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Eighty Years Waiting: 1929 Buick Sedan

right front

Can you imagine having this big Buick stashed in your barn since your great or even your great grand father’s time? According to the owner, it’s been sitting since the 1930s. He’s in Lewiston, Idaho and has listed it here on craigslist . He’s asking $7000 but I think he’s going to be very disappointed. Similar running and driving old Buicks sell for about $5,000. Perhaps this is more like a $1,500 parts car? The interior is supposed to only need “minor repairs” but there are no pictures of the inside or the engine. The top inset is completely rotted away. How could the interior be intact? The outside of the car appears mostly complete and original (except for the front bumper).


It does look like this has set in a barn for 80 years. There’s no doubt it’s been in this barn for a while though.

right rear

The big question on this car is the wood decay, not rust. For example, the Buick I wrote up last April has had all the mechanical work done and needs repairs on the wood body frame. Even that car is just not worth completing. You can buy a nice older restoration, for example, for around $15,000. Do you think this old Buick could even be restored for less than what’s it’s worth? After sitting for so long is there any chance the wood frame has survived undamaged. What do you think you’d find if you did see it “in person”. Is it just a parts car? I look forward to seeing any ideas you guys have on what to do with this car.


  1. Paul R

    Just getting it running would cost more than its worth.
    Not much of a demand for older cars like this. It’s just too old to make a dependable weekend cruiser out of in stock form.
    And that’s the market today. People want drivers not garage Queens.

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  2. grant

    It probably isn’t “worth” restoring, which is sad. It’s an 80 year old piece of living history. Hopefully someone takes it on as a labor of love. Neat old car.

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  3. Mark S

    Sometime a resto project like this is not about the end value, it’s about the build. In the right hands a skilled tradesmen could do this old car justice. As for starting it you might be surprised how little it will probably need. The problem this car has is there to few guys with the skills that are willing to take it on. And to few guys that want to get there hands dirty.

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  4. Van

    More reason to get teenagers into the hobby.
    This would be a perfect way to start.
    If I could have learned on this I would probably be a world class restorer today.

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  5. TBall

    Thank you for sharing David. While I agree with Mark S that it’s much more than about the end value, I also agree with Tom Hanks. Much like “There’s not crying in baseball”, one could say, “There’s no sentiment in classic car pricing”. Sometimes attachment drives price more than market – sadly those are normally the wonderful automobiles that fail to get a proper restoration, second chance a life on the road. Beautiful piece of Americana.

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  6. Rustowner

    Would be worthwhile to try to get it running and see how the rest of the mechanicals shape up. I agree its not worth restoring for the money its worth, but making it functional might be. Would be cool as an around town driver……that would make sense. If you could do the work yourself it could be reasonable money to get rolling again. If your paying someone else, not so much. I always thought these were pretty looking cars.

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  7. Van

    Clean it and get it running drive it
    The end
    And I’d say $3,000

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  8. Wayne Thomas

    Hey, about the same age as the typical Buick customer!

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    • Woodie Man

      So true! My Dad’s last car was an ’86 Buick…………even today no matter what Buick does it remains a brand associated with the elderly. So why exactly did GM get rid of Pontiac and keep Buick?

      Finally a REAL Barn Find!

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      • David R.

        I heard that Buick is big in China, almost like how Pontiac nearly replaced Chevy in Canada after WWII. I might be wrong though…

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  9. Dairymen

    I wouldn’t dare to drive it over 5 mph with the wooden wheels. After 80 yrs the engine is definitely stuck. No if this would of been a phaeton it would be worth restoring but not this body style.

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  10. Lee

    Hey –You could make an ugly fire truck looking speedster out of it –One guy did /Lee

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  11. Fred

    Parts only these days. 30 years ago an old timer would have loved to get ahold of this and restore it. I’ll bet the wood is shot.

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  12. Dairymen

    Don’t worry about the tinworm, but be aware of the termite.

