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Buick Survivor: 1956 Buick Special

56 buick 4

Bright and shiny this ’56 Buick looks to be in fantastic original condition. It is a 4 door, so it has plenty of room for the family, the dog, luggage, and even an outdoor picnic lunch. If this Buick is as original as it appears we are certainly intrigued by the $10,000 price tag. Find this Buick here on craigslist out of Erie, Pennsylvania.

56 buick 2

Being in such fine condition it is difficult to tell if the car is original or is perhaps an older restoration. The paint has a certain haziness that leads us to believe it may be original paint, and the interior certainly offers some clues that this car is original as well. There are no engine bay photos, which is unfortunate, as they usually offer a great deal of information on the status and condition of a vehicle.

56 buick 3

The bright work looks brilliant and radiant on this Buick. The interior offers some evidence of this Buicks past with some minor discoloration on the passenger side carpet and there also appears to be some dirt, possible surface rust in the door jam. The paint and interior match and the door jams are also an excellent match. The window rubber looks old dry and crusty giving perhaps more evidence to this Buick being original.

56 Buick 1

Despite this Buick needing a little TLC, it appears to be in great original shape. This car is simply stunning with its paint and bright work, and it would certainly be a fantastic family hauler. Imagine towing a vintage aluminum camper behind this one! Would you jump on this classy Buick, and what would you do with it if you did?


  1. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    Nice write up, Brian! Cool car too! I’m thinking vintage looking teardrop camper in the same colors as the Buick…

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  2. dirtyharry

    Be concerned about any vehicle from PA, when you don’t see pictures of the underside and engine compartment. Without knowing that, it is hard to tell what this is worth. These are great cars, but a four door needing metal work, is never a good buy. Hopefully she didn’t see a lot of winter and would be a great buy in the 5-6k range.

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    Beautiful. I’m sure under hood pictures could be sent. I agree it would be fun to see them here. Would it have a Nail Head?

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  4. geomechs geomechs Member

    There was a family in my hometown that ran one very similar to this for years. The guy was a local mechanic and he fixed it and fixed it to keep it on the road. It went 160K miles before the motor simply gave up. The transmission had been giving trouble for some time before that. They finally drove it out to a farm/scrap yard east of town, parked it (beside a pristine ’59 Rambler American) and removed the plates. There it sat for many years while pieces slowly disappeared off it. It was finally crushed, along with 750 other cars in ’03. A sad ending because the body was arrow straight and there wasn’t a spec of rust on it…

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    • Jesper

      Its always a shame to crush a classic, when the body is good.
      Wery nice car.
      I love cars from 1940-1960

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    • Walt

      Seems a little odd to me that any ’56 Buick engine would give out
      after only 160,000 miles. or, am I missing something here ?
      As you have guessed, I love cast iron engines, with c.i. heads
      and good aluminum pistons. Pretty hard to beat that combo
      for longevity. Oh, c.i. water pumps also. I remember when
      we could rebuild those pumps. Malama Pono.

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  5. Roselandpete


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  6. RedRacer

    Boy–the lines of the 55-57 Buicks are fabulous; if I weren’t so tied up in projects, I would definitely take a closer look at this one.

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  7. Mr. Bond

    Got talking with a friend about motor life. Generally, 160k miles from engines in the 50’s and 60’s is pretty good! lots died before that. New cars seem to have a lot more life in them. We figured it was related to higher quality materials, better technology, cleaner fuels and of course, better oils. Be interesting to hear your thoughts on this!

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      Mr Bond,160k on engines in the 50’s and 60’s was miraculous actually. From my experience, most engines were well worn at 90k, and anything with 100k miles was looked on with admiration… unless you were buying the car with that many miles, which in that case they were looked at with disdain. .
      The exception to that was Chrysler’s 225 cu in slant 6. I saw a few with over 200k and one with 310k without an overhaul.The reasons you mentioned were largely responsible for the shorter life, compared to today’s engines. Oil with high ash content, and leaded fuels were really bad for the engines, and our environment.

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      • John

        My Dad’s 55 Super 4dr sedan must have been an exception. It had well over 200K miles on it when it was rear-ended. It’s Dynaflow transmission was another matter. It needed work every 60-80k. The rest of the car was built like a tank. It’s brakes were horrible.

