order very easy indeed – even special and complex ones like a new Queen II!”

The O’Hara family are delighted with their new Queen II hearse, which was delivered in person by Kevin Smith in August.

“It’s a truly top of the range vehicle, with incredible styling,” says Anthony. “We get masses of compliments on it and the families love how special it is. We even have other funeral professionals taking photos of it – nobody has seen anything like it in this country!”

The O’Hara family’s second Pilato Queen II hearse completes an impressive fleet of vehicles for the Dorset funeral directors, who now run two Queen II hearses, two Pilato Imperial XJ limousines (the first Jaguar limousines made outside the UK), and a Mercedes Benz private ambulance, all supplied by Superior UK.

Kevin Smith was proud to help O’Hara with their latest Pilato fleet vehicle. “Superior UK is proud to be the official UK distributor of Pilato SPA’s Jaguar vehicles. As a family business, we always enjoy serving other family run businesses like Nicholas O’Hara. And Pilato has been a family managed company for over 50 years. We get a lot of personal and professional satisfaction out of every handover.”

A Second Queen II Pilato Hearse For Nicholas O’Hara Funeral Directors & Family is a post from the Superior UK blog. Our main website is here.

Superior UK Hosts FC Douch At Binz Factory in Germany

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It’s not often that you get to see how the vehicles you drive every day are built. But that’s exactly what happened when Jonathan Stretch from FC Douch & Sons (Funerals) Ltd in Dorset was invited to the Binz factory in Stuttgart, Germany.

The trip was part of Superior UK’s planned visit to Binz. Kevin Smith of Superior was travelling to Pilato in Italy and Binz in Germany to discuss customer requirements and get involved in the development of future products.

The Douch Family Funeral Directors have been customers of Superior for more than 10 years. In that time, Kevin has sourced and delivered all their funeral vehicles. With 8 branches across Dorset, Douch Family Funeral Directors run a large fleet of Binz and Mercedes Benz funeral vehicles and personal vehicles.
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As part of this very special customer visit, Jonathan Stretch from Douch Family Funeral Directors received a personal tour of the Binz factory. “It was a wonderful trip,” he said. “From the minute I landed, I had an informative, entertaining and amusing time. Everyone at Binz was welcoming and obviously very proud of everything they are doing at the factory.

“Having purchased many Mercedes Benz vehicles over the past 10 years, I was keen to see the actual build process. When Kevin at Superior said he could help facilitate this, I jumped at the chance! We are long serving customers of Superior and this just demonstrates Kevin’s genuine commitment to customer relationships.”

Jonathan was particularly keen to see the new E Class. “It was fascinating to see how the cars are built from the ground up,” he said. “We are already considering the new E Class as future hearses and limousines. Getting to see the vehicle in the factory gave us a new level of insight into the build quality.”
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During the visit, Kevin and Jonathan also enjoyed visiting the historic Mercedes-Benz museum at Stuttgart.

Kevin was delighted to have a role in hosting Douch Family Funeral Director at Binz. “We have enjoyed working with the Douch family over the past decade and it was a pleasure to host them,” he said. “We really enjoyed Jonathan’s company and appreciate him taking the time out to visit Binz.”

Superior UK Hosts FC Douch At Binz Factory in Germany is a post from the Superior Automotive UK blog. The main funeral cars website is here.