1954 Buick Special Hardtop Barn Find

A true barn find still in the barn in this picture, this 1954 Buick Special is located in Milan, Indiana. It’s being sold here on eBay at no reserve! Bidding is up to $1,675 as I write. Can’t you see that big grille/mouth saying “come get me…you know you want to!”

Serious underbite, there! While the car looks very complete, there are some worrying rust spots. Then again, none look to be of a size that a dedicated home restorer couldn’t fill them with some welded patches. Of course, you could always choose to drive it as is cosmetically!

Here’s a closer look at some of that rust. The seller also tells us that there is frame rust in the rear on one side, but thereIf you go to the auction listing, I did take the time to flip the pictures around the right way for your benefit. Yes, it looks bad, but there’s a lot of metal still there, and I still think that some careful blasting and patching would lead to acceptable results for a driver classic. You know, these cars were advertised by Buick as “The Beautiful Buy” in 1954, and I found out that they sold so well that Buick moved into third place in the US sales race for that year. Believe it or not, over 190,000 Buick Specials were sold in 1954!

Nice clean lines on the rear, and I don’t notice a lot of rust there, either. I’m pretty darn sure that license plate is a late addition and that the car hasn’t actually been off the road for all that time! Notice how straight both bumpers are; considering the size of those pieces, I’d be looking to polish them and keep going! That much chrome isn’t in a driver budget for me!

The floors have some rust holes but the owner hasn’t lifted the rubber mat to see how bad it really is. I’d be rough on them about this, but they do provide a lot of information about the car and some good pictures, so let’s just assume you’re going to have major patching to do here. I like the upholstery, but I’m not sure about the yellow/aqua theme. What do you think–is it original?

The black rubber mat seems a little austere compared to carpet, but I guess that was original and practical. I’d go for carpet in a driver, merely for the comfort and quietness, but who knows what’s right for the eventual buyer of this fine old Buick. I’ll be honest, if this were within driving distance of me I’d go look today.

The seller tells us that the engine is currently locked up, but I’m wondering if they know any more considering the valve cover fasteners are missing. It might be worth a phone call if you’re interested, and the seller has pledged to update the auction listing throughout the auction (and it looks like they are doing so at this point). Overall, I think this one is worth checking out, especially if you’re looking for a two door that can become a driver on a budget. What do you think?




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  1. D

    I have never been the first comment!

    • Puhnto

      Congrats and commendations all around!

    • Moe G

      Good job buddy, proud of ya!

    • Dovi65

      Congratulations!!! [come closer to the screen so you can hear the cheering, hand clapping, the ‘attaboy’s’ …]

      I think BF needs to award a trophy, or some special recognition for first time-first commenters. Thoughts? Opinions? … anyone? .. someone? Help me out here!!

    • Loco Mikado

      Not another car ad where the seller is either too lazy or too stupid to get the pictures orientated right. What other areas is he deficient in? I get so tired of this “Want to look at pictures of my car, use your paint program because I am too stupid or lazy to use mine.” Dumb a$$.

  2. RicK

    Neat old car, amazing that it avoided the crusher like so many of its brethren that were unable to. The best features in my mind are the Gulf lube sticker and the snow tire spare w/ the porta wall. If I was going to drive it, I’d go with later model small block / 700R4 combo and upgrade the front brakes to discs. Wonder if the old Sonomatic works? Times must have really been booming in ’55 for Buick to have outsold Plymouth

  3. Lee

    I think the guy is up side down in this car or almost

  4. JW454

    As soon as I saw this I thought “I’ve seen that picture before”. Well, not the same but it’s close. If you’re interested in the book it’s ISBN 978-0917808364.

    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      At first glance I thought the book photo was your new profile picture.

      • JW454

        It would make a good one for this site.

  5. Mark S

    This would be a great budget project car for a skilled Hobbiest. A lot of this car is going to have to come apart to do all the rust repair. I’d start by getting it going and safe for the road, then each winter while it is the road I’d work on the body and afterward the interior.

    • Dave

      This car looks like the same model my first wife had. I learned to drive in it. Wasn’t the starter under the gas pedal?

      • boothguy

        The switch for the starter was on the carb, push the gas pedal to the floor to crank the engine

  6. Kerry Glenn

    ANCIENT Delco battery in it.

  7. TonyM

    I had a 55 century 2dr ht, engine used to ovrheat. But the car drove great, used to turn heads constantly. Not very fast with the dynaflow trans.

  8. Chuck Foster Chuck F 55chevy

    I have always loved 54 Buicks, a Skylark would be the ultimate, I love this one. Yellow with green interior was a mid 50s GM thing, not sure why, I have a 55 Chevy 2 page ad with a 2dr ht same colors. I bet they’re talking about this one on the AACA Buick forum.

  9. Dick in SoCal

    If my recollection is accurate, the license plate was issued in Cuyahoga County (Cleveland area). This would be consistent with the heavy rust.

    “Back then”, numbers came first in the northern half of Ohio and the A’s started at the Cuyahoga County – Lorain County line and wrapping around in a sweep that ended with Z’s in Lorain County. My grandparents lived in Lorain and got 987 ZB and 988 ZB every year in the 50’s.

    • Marty

      Actually I think you have that backwards. Northeast Ohio had 2 letters at the beginnning and southwest Ohio (Dayton, Cincinnati, etc) had two letters in the end. So I am guessing your grandparents’ plate was ZB 987. I think the plate in the picture originated in Hamilton Co (Cincinnati). Rust issue would be the same in both locations 😊 Wish Ohio still used that old style number/letter system. Much more interesting than today.

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