Two men in suits and hats standing next to a car, circa 1955

Gordon K. Allen

Gordon K. Allen is long remembered as a legend in the history of ambulance vehicle sales and conversions in the southwest, especially in Texas. In the 1950s, Gordon K. Allen established the southwest distributorship for Superior Coaches of Lima, Ohio within the Dallas city limits. This included a complete line of Superior Coach limousines, flower cars, straight hearses, and those that were designed to be quickly converted into an ambulance by removing the scrolled side “Landau” glass panel covers, attaching a removable Federal Model 17 red “Beacon Ray”, and flipping over the casket roller covers.

The hearse-ambulance conversions had a permanently installed side stretcher securing bar, a mechanical Federal or Sireno siren, or new 75 watt electronic siren speaker(s) under the hood, and, sometimes, an oxygen mount in which a portable oxygen tank with regulator and mask could be quickly inserted. There was also a small floor, or forward bulkhead compartment to store a first aid kit. The legendary Dallas funeral homes, which provided ambulance service at the time, included the Camp Funeral Home, the Ed C. Smith Funeral Home, the Al Cortez Funeral Home, the Dudley Hughes Funeral Home, the O’Neil Funeral Home, and the Sparkman Funeral Home. Gordon K. Allen Superior Corporation Coaches also offered a line of “straight” line Superior Body chassis ambulances. For example, in 1957, a Dallas commercial company called the Ambulance Service Company of Dallas, purchased three 1957 Superior ambulance vehicles which were built on the Cadillac chassis.

Learn more about his companies and innovations in the tabs below.