Automotive Glamour: 1950 Buick Roadmaster Convertible

While British sports cars in the 1950s were aiming for the “size zero,” more angular and slender runway model type of vehicle designs, Buick was full steam ahead in quite the other direction: plus-sized, plush, sensuously round in all the right places with mouths full of perfect chrome teeth cars just wanting to quietly whisper “Dahling.” This 1950 Buick Series 70 Roadmaster convertible was the flagship of the Buick line, post-war elegance and decadence at its peak. Gotta hurry, though, this auction on eBay is expiring Monday at 10:00 a.m. (Pacific Standard Time and DON’T FORGET to wind your clock BACK Saturday night). Currently bidding is at $16,300, WELL-PRICED shall we say? for this California-based sultry siren.  There doesn’t appear to be a reserve or BIN price either.

Visualize this scene: Dustin Hoffman (Raymond) and Tom Cruise (Charlie) in a white Buick Roadmaster convertible: “Raymond: I’m an excellent driver. Charlie: When did you drive? Raymond: I drove slow on the driveway when my dad came to Walbrook . . .Ten minutes to Wapner.”* The car, as you may recall, had a star role in the premise of the film—Charlie had been expecting to inherit a large part of his father’s estate but, instead, surprisingly, only got the Roadmaster. Buick made 2,964 of the Series 70 convertibles in 1950; this car is a Model 76C, selling new for $2,981, and weighing in at around 4,300 pounds–an astounding $0.69 a pound! Wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss her, Charlie, as we’ve seen these cars go well into the six-figures lately–no joke (nearly $35.00 a pound). This is NOT the car Raymond drove in the classic film.

*“Rain Man,” 1988, United Artists, Screenplay by Barry Morrow and Ronald Bass. The Roadmaster in that film is a 1949 model.

The seller claims this Roadmaster was repainted about 12 years ago and that the interior was redone in the same time period. If you’re wondering why the hood seems as long as the deck of a supertanker, remember that Buick housed a straight eight under that hood bedecked with four VentiPorts. In this case, Buick used a 320 cubic inch 152 hp hydraulic lifter engine bolted to the well-marketed Dynaflow automatic transmission (“Dynaflow” is molded into the back truck emblem).  No mention in the posting whether this is a matching numbers car.

This car calls Hayward, CA home, and from its condition inside and underneath, she may have been a California girl her whole life.  There is not enough of the VIN provided to trace manufacturing plant site or other pertinent information. She cleans up nice, though.

There weren’t many options on the Series 70 Roadmaster because practically all the latest Buick features–like DynaFlow–were standard on the flagship.  One option that is particularly interesting in the subject car is the big chrome box in the middle of the dash with the heat controls.  In 1950, this heater and defroster cost you an additional $57.90.  Practically speaking, the original owner must have spent his wad on the heater because he did NOT opt for the top of the line Selectronic radio ($106.50 or 3% of the base selling price! For a radio!) opting instead for the Sonomatic radio option at just $80.00 additional. Convenient ash trays are obviously prominent accessories for the 1950s driver and passenger. The Ned Nickles Roadmaster designs won over folks not quite ready for the price or the societal weight of owning a Cadillac.  This top-of-the-line Buick was just one small step–but one giant leap down–from Caddy at a time when the car you drove and the cigarettes you smoked told people lots about you and how you perceived your place in society. No finer tribute to the post-war 1950s automania than this grande old dame–Dahling, just make sure your garage is long enough to berth this land yacht and wide enough for you to open the door and to get out. Been there.

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Comments

  1. Miguel

    A car like this has always been financially out of reach for most people.

    Have they come down that much in value?

    Like 4
  2. On and On On and On Member

    Hola Miguel, Just what I was thinking as I perused this ad. It makes you think something must be wrong somewhere. We’ll see. Am I just being too skeptical?

    Like 2
    • Mike Tarutis Staff

      Hola, que tal?

      I am looking at the recent auction values, too–this car could still make the trip to Barrett Jackson in January. . .

      Honestly, I can’t find anything wrong from the seller’s posting or the photos. Sometimes, is a real deal just a real deal? Or am I too trusting (as usual)?

      Like 4
  3. Aaron Carlson

    My friend’s dad had a ’50, but it was a plain 2 door fastback with 3-on-the-tree. But boy, would it move! 80 mph down Lake Shore Drive in Chicago! Ah, those were fun times!

    Like 5
    • Mike Tarutis Staff

      Did it take ’til Joliet to slow ‘er down?

