30 Years With One Family: 1938 Buick Roadmaster Phaeton


Here’s yet another 1930’s car that may be under appreciated as far as I’m concerned. I’ll reserve judgement until the auction here on eBay is completed, but with bidding currently under $10,000 and no reserve it seems like a lot of car for the money! The big Roadmaster is located in Denver, Colorado.


The seller tells us that the car has been in the same family for the past 30 years and has always been garaged and babied. Although the paint is flaking in spots, it still looks very presentable in the pictures; I certainly wouldn’t feel the need to hurry to change anything!


This is a wonderful front end; I can see moving over if I saw this in my rear view mirror! Buick was proud of it’s 8-cylinder engine as you can tell from the center of the front bumper. I also really like the streamlined headlight nacelles on either side of the grille and the twin spares. What a gorgeous car!


Here’s the view the driver has while motoring down the road. And this would be “motoring” in the finest sense! Considering the condition of the interior, I’m guessing this car was the subject of a refurbishment at some point, although it is showing only 55,394 miles. The seller explains that “the crown jewel of the Buick lineup was the Roadmaster that had the large body, long wheel base and the big engine,” and it’s easy to see why it was held in such high regard.


Rear seat passengers weren’t forgotten about either, as this couch-like seat would have you riding in elegance. I’m not sure I’d like having to lean so far forward to look out the side window though–perhaps the seat’s original occupants were more interested in conversing with each other than watching the world go by?


The Dynaflash inline 8 looks pretty original, but I’m pretty sure the valve cover verbiage would have been painted rather than a decal when new. It’s still very attractive, though, and I especially like how the plug wires and plugs are neatly covered up by a stamped cover. I’d be proud to have this car in my garage–how about you? What do you think the final price will be?



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  1. Dairymen

    That’s not a phaeton!
    A phaeton has no side windows, this is a convertible sedan.

    A roadster is a 2 door without side windows, and if it has roll up windows it’s a convertible coupe.

    Like 1
    • Lee Hartman

      From a strict definition, you’re right, but sales literature from the day called it a “convertible phaeton”. I used to own a ’36 Roadmaster convertible phaeton.

    • Dolphin Member

      The definition of phaeton is a carriage with no weather protection at all, and there have been none of those for over a hundred years. Carmakers call their cars whatever they want. A good example is the VW Phaeton, which is a large luxury 4-door with a steel top. No connection to any actual or imagined phaeton at all. It’s a pure marketing name.

      As for this car, I’d like to have it as a lower cost alternative to some of the more pricey phaetons from the ’30s. I wonder what’s up with it.

  2. HotRodLincoln

    Listing removed…hmmm

  3. St. Ramone de V8

    What a gorgeous car. Sometimes when I open a “Barn Finds” posting, I just don’t know the car, so don’t know what to expect. That’s usually the best part. This thing takes my breath away! Can I afford it? Nope. Would I buy it if I could? Yep. Just a beautiful car…

    Like 1
  4. Roselandpete

    It’s a honey.

  5. JoeW

    Listing removed? Fake ad?

  6. Rick

    i concur that its a truly beautiful car

  7. Dave Wright

    That is a wonderful car.

    • doc

      they originally had decals on the valve cover

  8. jim

    A friend of mine had a 38 Special convertible coupe several years ago and I drove it to a car show. That car was a handful to drive with no power steering, brakes, manual floor shift. I don’t know how a slight woman or person could ever enjoy driving such a tank.

  9. bingb

    Dad had a 1937 Buick convertible as a tired 11yr old former mining company exec’s car..It ran bad in winter and he traded it in ..Hours later his brother drove by the lot and bought it..The parents were not happy to see the beast in the drive way the next morning..

  10. George

    I look at Barn Finds everyday. This is the first day I have seen this listed and this 1938 Buick Roadmaster Phaeton it is already sold. I would have bought it. How come the ones I want are always gone when I first receive the the listing?

    Why not tell us the selling price and a bit more sale information after it has sold.The price it sold for should not be privileged information. Why add additional frustration when I would guess most lookers would be curious as to the sales price.

    Like 1
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Hi George, the good ones do go quick. We don’t always know the sale prices because most of the cars listed are ones that we or our readers found online.

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