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      • packrat

        Lead-free fuel is far worse for these engines (admittedly better for our environment) and anything with ethanol in it is poison for these. Googling ‘ethanol and antique engines’ will bring up hours of reading.

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      • Roselandpete

        Packrat, I often wondered how these old cars ran on today’s ethanol added unleaded gas but nobody ever seems to talk about it. The only gas we can get in the Chicago market is the ethanol added stuff unless you find a place with racing fuel which is what I do. When it’s time to fill up, I first put in 4-5 gallons of racing fuel and then fill up with Shell regular. It’s not as good as 100% pure gas but at least the ethanol gets diluted somewhat and my cars seem to run fine. That’s my solution. Anybody have any other ideas?

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      • Poppy

        Roseland Pete: I have two older cars that still have their original fuel pumps and haven’t seemed to been affected by the switch to E10 fuels. I do use fuel stabilizer in the last fill up in the fall and sometimes 1/2 doses during the summer when it might take a month or so to use up a tank. I’ve rebuilt both carbs within the past 10 years, so they probably have ethanol resistant rubber parts in them now. I’ve also read where some people swear by adding a quart of diesel fuel to a full tank of modern gas to somehow protect rubber parts from the effects of ethanol and reduce the tendency to vapor lock.

        I have WAY more issues with E10 in my small 2-stoke power equipment than in my vintage cars.

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      • Mark S

        I’d like to chime in on the fuel and oil issue’ of today. I don’t want to sound like a salesmen for Lucus but there products are excellent I use there fuel stabilizer on my 94 cumins diesel to add lubricant to the fuel. The removal of sulfer made the fuel dry and was bad for injector pumps and engines. As for oils it’s been my belief that light viscous oils are inadequate for protecting wear surfaces in any engines. We mostly do it for a somewhat false preception of fuel economy. All my engines right down to my lawn mower get Lucus engine oil stabilizer to improve the lubrcation barrier on wear surfaces. What convinced me is an old Saturn with a tired oil burning engine that used a litre of oil every thousand kilometres to no oil consumption between oil changes. I drove it 5 additional years with Lucas in it. It all boils down to lube the cylinders in the fuel, lube the rest from the oil pan. One last note on the oil stabilizer after adding it to the oil on my diesel I noticed a distinct increase in turbo speed and engine performance.

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  8. Prowler

    Big 50’s cars rock..so much detail and style

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  9. Walt

    One of the biggest mistakes was mandating ethanol mixes into law. The corn
    farmers loved it and still do, but crap for car engines and worse for boat
    engines with plastic tanks. One good thing about the vintage cars are the
    steel tanks. Less trouble with eth I think. Long live steel tanks and carburetors !
    Malama Pono !

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    • Roselandpete

      The corn lobby has the politicians in its back pocket.

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      • rockribbedrushy

        And the only one with cojones to stand up to them was Ted Cruz and look at all the crap he took for it.

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  10. rockribbedrushy

    What a great car. My father bought one in Maine after we lived there a year or so. This was in 1957.
    I have pictures of it somewhere. It was maroon and we drove it all over Maine.
    What a great car. My father loved Buicks.

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  11. Poppy

    Hey, any of you guys getting bogus “Firefox patch” popups? I’ve gotten them on two different computers where I access this site. They have a different URL each time I hover my mouse over the download button. Seems to be related to BF, but I’m not sure.

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    • rockribbedrushy

      Don’t click on them, they are phishing for victims to either install malware, spyware or adware. Maybe they’ll hijack your PC for ransom.
      In any event, if there is an update required the site will send you an email.
      Never update from popups.
      They target websites with lots of traffic, more of a chance that someone will fall for it.

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  12. Poppy

    Oh, I knew not to click on them, just wondering if others are seeing them as I suspect they are originating from ads on this site. I’ve installed an ad blocker to my browser, which I probably should have done before now. Virus scans of both machines show nothing unusual.

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  13. Skip

    Very nice! My parents had three Buicks when I was a kid: a ’54 Buick convertible, a ’55 Buick Special and a ’61 Buick Special. The ’61 was the little downsized version; and at 16, I really loved that little car. It had replaced a ’57 Chrysler New Yorker. But my mom didn’t like the small size, so in ’63 it was back to another Chrysler (siiiigh).

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  14. Marty Member

    Fans of this car might also appreciate (or hate) the latest episode of “Roadkill”.

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