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.”

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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/

Exclusive: See These 5 Superior UK and Pilato Vehicles At NFE 2019

It’s nearly time for the NFE show (Friday 7th – Sunday 9th June at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire). We’ll be there (we never miss the NFE!) with 5 spectacular vehicles on our stand. One of them is a pre-production first-view exclusive…

Here’s exactly what you’ll see on the Superior UK stand (370 & 375) this weekend at the National Funeral Exhibition.

1) The Pilato Jaguar XF GrandAurora 5dr hearse

We just had to bring the latest Jaguar offering from Pilato! This amazing hearse has a closed coffin chamber with LED lighting around the central leather roof trim. It’s fitted out with the Superior slide-out decking system finished in a modern grey wood grain deck finish, and beautifully finished in Jaguar black metallic paintwork.

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2) The Pilato Mercedes E-Class Polaris 5dr hearse

We’ll be bringing the petrol engine variant of the Pilato Mercedes E-Class Polaris, which is now available to purchase (alongside the standard diesel version). The vehicle which will be on our stand has a self opening/closing tailgate, and Superior’s slide-out casket decking system with under-deck storage. It has been finished in deep gloss black metallic paintwork.

Pillato & Limo

3) The Pilato Mercedes E-Class 6dr limousine

Pre-production exclusive! Be one of the first to look around the new Pilato Mercedes E-Class limousine – the NFE will be the first time this all-new limo will be on show (it only went into production in January 2019!) You’ll view a pre-production vehicle, demonstrating exactly what you can expect later in the year. As always, Pilato will add a little Italian flair to their limousine… come and see for yourself!

4) The Mercedes-Benz Vito covert removal vehicle

This smart removal vehicle has the Superior Rise&Fall decking system, and is fully equipped with automatic transmission, air-conditioning, alloy wheels, and all round MPV style glazing. It is finished in metallic black paintwork. This vehicle will be available for purchase at the show – just come and visit the stand.

5) The VW T6 4MOTION all wheel drive covert removal vehicle

This VW 4MOTION is finished to a high specification with an extraordinary amount of equipment, including automatic transmission, 4MOTION all wheel drive, electric opening/closing tailgate, alloy wheels and much more. It also has the Superior Rise&Fall decking system. It will be available for purchase at the show, so please come and take a look around.

We always look forward to the NFE and can’t wait to show you our 5 display vehicles, and talk to you about everything else that’s in the pipeline from Superior UK and Pilato.

Visit the stand, have a look at the vehicles, have some refreshments, and say hi.

We look forward to welcoming friends old and new on show stand numbers 370 & 375 at the National Funeral Exhibition 2019.

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.

Pilato Italy launch Queen II, available in the UK through Superior


The cover star of January’s Funeral Service Journal will be this stunning Pilato Queen II, a Jaguar XJ based hearse, newly delivered to C Bastock Ltd directly from Pilato in Italy.
Pilato Hearse UK Superior

David Bastock explains why he loves Pilato design and coachwork, and reveals news of the new Pilato hearse available in this country from Superior UK.

“The silver hearse you can see on the cover is our second Pilato vehicle,” said David, “and it’s the first Pilato Queen II in the country.” 


David, who is 7th generation of the Bastock family, explained the process leading up to delivery of the Pilato Queen II. “Until now, sourcing vehicles from Pilato has needed to be done directly,” he said. “For this hearse, we made several trips to Pilato in Italy, to discuss our specific requirements, ensuring the deck was built to our UK specification rather than the usual European style.”


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From this year, it will be much easier for funeral directors like David to access the Italian flair and finish of Pilato’s funeral vehicles. Superior UK, the funeral vehicle specialists, have been working behind the scenes with Pilato and now proudly announce that they are the partner and supplier of Pilato’s Jaguar hearses in the UK. Pilato have been a fully-approved Jaguar manufacturing partner since 2007, and Superior UK are now the sole UK agent for Mercedes Benz and Pilato’s Jaguar products.


“Making the trip out to Pilato in Italy is fascinating for anyone keen on vehicle design and history,” said David. “Everyone at Pilato is very proud of the company’s heritage, and the premises are immaculate. We have particularly enjoyed working with lead designer Gianvittorio, who personally pens and designs all the new hearses and interiors. Like us, he is passionate about the work he does.”

C Bastock Ltd are now considering the purchase of a new vehicle from Pilato, and David explained how life will be made easier by having Kevin and Peter Smith at Superior as a Pilato supplier right here in the UK.

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“We are excited about the launch of the new Pilato Queen II,” he said. “Along with Kevin Smith at Superior, we have been applying gentle pressure to Pilato for some time, encouraging them to design a new hearse. And it’s great to know that we can speak to Kevin or Peter at Superior about any aspect of the vehicle at any time.”


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Although C Bastock Ltd are a relatively small family run funeral company, they pride themselves on innovation, doing what they can to stay one step ahead. David told us how his eye-catching fleet of silver Pilatos plays a significant role in the company’s image. “The silver fleet was actually my father’s decision back in the 1970s,” he recalls. “It was very unusual then. These days, the silver vehicles are our signature. Hence the decision to purchase Pilato again. The vehicles really do stand out from the crowd with the Italian design and finish. We get so many comments from families – when I pull up outside houses, I can hear the positive comments as we walk in. As for us, we love the Pilato for the marked difference in both the design and the quality of the build. And, of course, as we are based in the Midlands, it is very meaningful to run Jaguars. Families come to us who have worked for Jaguar their whole lives. It’s comforting to them to make that final journey in a Jaguar.”

Kevin Smith of Superior UK explained his part in the Pilato story. “We are delighted to now be working in partnership with Pilato and look forward to bringing these wonderful vehicles to the UK market.”

You can find us at Superior Automotive UK on Twitter and Superior Automotive UK on Facebook. For more about us please go to our main website – Superior Automotive UK.

Pilato Italy launch Queen II, available in the UK through Superior
 is a post from the Superior Automotive UK blog. The main website is here.