100 Years Later: 1918 Buick Touring-Car

In 1918, Ford was still building the Model T and would continue building them for another 8 years. The first world war also ended in 1918. One hundred years ago, most people still didn’t have electricity in their homes and walking was the most common way to get around. And in 1918, this Buick listed here on eBay rolled out of the Buick factory. It’s in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. The current owner purchased the car in 1954 and drove it for several years. He then stored it in his barn where it sat for 50 years. It’s said to be solid, complete and the engine is not seized. Bidding is currently over $6,000 but the reserve has not been met.

It looks like you could clean up the dust and drive it. The upholstery might be usable after a good cleaning and conditioning.

The engine is not seized. It’s likely a 242 CID six with about 60 horsepower. Buick was the first company to introduce overhead valve engines. Hopefully, this engine won’t take much to get running. The only thing missing is the oil can from its mount on the firewall. The external pushrods required frequent oiling.

This Buick appears to be a survivor, but likely some restoration work was completed before the owner purchased it in 1954. I would do whatever mechanical work is necessary to make it run and drive as well as whatever cosmetic restoration is necessary to make it usable. Although the top and side curtains have survived, they’re likely only good for patterns to create new ones. The leather upholstery might be salvageable. What would you do with this 100-year-old survivor?


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  1. 86 Vette Convertible

    Now that has character to it. Get that, the KB5 listed in another thread and a proper flatbed trailer and you’d garner attention no matter where you went.
    It would take someone with a lot more devotion and knowledge than me to bring it back, but I like it regardless.

  2. MH

    What an amazing car. To bad you couldn’t drive it today without getting run over.

    • Andy

      My ’74 Beetle had the same horsepower. It was a little closer to the road and had front brakes, but 60 is adequate for off interstates.

    • Doc

      I own a couple of Model Ts. The problem isn’t getting run over– I can keep up with traffic. The problem is those who change lanes in front of you, then jam on the brakes…

  3. Dan in Texas

    I had a 1922 Chevy touring car that needed a top. Even had an old top that could be used as a pattern. Most shops would not touch making a new one, and the best estimate I could get from the ones that would were about $5k. I think this car is pushing up against its upper value limit at 6k.

  4. David Zornig

    Coincidentally I have a photo of a Buick showroom in Chicago from 1918.
    I got it from an employer I had in the `70s.

    • Josh

      Anyone else surprised by the number of “obligatory office ferns” in this picture?

    • Joe M

      Cool picture, is that a coupe on the right. the rear of the car kind of looks like the front?

    • David

      Great photo, thanks for posting this. Neat seeing the chassis without body as a selling tool.

  5. Joseph Wayne Haddock

    I’d run around like i was looking for granny, Ellie Mae and Jethro.

  6. 8banger dave Member

    Wow. As a shop owner, and all my years of wrenching, I’ve never seen a valvetrain configuration like that. Nice.

    • Morgan Wright

      Buick was built on its reputation as the only car with overhead valves. Leaving the push rods on the outside was a marketing strategy. By 1919 other cars had OHV so they covered the valves. Chevy, Dorris, others

  7. Madmatt

    The older I get,…The older the vehicles that I love get…!
    This looks sooo cool..,and seems to be in great condition..,
    make it a runner…and enjoy…if u “bend” a push rod..,
    you will be able to see it..!,how cool is that..!?
    What a wonderful time machine this is..I Love it..
    Thank you barn finds staff,everyday you bring a smile to my face..!
    awesome find.!!

  8. Mike

    My grandmother turns 99 in March. This car represents all that she has seen and experienced through out her life when compared to contemporary cars. Note: it was grandma who bought my first 57 chevy…Kool gal.

  9. Derek

    The only real drawback to using this as an everyday car is that people assume that all cars can stop as quickly as theirs. It’s a lovely thing. I don’t quite understand how this is sitting at around $7k whereas far more plentiful Mustangs, Babararacucudadas and so on go for daft money. I’d have it in a heartbeat, but for geography.

    And that I have too many cars/motorbikes/bicycles already….

    • hank

      Amen. My 65 Corvair Monza has 4 drums. If I didn’t have a 4spd and could downshift to slow down while hard on the binders, I would have wrecked several times last year, and it would NOT have been my fault. Damn kids cut in front of you and you can’t slow down in a 4 drum car like you have 4 wheel discs.

      Next improvement to this car after the Posi goes in is a front disc kit. I’d like to keep it original but I need to drive it too.

      • Morgan Wright

        The front end was not designed for brakes. Not strong enough. Need to put the discs in the back.

    • Dan in Texas

      It really is not as bad as you think. You are going so slow that there is plenty of room around you. If a car darts in front of you, they are going to be accelerating, not slowing down.

      My biggest concern in any kind of wreck is that plate glass windshield. Replace it before taking it on the road!

  10. That Guy

    60 horsepower seems pretty powerful for this era. These must have been hot rods in their day.

    This is definitely a preservation candidate. Great find.

  11. chad

    a 5 speed, dual resiv. master & frnt discs is all that’s needed hank…

    • Morgan Wright

      The front end was not designed for brakes. Not strong enough. Need to put the discs in the back.

  12. Burger

    I drive my 20hp (built a little, … probably got 30 now) Ford TT flatbed any time the weather is nice. Would not take it on the freeway in the city, but otherwise, it will go anywhere. The Buick, while also sharing all the aerodynamics of a phone booth, would drive all day long at 45. Brakes are the weak point with cars of this era. Roads were largely dirt and traffic nothing like today. Brakes just weren’t needed.

  13. DonC

    A history lesson, for what is now called Veterans Day was originally Armistice Day. Marking the end of WW1 at “the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the year our Lord 1918”

    Cool car, of course.

  14. Bill

    I looked at this car a few years ago as the owner is a friend of an acquaintance of a friend, etc. It literally has been sitting in a heated garage for 50+years. A very honest unmolested car but of course probably needs tons to be road worthy.

  15. PatrickM

    My mother and her family had a 1918 Dodge Touring Car. They drove it from Ft. Wayne, Ind. to Washington, D. C. in 1934… long before many paved roads. They had to repair three flat tires on the way, using a patch kit and a hand pump. No air gauges available. Just “touch”. So, how bad off are we, really? “Oh, my gosh! I have a flat tire! I wonder how long it will be before the trow truck gets here! And I don’t know how to use the jack! Where is it, anyway?”

    • DonC

      No kidding! When my daughter was 18 and ready to go to college, I called her out to the driveway and she was so pissed because her very used Honda had a flat tire. I said, “I took the air out myself.” She asked why, “Because, let’s pretend it’s 1am, you’re trying to get home, you have a flat tire, and there’s a rapist 20 minutes away. The only thing that’s going to save you, is being able to change that tire in 19. Clock starts now.” And I sat down in a patio chair with my watch. Took her 3 tries. Lesson learned.

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