      Like 6
  4. Fred W

    My ’48 Continental convertible does not have the original chrome piece around the radio, knobs and speaker. Always wondered what car it came from, now I know! Amazing that the Buick and Lincoln dash have the exact same curvature, it fits perfectly.

    Like 7
  5. ruxvette

    Wow! This thing is gorgeous. $17k for ’50 convertible? What am I missing? Shouldn’t this be in the $30’s at least?

    Like 5
  6. Stan Marks

    After 10 bids, this beauty sold for $23,266.00 & worth every penny.
    Love this classic……

    Like 8
    • Ted-M

      Yes it did I was there!

  7. Stilbo

    I was born in 1954. When I was only knee high to my Dad I’d give these Buick’s a WIDE BERTH when walking through a parking lot.
    They had GIANT mouths and GIANT teeth and I was afraid of being devoured.
    I now love these clamshell hood Buicks.

    Like 7
    • Stan Marks

      I’ve always said, of all the decades, the 50s had the most stylish cars. Every one was different from the others.
      Today, they pretty much all look the same.

      Like 11
      • Bill Hall

        We have NO CREATIVITY in design in our society TODAY. Look at older things such as kitchen appliances against new ones. Cars now are all designed to the same specs with no ifs and buts. They also have to be built to be sold for MAXIMUM Profit, No more models that are neat with limited possibilities for MAXIMUM PROFFIT.
        This is how our society is now run. Little if any individual creativity.

        Like 6
      • CaCarDude

        In today’s market of look a like cars I refer to them as Jelly Bean cars, all the same just different colors.

        Like 1
    • Dave Mazz

      Stilbo, You still have to be wary of these big Buicks….now they’ll eat up all your spare cash!! :-) :-)

      Like 1
  8. Stilbo

    Sweet Jeebus in a rowboat!
    It sold for $23,266.00!
    Someone stole it.

    Like 9
    • Camaro guy

      I totally agree Bill Hall everything is silver or gray suv that’s what’s cool about Hot Rodding at least there’s some indivuality there

      Like 2
  9. Jon

    My dad loved Buicks and had a Buick coupe way back in 1952 .. the power windows stopped working and in Louisiana that was a no-no … my mom told him no more power windows … that was ok until he bought a ’64 Galaxie XL which lost the power windows on a road trip in Arizona in 1966 … I’ll never forget that language …

    Like 4
  10. George Cassidy

    Except the Rain Man car was a 1949 model.

    Like 1
  11. Maestro1 Member

    My Uncle had a ’49 Roadmaster Convertible in this color. I never forgot that car, and there it was, in Rain Man. I have no idea weather it was the same car.

    Like 3
  12. Stan Marks

    You should read the other posts, Maestro. You’ll see your answer.
    It’s not the same car, or year.

    Like 2
  13. Greg

    This vehicle was also listed on SF Bay Area CL for $32,000.
    Since this seller had 0-feedback on eBay the transaction may not be completed since it sold for far less.

  14. Bill Hall

    We have NO CREATIVITY in design in our society TODAY. Look at older things such as kitchen appliances against new ones. Cars now are all designed to the same specs with no ifs and buts. They also have to be built to be sold for MAXIMUM Profit, No more models that are neat with limited possibilities for MAXIMUM PROFFIT.
    This is how our society is now run. This one reason GM doesn’t make any good selling cars.

    Like 2
  15. dr fine

    That grille looks vulnerable and expensive, but you can replace one tooth at a time.

  16. CaCarDude

    The Rainman Buick was a 1949 Roadmaster Convertible,and not white but a light yellow, I know the owner who sold it a several years after the movie was made. It was one of three used in the movie. Universal studios took his car and did the resto for the movie. They had the car 9 months for the film. I rode in the car several times in Sacramento, have pics of it also. The Rainman Buick was a True Barnfind in itself back in the 80’s when John the owner I mention found it in a Barn in Woodland, CA. I know the price he paid for the car also. This ’50 Buick is quite the looker and was bought right IMO.

  17. KurtK Member

    I want to know about the pawprints and large stain on the rear seatback. Raccoon?

    • Poppy

      Jerri curl?

  18. EBZ06

    Dad loved his Buicks. I came home from the maternity ward in his 1950 Super Eight 2-door coupe. I still remember that radio antenna that folded down on the windshield. By 1957, with 3 more kids and a rusted out floor pan, he traded it in on “The Behemoth”, a red-engine red ’57 Buick Estate Wagon.

    Like 1
  19. Charles Turner

    I love any 1950 Buick. Would be happy with a Special four door……..

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