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1938 Buick Special Series 40 Trunkback Sedan * Straight 8 * Original & Gorgeous!

Condition: Used
Make: Buick
Model: Series 40 Sedan
Type: Sedan
Trim: Special
Year: 1938
Mileage: 86,568
VIN: 13330781
Color: Black
Engine: Dyna Flash Straight 8
Cylinders: 8
Fuel: Gasoline
Transmission: Manual
Drive type: RWD
Drive side: Left-hand drive
Vehicle Title: Clear
Item location: Canoga Park, California, United States

Listed by
Private seller

Description of 1938 Buick Series 40 Sedan Special

The late 1930s was a high watermark era for American automotive design, when the stunning and imposing rolling sculptures from the USA—Duesenburg, Cadillac, Lincoln and yes, even Buick, influenced European design more than the other way around. The big, beautiful Buicks of the day outshone Ford and Chevrolet in style, panache and luxury, and the Series 40 Trunkback Sedan still looks like a million bucks today.

This particular example was purchased new by a New Jersey gentleman of means in 1938, and babied by him as it carried him to the office and shepherded the family into town with grace and dignity. Always garaged, serviced and maintained, it survived the usual East Coast ravages of snow, road salt and the resultant rust that dissolved most cars from that time. Passed on from father to son, it remained in the family until 2011, when my friend—for whom I am presenting this auction—purchased it as a one original family-owned car. Shipped to California, we were stunned to see an almost completely rust-free classic, top to bottom. In fact, the underside, door bottoms, fenders edges, etc., are so solid (and I took many, many photos—too many to post here) that I posted a photo of the one, singular rust-through I could find on the entire car; a non-structural sheet metal pocket with a small perforation.

The car has been repainted sometime in the past, in its original Embassy Black, and is a very attractive, driver-quality job, with minimal chips and scratches, and minor bubbling in the paint around the trunk-mounted Buick 8 badge and the lower, center portion of the trunk lid. Some tiny pin point bubbles are visible in strong lighting, such as on the left fender, but only upon close inspection. The same can be found around the left rear window's lower edge.

All the plated parts are original to the car and the chrome is weak on the front overriders, and slight pitting of the grille. The ribbed rubber covering on the running boards is generally quite nice, with minimal cracking between the ribs.

All doors open easily and close with an easy and solid thunk, without need for lifting or slamming. The front wing lights are not connected, and the wipers and clock do not work, although the speedometer and secondary gauges do. There is no spare tire included, but there will be a full, fitted car cover stashed in the trunk for you. The extremely rare 1938 New Jersey license plate is original to this car from new.

While sporting a relatively low 86,568 miles (a few miles will be added to this total in local driving), my friend invested much in making this a reliable, fun, easy-to-drive classic and historic rally entrant. To that end, he had the three-speed manual gearbox rebuilt, new clutch, all four original drum brakes completely rebuilt with new metal lines and new master cylinder, new cooling system including water pump, radiator, thermostat, hoses, rebuilt temp gauge, etc., tuned and serviced with new plugs, plug wires. He even had the original AM radio rebuilt so you can listen to the Big Bands of the 30s! All receipts from the aforementioned are included.

The interior, while restored in original colors, is trimmed in more current materials and almost spotless and incredibly comfortable. The woodgrained dash has an "alligator" crackled patina that is very difficult to achieve. Big, roomy, comfy and inviting describes this living room on wheels, and six adults can cruise the Miracle Mile in style.

Speaking of cruising, the Buick is a joy to drive. It starts easily, idles slowly and smoothly and remains cool even on the hottest of days. Its straight 8 has plenty of get-up-and-go, the clutch takeup is very smooth and progressive, the long gearshift is easy, and the steering has been adjusted although still loose by modern standards, especially on the period-correct bias-ply wide whitewall tires. The rebuilt brakes are extremely good for a vintage car of this size and heft, adding to the feeling of safety and confidence in classic motoring with the family on board. I wouldn't hesitate to drive this magnificent car from California back to New Jersey!

I've described the car to the best of my knowledge, after thorough inspection and test driving. Other flaws, potential maintenance or repairs may exist, and an in-person inspection is invited and encouraged. The car is sold as-is, without warranty expressed or implied. I'll be happy to answer any other questions you might have, as well as provide you with more photos of the underside as described in the text. I do not disclose the reserve, so please do not ask.

Deposit via PayPal only. The balance will be paid by either bank wire transfer or cashier's check. Thanks, and good luck bidding!

~ Dave