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  13. The Walrus

    He shoulda sold it when it only had 50 years in the barn. Would have brought what he’s asking in dollars that had much more value than today…

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  14. Nessy

    Gee, I really like these boxy looking sedans from the teens and 20’s. Everyone around here is acting like it’s worthless garbage. Any car that survived over 85 years has to be worth something. I do not see any heavy rust out on the body nor do I see any heavy sagging around the doors or roof which would show wood issues. Hey, I would take this car with a big smile. There are still younger generations like myself, (I was born in the 1970’s so I am only 40ish,) who do like this era car, either for a street rod or stock. I prefer stock of course. In fact, Pre War 2 cars are what I lust after most! I have a Packard 12 and a V16 Cadillac, both from the 1930s that I drive with my old derby on and the Big Band music playing. They take me back to another time. Either way, someone will save this car for sure. You are not going to buy a car like this for a few hundred dollars. Those days are over.

    Like 1
    • Mark S

      I gree that this car is worth something, if it was mine I would start by pulling the body off and strip it down to the wood frame. I would note at this point that not all of the wood will have rot in it, I would then replace only the wood that needed it, followed by wood preserver. The metal skin could then be repaired and treated before returning it to the frame. This car would be a fabulous example of prewar automotives it just needs a young guy willing to take it on and learn as he goes. One thing that seems to be lacking in today’s world is a pride in what can be accomplished working with our hands.

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    • M&B

      Thank you! Perhaps it is OUR generation that appreciates how special she is! And make no mistake she IS special! I bought her for my husband but time constraints led us to consider selling – We were not eager to let her go and have since reconsidered. Pictures and photograph evaluations mean little. The barn she sat in was sound and there is NO rot in any of the wood nor are there termites. The running boards are old and cracked but not rotted. The rest of the vehicle is completely in tact except for the missing cloth on the fully sound rag top frame. It came with replacement bulbs from the era, replacement light covers, all the blinds which still work, every piece of hardware down to the hood latches, the factory oil can, the crank, horn, all wiring, all controls, etc. The luggage box is sound without rot, there is only very light surface rust in places, the brakes work, the engine is fully in tact but has a blown head gasket which is being addressed at present. We have been able to research the owner as he left a penciled in name and dates on the window frame and we love her! It is easy to make assumptions but I guess she falls in the “there is no such thing as bad publicity” category. She is beautiful and restoration is going to be easy given her excellent preservation when she was stored. We love her and she will be beautiful when we are done – Some things are more about their connection to history and not so much about a bottom line price. Negativity matters not as it only speaks of ego and not so much about what is truly of value to another!

      Like 1
      • Mike

        Would love to talk to you. I also saw this car on Craigslist last year as I live nearby in Central Oregon. Amazing survivor. I also have a ’29 Buick barn find very similar to this one that I just recently got running again.

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  15. erikj

    If it where cheap enough I would love to take it home and play with it. See if it would run without to much. If so make it safe and drive it as I make it better.As far as any woodwork ,fix it or build a box type frame for it.

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  16. squealey healey

    My best friend and I owned an almost identical car. It was a Canadian built 1929 McLoughlan Buick. I think we paid $50 for it in 1957. The condition was amazing. It’s straight six ran really well. The seats still had all the mohair on them. Not even the slightest wear, even on the drivers seat. The blue and black paint was still pretty good without any dents or scratches but the shine was gone.

    Our car did not have the wooden wheels we see on this car, but 19 inch wire spoke wheels with one sidemount and two rear mounted spares.

    We used the car for a bit of camping and lots of double dating, for which it was ideal, with blinds on the rear and side windows. My friend and I took turns using the back seat and driving on alternate weekends. ‘Nuff said about that.

    We lost the car due some real stupidity on the part of my friend’s father. My friend and I were on a hiking trip to a remote British Columbia valley. The Buick was in my friend’s father’s name for insurance purposes. The father needed to use the Buick while his car was being repaired. He should have known better but he was driving the car with the hand throttle. He stopped, didn’t close the throttle, so with the clutch disengaged the engine revs went off the clock and burst a couple of water hoses. Daddy managed to get the car back home, from where he called the local Pontiac Buick dealer looking for hoses to replace the burst ones. The parts man told him that there were no parts available for a car that old. Hmmm?

    So, what did he do? Yeah, he traded our precious Buick for an ugly, gold and toad green,1950 Hillman Minx, and thought he was doing us a favour! We thought he was an idiot.

    For about 25 years we went to see the Vintage Car club’s Easter parade There would be our Buick, unrestored, motoring serenely along, the driver and passengers impeccably dressed in period costumes.

