340-4 V8 Project: 1962 Buick Special

The Buick Special nameplate dates to 1936, but for the early 1960s, it would be employed in the company’s first foray into the compact car market. The new car would get some recognition for using its use of an aluminum small-block V8, but that motor has been replaced by a later, larger displacement engine in the seller’s car. This Buick looks like the “Plain-Jane” Special as opposed to the more upscale Skylark model and was found stored outdoors. The body looks decent, but its mechanical condition is unknown. Located in Oakley, California, this automobile is available here on eBay where the bidding has only reached $565.55.

In 1961, the newly downsized Buick Special was rolled out using GM’s new unibody Y-platform shared with other company divisions. Besides the new V8, the Special came with a Dual-Path Turbine Drive automatic transmission (a Buick exclusive) and power steering. Motor Trend would bestow Car of the Year honors on the Special in 1962. The cars would be well-received, and Buick built 19,135 2-door coupes like the one presented here.

Unfortunately, we don’t know the history of this Special. It’s a project that has likely been dormant for a while. The body looks as though it has survived mostly intact, but someone removed one of the inner wheel wells, but it survives to be welded back in. The front bumper was removed but the seller has one to send along with the car. The glass all looks complete and undamaged. We don’t see much of the interior other than the dashboard which may have been repainted. There is some stuff stored inside the Buick which we assume is associated with it, and we’re told the front seats are low-back buckets lifted from a van.

The interesting and novel 215 V8 is long gone and a more conventional 340 V8 is put there in its place. Those motors didn’t arrive until 1966 and a 4-barrel carburetor like this one would be good for 300 hp. But the photos provided show it as complete in one and partially dismantled in another, so what must be done to get this car going again is an unknown. Hagerty believes that one of these Specials can go for north of $20,000, but that’s with the unique aluminum motor. The swap may or may not help with the value of this car once restored.


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  1. Oldog4tz Oldog4tz Member

    Wonder what they did about the driveshaft? Parts for original basically unobtainium

    • Blyndgesser

      This is a conventional driveline, unlike the “rope shaft” Tempest.

      Like 2
      • Oldog4tz Oldog4tz Member

        I wasn’t referring to the rope shaft, unless I’m disremembering, these have a unique connector.

        Like 1
    • BOP_GUY Member

      The hardest part as far as parts for the original equipment are the nightmare Dual Path transmission. I have a 62 Skylark and that transmission is an endless money pit to get right !

      Like 1
      • Greg Hoover

        The 340 has a standard BOP bolt pattern, not the odd one found on the 215 aluminum engine. I am guessing that the Dual Path transmission was replaced with a Super Turbine 300 that often came with the 340. FWIW, my choice would be the 200-4r overdrive.

        Like 1
  2. Vance

    If the original motor is gone, getting a fabrication done at 4×4 shop is no big deal . The price is right, this a unique vehicle for a DIY.

    Like 1
  3. Ron

    The folks on the YouTube channel Build, Tune, Race have one like this with a twin turbo LS which is a real screamer…

    Like 2
    • DayDreamBeliever Member

      That car… ROCKS!
      Great fun to watch it blast, especially roll racing. Seriously fast.

  4. James Martin

    4 lug too. Had a 63 buick that they converted to 5 lug, from what I was told they used vega spindles and drums.

  5. Gary Rhodes

    Love to have it, to bad it’s 2500 miles away!

    Like 1
  6. PetertheGreat

    My first car was a ’62 Buick Special with the aluminum block V8. My second was a ’70 big block Challenger off the lot. Lol. Kept the Buick for a couple of years as a back up when the Dodge was in the dealer shop overnight. No Jiffy Lubes back then. That little V8 had alot of pep off the line. One night, the Challenger was in the shop for warranty work and I was driving the Buick with a buddy. A couple of jokers pulled up alongside in a 396 SS 4-speed Chevelle and proceeded to mock us. While I wished I had my Challenger… I told my buddy “Watch this!”. I threw the tranny in neutral and started revving the small block to much laughter from the two jokers. Then, put it back in Drive. The light turned green and I took off with a holeshot. The Chevelle driver burned out to catch up and, from a good 100 feet ahead, we watched the bottom end of his engine scatter all over the boulevard and his SS crawl to a dead stop. Never underestimate your opponent!!!

    Like 9
  7. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    A tinkerers vehicle for sure. What fun an enterprising young person could have for small money.
    God bless America

    Like 3
    • DayDreamBeliever Member

      Went to a new owner for the princely sum of $630!

      Like 1

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