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Black And Chrome! Original 1949 Buick Roadmaster


I think the Buick stylists for the Roadmaster’s new 1949 look tried to put as much chrome on the front of the car as possible! Maybe someone had stock in a plating company? Even the ventiports (those characteristic Buick portholes down the sides of the front fenders) were new for this year, and of course, they were chromed as well! This mass of original black paint and shiny chrome is available here on eBay where the buy it now is $25,000, but more reasonable offers are welcomed.


As you can see from the script on the rear fender, this Buick is equipped with the Dynaflow transmission, one of the earliest “automatics” that is essentially a two speed manual running through a torque converter (ok, that’s an overly simplistic explanation, yes there is a planetary gear set, two turbines and two stators, but I prefer manuals anyway!) that actually starts in top gear (you can downshift for acceleration) and was extremely smooth as a result. Whoops, back on the subject of this car! I can see what might be some questionable spots in the rear fender, but I suppose it could be a reflection as well; that original (!) black paint sure is shiny!


I still have a hard time accepting that this paint is 67 years old. But it sure looks nice, regardless! There have only been three owners, and there are some really cool handwritten maintenance records that come with the car. Those wide whitewalls are brand new, and behind them are new brakes. Do you think the 79,493 miles are genuine?


Inside, you see the elegance and class that you’d expect. Somehow, that fedora on the front seat really fits, doesn’t it? And it looks like the interior designer had chrome plating company stock as well!


Powering all that black and chrome is an inline eight, which made all of 150 horsepower (but smoooooth horsepower!) out of 320 cubic inches. I’m guessing that valve cover paint isn’t original, but a lot of what’s under there looks like it is. So tell me, would you drive this car like it should be driven? I sure hope no one “restores” this car!



  1. Roselandpete

    It must have been a fast car with all those speed holes. :)

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  2. Dave Wright

    I pulled a yellow 49 Roadmaster convertible out of an orchard brush pile in about 1981. A polligamist friend of mine told me they had pushed it over the berm into the pile maby 10 years earlier. It was a large Utah family orchard and was under 10 feet of fruit orchard trimmings…….but we found it, there wasn’t a spot of rust on the old girl and she was really straight. The upolstery and wiring were gone to the rodents but the car was great. They even found the title. I sold it to a restorer in California…..lost track of it after that. What a great car.

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  3. Rob

    Saw the picture and my brain flashed to the Stephen King book, “From a Buick 8”.

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    • Rando

      I have that book. Read it a couple times. Wasn’t it supposed to be a 53? But I remember that book every time I see these old Buick grilles, too.

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  4. Bob Semrad

    Is it just me, or do the prices in the notebook look awefully high? $25 for a socket set? Seat covers for $45? In 1940 you could get one of these for $1359. How could the price triple in only 9 years? Is anyone here aware how much money men made back then? In the mid sixties someone earning $10,000 per year was on easy street. Something doesn’t smell right about these prices….or am I off base? Here’s the link I found for the 1940 Buick pricing….http://www.thepeoplehistory.com/40scars.html

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  5. Peregrine Lance

    Our Oak Ridge neighbor, Jim Wilde, was not yet the father of a movie star (which he would become!) when, in the high ’40s, he brought home his first postwar car. Jim was a double for the newsman Lowell Thomas, and beamed with pride as he gave us local kids the inaugural ride. My strongest memories are of (1) that Buick tranny whine; (2) the radio aerial, which was at rest (and half-length) at windshield midpoint; and (3) the finger grooves on the steering wheel–deep and impressive!

    The only other Buick I ever encountered which challenged Jim’s for rich memories was my English teacher’s sporty ragtop 1953 Buick Wildcat. “Wouldn’t you really rather have a Buick?” ….. Yes!

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  6. Jeff

    Re: The Chrome. You do know of course that the headlight rims are non stock items, the spotlights are accessories, the driving lamps are accessories and the bumper guards are also accessories. Delete those items and it will appear to be a simply way overladen Bermuda taxi

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  7. alabee

    Really try to source some original headlight rings.
    Loved that Dynaflow ‘whine’.

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