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    • Lion

      Great story Squealey. My friend’s brother brought one of these home before he was old enough to drive, also a 1929 I think, back around 1961. It wasn’t running but was in great shape including the interior. He started to work on it in the back yard cause there was no driveway and really hard to get it in and out of there. Then his dad sold the house. We talked about getting the kid’s car out of there but the little old house was torn down or moved and someone said they pushed the Buick into the basement and buried it under what became a lot for semi tricks.

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  17. Ross W. Lovell

    Greetings All,

    Definitely not worth $7K but not as bad as most are saying.

    Being in the middle of a restoration of a wood substructure for a body on a 30’s era SWB open tourer, I’m familiar with a lot of what’s entailed.

    First, it was in a barn, some cover granted but wonder more about the floor and the humidity along with the roof. Sheet metal looks better than average leading me to think the barn kept the car better than outside storage.

    Two, body style helps. While open cars like convertibles suffer more wood damage this car has the old fabric roof panel, which no doubt has the ability to let in moisture once it was no longer viable but, it was inside.

    The wood is most likely intact, likely to be a couple of areas rotted, but unless it was constantly wet, not likely much to repair other than hinge attachment points and door bottoms. Traditional woods used were maple and oak were the woods of choice.

    Being an American make also means wood isn’t a rarity like it is in the UK, so it didn’t need to be imported nor were will sub structures look “spindly stick” built by the manufacturer attempting to save money like the vehicle I’m currently working on in the shop.

    The engines from this years are sooooooooo forgiving compared to what we have now. Have seen a couple of vintage era cars running with new era carbs, minor improvement mostly due to fears of the die cast perforating.

    Wood wheels, easy to check for rot and still a fair number of people who make the parts needed to replace/repair them to as new condition. Trust wood more than I do wires. Was a passenger in a friends Stanley Steamer, we did 100mph! Though, at the time I was not aware the car had wood wheels, wasn’t happy but the wheels and tires were not an issue, brakes……..never mind.

    GM kept Buick as the inroads they have made in China and Japan, due to their quality improving is something tha GM would no doubt like to replicate on Chevrolet models domestically.

    Read the numbers……… The cars share the same platforms, but have much different results on their respective quality surveys and recall bulletins. Buick read the writing on the wall after Oldsmobile’s demise and Buick didn’t want to join the junk pile with Olds and Pontiac.

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  18. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

    I have a 1930’s Packard sedan that was parked inside an old but dry garage in 1960. Body is still as solid as when new, doors shut perfectly, and it was kept in the humid area of Maryland’s eastern shore.

    In general, keep the car out of the rain, & a wooden body frame will not need repairs.

    I’ve seen restored cars, that because the owners washed their cars on a regular basis, had the interior door wood rot to the point the doors no longer fit well.

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  19. Jim Marshall

    Most of if not all people this car would appeal to are gone. It’s not like it’s a Dusey or a Packard or Cadillac roadster it’s just an old Sedan that would cost much more than it would ever be worth to restore or even make a driver.

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    • Mark S

      This is something that us working stiffs can afford not all of us are in the league of people who can afford a dusey or Packard or Cadillac roadster or for that matter bags of money to have someone else to do the work. As I said before sometimes it’s not about the end value but rather it’s about the build and ultimately the joy of driving such an old car.

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  20. Lion

    If I was a billionaire I would have a car museum and there would be lots of units like this Buick on display, just like this in a room that looks like the inside of a barn. Some of these survivors are way more interesting to look at than (over)restored beauties.

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  21. John S

    This car is actually an unusual example of a 1929 model 27 Buick. The rear bumper only has 2 horizontal bars rather than the usual 3 – both versions are known to exist but the 3-bar version is much more common. Also, very few model 27’s have a rear trunk. That is where the spare tire should be. I have only seen a picture of one other with a trunk, and the spare was mounted behind the trunk. This car is much like mine – same color, same 2-bar bumper, same radiator cap (there were 2-3 versions of this also). The one I drive is in better shape, though.

    Like 1
  22. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    In 1974 my brother and I were in Hermiston, Oregon. While there we visited a antique place. They had a car like this in great condition for $1k. We really considered buying it for driving around to our various business adventures, but sadly we passed on it. I wonder if this could be the same car.

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