Woodie In The Barn: 1953 Buick Roadmaster

Disclosure: This site may receive compensation from some link clicks and purchases.

Arguably as scarce as hen’s teeth and considered the king of the Roadmasters, this rare 1953 Buick Roadmaster Woodie is a rare sight to see. Pulled from a pole barn, this Buick is an exciting find. Appearing to be relatively complete, it does not seem farfetched at all that this Woodie would undergo an entire restoration. Great style, with a wooden back half and a nailhead V8 leaves me lusting after this sweet wagon find. Offered for $11,500 obo you can find this Buick here on craigslist out of Denver, Colorado. Thanks to Roger for sharing this awesome find!

Looking to have been tucked away for quite a while, this wagon was also delegated to light bulb storage. It is unclear what the interior looks like, but based on all of the windows being down or missing, I don’t hold high hopes. Also, there is no photo of the nailhead V8, or of its condition.

Miraculously the exterior sheet metal looks very promising. There are some pieces of trim missing like the portholes, and rear door trim. Hopefully, all of that is tucked away inside of this Buick. The wooden portion of the Roadmaster is a bit tired and weathered, but it looks like it could be good enough to make patterns off of. Also, the wooden “D” pillar is missing on the driver side.

I dare to say that the paint looks like it would clean up halfway well after a solid washing. The majority of the passenger side woodwork looks quite decent with some splitting and cracking in a couple of places. Also, you will notice there is some rot in the rockers, but I was expecting a much worse situation. Looking further you can see there is a myriad of random missing parts from this Buick. For a Woodie, I was expecting far more rot and damage. Despite my expectations, I am pleasantly surprised by this machine, and I really hope this Buick finds it’s way to the right owner who will take on the challenge of restoring such an awesome machine. Have you had the pleasure of seeing one of these Woodie Roadmasters in person before?

Auctions Ending Soon



    A frame off nut and bolt restoration may not make you money but I guarantee
    it will make you happy. This car deserves it.

    Like 39
  2. Joe Haska

    I believe, it could be restored but not for the week of heart, or on a very limited budget. The wood being the most dificult and the most expensive. I didn’t see any mention of missing pieces, if all or most are there, that would make things much easier. I think whoever gets ,must really want it and not expect it to be a profitable under taking.

    Like 4
  3. TimM

    Strange how this car is so rusty on top and the bottom looks solid!! With the glass missing I’m sure it took a toll on the interior!! Kind of a shame it seems like a cool ride at one time!!

    Like 2
  4. George Mattar

    Parts for these cars expensive. You better have very deep pockets. I believe 53 is the last year for true woodie Buick.

    Like 3
  5. DanaPointJohn

    This could once again be a beautiful car, as the final photo in the listing shows. But, to get it there from where it is now…whew! There are too many important pieces missing, plus the unknown engine and interior condition, and rust factors, make this a hard pass at $11,500.

    Like 3
    • JP

      The $11.5k is almost irrelevant considering the $150k+ restoration cost. This is a project for some rich person who’s wholly unconcerned with expenditure…

      Like 4
  6. MathieuB

    Looks to me that a restoration process has been started a long time ago.

    Nice project but you must be aware of the amount of works behind you!

    Like 0
  7. Will Fox

    A guaranteed classic, and well worth the cost of restoration. `53 marks the last year Buick used real wood on their wagons, and you don’t get much more majestic than a Roadmaster like this. These are $150K+ when done, and you only need to look at restored examples of these to know how stunning they can be when restored correctly. Hope this car finds the right Buick man as it’s next owner.

    Like 1
    • Jay E.

      In the past year, prices for woodies have dropped dramatically.

      Like 6
      • bull

        “In the past year, prices for woodies have dropped dramatically.”

        Which makes the current asking price for the project to high given the work needed and vehicle value when completed.

        5 years ago the car WOULD have broght double this asking price.

        Like 2
  8. jskovsethMember

    JB Donaldson in Phoenix has wood kits and other items for the 49-53 Buicks, it would be an ambitious undertaking but a beautiful car in the end

    Like 5
    • Pete Phillips

      J.B. Donaldson used to have wood kits, for 1950-53 Buick wagons. Try getting them to respond to any inquiries about that now…impossible. I think they are out of the woody wagon business. I”m doing a ’49 and they won’t return my phone calls nor messages about wood for it.
      Finding an upper tailgate and the slightly curved glass that goes in the upper tailgate for this will take someone a lifetime, probably. No one who has one wants to give it up.

      Like 2
  9. Matt Watson

    Does anybody know what that thing on the roof is?
    It looks like a spot-light of some sort.

    Like 0
    • 427Turbojet 427TurbojetMember

      That’s a Unity roof mount spot light. The control handle would protrude 4-5 inches into the passenger compartment and even though normally you had plenty of headroom in these, it’d be like a ball peen hammer to the head on a good bump. I have one that I’ve thought of putting in my plow truck, but then I think of how rough it can be hitting ruts or coming to a sudden stop and I don’t intend on wearing a helmet when I plow, so it sits in it’s box.

      Like 3
  10. Pete Phillips

    1 of 670 made in ’53. The missing parts will be nearly impossible to find (curved upper tail gate glass, upper tail gate hinges, exterior door handles–longer shaft than sedan handles, etc.).

    Like 0
  11. norm bissonnette

    Maybe replacing the wood with steel components ( and realistic woodie ”wrap” ) . It would not be original , of course but, if done well with modern bits this could be a Buick for today…

    Like 0
  12. don

    This looks like it was once a parts car for a Buick in better , restorable condition . Since there is no mention of the missing parts, I’d bet the went on the better car, and this was just left hanging around ,just in case the restored car needed a part

    Like 3
  13. Roger Jones

    I believe the 53 Roadmaster had a 320 Straight 8 engine with a four barell carb, don’t thing the nailhead had been made yet. I would like to know more about the engine in the car.

    Like 0
    • Marty Parker

      In 53 the Special series 40 was the only one to have the 263 CI straight 8 engine. Roadmaster and Super got the new 322 CI V8.

      Like 0
  14. Bultaco

    This would be spectacular restored. If the drivetrain is rusted into one immovable chunk of cast iron, it seems like it would make the most sense to give it a more modern drivetrain and restore the rest of the car to something close to original. The wood parts could be reproduced and the steel parts of the body doesn’t look horrible. I guess it would depend on the condition of the frame and the structural areas of the body.

    Like 1
  15. Jay

    I hope it gets saved. But with missing so many parts, woodwork, interior, glass, and unknown engine its more a labor of love. From what I see its a 60k car all day, I think you’d have more than that getting it fixed up

    Like 0

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Get new comment updates via email. Or subscribe without commenting.

Barn Finds