40k Mile 1963 Buick Special Sedan Fireball V6

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As I was checking out this 1963 Buick Special, one of the first things that came to mind was how few of these I’ve actually seen over the years.  The Special was often branded as one of the more entry-level offerings from Buick, with a significant redesign appearing on the 1961 model.  One of the unique features of the 1963 cars is they had a one-year-only body design, making them stand out and easy to identify.  This 1963 Buick Special here on Craigslist is said to be original and unrestored, so if you’ve been in the market for a smaller early sixties GM 4-Door sedan this one might be worth a look.  The car is located in the Liberty Center area of Ohio, about a half-hour southwest of Toldeo, and comes with an asking price of $9,000.  Pat L. thanks for the tip here!

We don’t find out much in the way of where all this Buick has been over the last 60 years or how many different folks have owned it, but the seller does describe the car as being in excellent condition, although no word on whether or not the exterior is actually still wearing its factory finish.  He praises the body, mentioning that it’s only got a few areas showing light surface rust and some scuffs, but no dents.  I’m quite impressed with the outward appearance and think it’s cool that Buick included the ventiports even on their lower-level model.

Some changes under the hood took place the previous year as in 1962 the Special became the first U.S. car to come with a V6 engine produced in large volumes, offering a displacement of 198 cubic inches, and called the Fireball.  The odometer here is only showing 40,500 miles, which the seller claims is accurate, and the car still gets driven often.  Most of the fluids have recently been changed and a tune-up was performed last year, with the seller’s confidence at the level of thinking it is capable of making a cross-country trip.

Things inside are looking about as good as outside, with most items still the original components but a set of new custom-made seat covers have recently been installed, which seem to match the rest of the interior nicely.  Another idea if your interest has been piqued is the possibility of a trade, as the owner is looking for a motor home or plow vehicle, so if you happen to have either perhaps you all can work out a swap.  $9k seems like a fairly reasonable price for what you’re getting here, or at least I’m thinking so, what do you think?

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  1. alphasudMember

    I can’t remember the last time I have seen a Buick with the fireball V6. Especially as nice as this one is. As cool as this car is though it’s the engine that should be in the spotlight here. Why? Because the Fireball V6 came out of the 215ci. aluminum V8. You might recall the tooling for the 215 was sold to the UK in 65 to become the engine of choice for the British till the mid 2000’s.
    Buick decided to abandon the aluminum for more conventional cast iron. So that design was bored and stroked to become the new Buick 310 300ci cast iron engine and 2 cylinders were removed to make the Fireball odd fire V6. Then in the late 60’s Buick sold all the tooling for the V6 to Kaiser which renamed it the Dauntless V6.
    In 1974 Buick again was in need of a V6 during the fuel crisis so as the story goes a Dauntless was found in a junkyard rebuilt and placed into an Apollo for testing. When they realized this was the solution to their problem they went back to Jeep found the tooling was all still intact and bought it back and reinstalled in the original factory and in the original spot. That engine lived on to 76 where it was revised to become an even fire V6 which eventually saw turbocharging.
    I just think that stuff is fascinating how one good sound design remains relevant for over 45 years. The Chevy small block certainly wins the title for the longest running V8 design but I think the Fireball/Dauntless ranks up there.

    Like 33
    • JustPassinThru

      Yup. A long and winding road that engine traveled…from an adaptation of the aluminum V8 line, to Kaiser, to AMC and mothballs…to GM desperate to get the engine back, eight years after they sold it like scrap. And then as a GM-corporate engine, the 2800, it lived longer than any but the SBC engine design.

      GM is an organization of magnitudes. When they succeed, they win big. But when they blunder…it’s the stuff of legends.

      Imagine how better off AMC might have been, had they simply kept the V6 in production and put it in the Pacer. The Kaiser engine line was kept going through 1971, but AMC’s pathetic product-planning people damned the Buick engine as being “rough as a cob.” My own take was that it was the Not-Invented-Here Syndrome.

      GM first asked AMC to just start the line up and sell GM the engines – thinking that the smaller-engine pressure was a fad that would soon pass. But again, AMC, short-sighted, wanted to squeeze GM, and gave a price that their people wouldn’t pay.

      That was when talk moved to buying the line back. Short-sighted…

      Like 6
      • Allen L

        The 2800 V6, introduced in 1980 was not from the Fireball family line. It was a fresh design.
        Perhaps you meant the 3800?
        That said, what a neat car!

        Like 5
      • JustPassinThru


        I’m an amateur historian, not a mechanic or engineer.

        Mea culpa. I goofed.

        Like 5
      • Bob C.

        AMC decided to use their own long straight sixes instead of the v6. Hence, the longer hoods and different nose on the Jeep Commanders.

        Like 3
      • JustPassinThru

        A lot of money spent to stretch two frames (CJ-5 and C-103/CJ-6) and change stamping dies (hoods, fenders, new front clip for the former Jeepster). And the results were less than spectacular. Unless you count the nose-over CJ-5 wrecks, and the spectacular collapse of Commando sales.

        And then, the problem of the Pacer, designed for a Wankel that never came to be. And they HAD no Plan B for the powerplant.

        The AMC six was not intended as a small-car engine, not in the way that the Datsun six, say, was. It was a biggie, weighing about 600 pounds. A good truck engine, but not when the truck has an 83-inch wheelbase and the six is 2/3 over the front-axle centerline.

        They should have kept the Buick six. If they needed money that badly, they could have sold the rights (which Kaiser had bought) back, so that GM could reverse-engineer its own former engine; but AMC truly needed that compact, lightweight engine.

        Like 2
  2. Will Fox

    No, I can’t balk at the price either. The `63s for whatever reason seem to be the ‘forgotten’ models, as the `64 was larger, better-looking midsize. But you get at least a little economy with the V6, and it is as neat as a pin!! Can’t believe it’s condition and low miles. No idea when I last saw one of these in ANY trim level, let alone the Special. As simple as this car is, it would definitely draw a crowd at any show, simply because it’s so original. Very nice.

    Like 6
  3. Tony Primo

    Drop a balanced and blueprinted 425 Nailhead in this and have some fun at the stoplights!

    Like 3
  4. David Nelson

    Too bad it is not the Alum 215 v8 and the more deluxe model with chrome around the windows.

    Like 4
  5. AnthonyD

    I kinda forgot about this model Buick. This one looks original. I like the car…but I think a little history about the car and the mileage would help justify the price, which seems high for a grandma car that doesn’t have much appeal to it.

    Like 1
  6. ClassicP

    In 75-78’ high school days we used to play hooky if nobody had a test that day and we drove around in a 65’ Buick same color combination as this. Gas was .48 a gallon we’d pitch in a bunch of change and drive out of town for lunch, stop by the airport and watch the planes land/takeoff. Lotsa fun when you bought by the finger lol

    Like 7
  7. Rick

    That Fireball V6 was an odd-fire V6, which meant it shook a bit like a paint shaker at idle but was fairly smooth at higher RPMs.

    Like 3
  8. Bruce

    check out a 1964 Buck LaSabre and you will see the similarity to this Special. One of my first cars when I started driving was a 1962 Buick Special 4 door. The car was shorter, and had different doors and rear panels. The 1963 Special looks so much more similar to the 1964 Buick LaSabre my parents had. Hubcaps look wrong also. Such a reminder of bygone times

    Like 1
  9. JoeNYWF64

    Tailights here are very similar to 1966 chevy malibu taillights, but not exactly the same.
    Gotta be a light left on when the car is off, or a short. Best to check in a dark garage at night.

    Like 0

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