Fabulous Four-Door: 1956 Buick Century Riviera

Looking like something out of a box of Good & Plenty is this wonderful 1956 Buick Century, finished off in an oh-so two-tone ’50s finish of Tahiti Coral and Dover White. This big four-door hardtop is located in Bellingham, Washington and is available, here on Barn Finds Classifieds for $18,000.

The big news here is that this Buick is a Riviera Century Model 63, which means a four-door hardtop, like a sedan but shorn of its B-pillar and door window frames. Introduced in mid-model year ’55, it makes for a very airy look and feel, and provides tremendous side-view visibility. This body style caught on with all of GM’s divisions and even moved down to intermediate B-body models in the mid-’60s. Other manufactures adopted it too and it was a perennial hit until the meanies at NHTSA nixed the design on account of rollover standards. The style was popular! About 56K Century Rivieras and Deluxe Rivieras were assembled in ’56.

The two-tone finish on this Century is exceptional for a car that is now old enough to officially retire! There is some minor wear/deterioration noted but it’s minor. The seller states that the car was restored in the mid-’90s but potential acquirers may want to check with the seller to find out what that entailed as it didn’t involve a repaint. The trim and chrome plating appears as sound as the finish, some wear but nothing exceptional. The green-house with its distinctive C-pillar harkens back to GM’s top-drawer position in automotive styling. The only noted demerit is a dent in the passenger side of the front bumper.

Power comes about courtesy of a 255 gross HP, 322 CI “nailhead” V8 engine operating through a Dynaflow automatic transmission. The engine has a mileage recording of 67K miles and the seller suggests, “I would drive her from Seattle to Key West this week” so there is obvious confidence in this Buick’s motoring capabilities. The seller also mentions that a second set of exhaust manifolds is included in the sale to facilitate a conversion to a dual exhaust system though I’m not sure why other manifolds would be necessary for such an enhancement.

Inside, is a black, white, and gray upholstery combination that perfectly enhances the coral and white exterior – it strongly continues the ’50s vibe. The upholstery is in fine nick, as is the carpet though the door panels appear to show the onset of some wrinkling. Features include power windows, locks, and front-seat though the seat needs a new motor. The radio lights up but doesn’t broadcast but the clock still works – that’s a surprise as they are usually one of the first accessories to quit.

This Buick Century is a fine example of a premium grade automobile from that so long ago year of 1956 – it is a perfect reflection of the time. You can learn more here at Home Town Buick. As Buick’s ’56 tagline went, “When better cars are built, Buick will build them!” I’d agree with that sentiment, how about you?


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  1. Terrry

    In that model year, the big hardtops were called Rivieras. This car is in my neck of the woods, but its price isn’t (too bad for me).

    Like 4
  2. normadesmond

    “The upholstery is in fine nick . . .”

    That’s a new one for me, never heard nick used that way.

    • Oldog4tz Oldog4tz Member

      The King’s English

      Like 7
    • luke arnott Member

      “nick” means condition here in England.

      Like 8
    • chuck dickinson

      An expression meaning “condition”.

      Like 1
  3. Mark

    The “before and after” picture with the Nissan Leaf in the background says it all..

    Like 3
  4. Will Fox

    One correction: This Buick would not have power door locks–at least not from the factory. GM developed power locks in `58, primarily on Cadillacs, but all divisions eventually offered them.

    Like 2
    • Dave Brown

      I believe that Packard offered power door locks in 1956.

  5. Fred W

    Four door hardtops have it all for the classic car buyer – great styling, low market values. Most of the people who complain about “two doors too many” drive a four door every day. This old girl probably could go cross country, but if I’m sitting at an Autozone in Tucumcari AZ with a bad alternator, I’d rather have an SBC than a nailhead.

    Like 3
    • chuck dickinson

      Tucumcari is in NM, not AZ.

      Like 3
      • Pcbaby

        That’s foc hilarious

  6. Car Nut Tacoma

    Beautiful looking car! 1956 has always been my favourite year for Buick. I hope whoever buys this beauty enjoys it.

    Like 4
  7. Rick Rothermel

    Wonder if that Leaf would fit in the trunk or maybe on the package shelf of that tasty Buick? Beautiful car, decent price, if I had room I’d be all over it! Wonder what the original price was… $5500/6000?

    Like 1
    • John Q Public

      My Dad bought a new 1976 Cutlass Supreme for around 6500.00 fully loaded so I can’t believe a couple decades earlier this would have cost close to that. Make a good Google search to find out though.

    • chuck dickinson

      Not that much. Base price was just at $3000 for a Century 4 dr ht. Unless ordered w/fact AC, you’d be hard pressed to spend a grand on options in 1956 even if you added EVERYTHING!

  8. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    Back about 5 1/2 decades ago I owned a Olds Holiday 98 4 door hardtop in two tone Black/White. Beautiful car, it was a 55 model though and I much prefer the tailight design on the Buick better. Mine had the wonder bar radio with foot control for channel changes. The Coral color was very popular back then. I once had a 58 Olds Fieste 4 door hardtop in Coral(pink) over white great $50.00 car.
    Ahh! How times have changed.
    God bless America

    Like 6
  9. madlad

    My mom’s car was the greatest. 4 door hardtop STATION WAGEN bronze over white with every option, even power tailgate window!
    And I thought there was power door locks. This car was owned by a dealers wife, she didn’t like, “TOO Big”.

    Like 4
  10. Greg

    Isn’t it a Buick Super, not Century?

  11. Robb Roberge

    Nope, the 3/4 view shows a ‘Century’ plaque on the right rear door.

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