First Year Nailhead: 1953 Buick Super Convertible

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With the days getting warmer and the sun remaining in the sky for longer, the thought of spending leisure time on the road behind the wheel of a classic car is tempting. It becomes almost irresistible if the vehicle in question is a Convertible because it provides the opportunity to bask in everything that Mother Nature has to offer. That’s where cars like this 1953 Buick Super Convertible fit into the picture. It is a relatively rare drop-top with only minor needs. Addressing them should be straightforward, maximizing the fun factor for its new owner. The Buick is listed here on eBay in Demotte, Indiana. Bidding has raced to $12,100, which is below the reserve.

Buick joined most American vehicle manufacturers by introducing its first new post-war models in 1949. The Super was one of those vehicles, with this generation remaining in production until 1953. This Convertible rolled off the line during the final production year, and presents quite nicely. The seller indicates it underwent a repaint during the 1980s in its current two-tone combination, with the Trim Tag confirming the first owner ordered it in Majestic White. The paint retains a respectable shine, with a close inspection revealing a few imperfections. Performing isolated touch-ups would not be difficult, although some enthusiasts may view this as the ideal moment to return the car to its original form. The panels are straight, and the photos confirm that the only rust of any note is small patchable areas in the trunk. The floors and frame are rock-solid, and the exterior is clean. The power top fits tightly, and while it lowers properly, it needs a helping hand to raise. The bumpers will benefit from a trip to the platers, but the remaining trim, spinner hubcaps, and glass are in good order.

This Buick would have made a bold visual statement when it was new, with the White exterior contrasted by an interior trimmed in Red and White leather. The seat bases were retrimmed at some point in cloth, and the door trims exhibit deterioration. However, the door trim upholstery may stretch into shape with careful attention, and a leather specialist should be able to make replacement seatcovers to recapture the former glory. The seller confirms the power windows are inoperative, requiring further investigation to isolate the problem. There are no visible aftermarket additions, and the dash retains the factory AM radio.

The most significant change to the Super range for 1953 was the company’s decision to introduce the new “Nailhead” V8. It replaced the venerable “Fireball” straight-eight that had served faithfully since 1931. The difference the upgrade made to performance was profound. The Fireball delivered 128hp and 223 ft/lbs of torque, while the Nailhead produced 170hp and 286 ft/lbs. This car’s original owner teamed the V8 with a two-speed Dynaflow automatic transmission, creating a classic that is effortless to drive and will cruise all day at highway speed. The seller confirms that this gem retains its original drivetrain and that it runs and drives well. The brake pedal is low, but that is the only identified mechanical issue. Simple adjustment might solve that problem, although only an in-person inspection will reveal the truth.

Buick had a hit on its hand with the 1953 Super, selling 190,514 vehicles across all body types. However, only 6,701 buyers selected the Convertible. That made it relatively rare when it was new. Since it emerged at a time when cars were typically considered disposable items, it is fair to assume that many made their final trip to the scrapyard years ago. The bidding has been pretty spirited, suggesting that some people find the lure of wind-in-the-hair motoring irresistible. Could you be tempted to throw your hat into the ring? I won’t be surprised if you do.

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. bobhess bobhessMember

    Take all that junk off the front and you might have something. The wheel covers look like Dodge units. Still, I like the car and think it would be fun to have around for weekends.

    Like 3
    • bobhess bobhessMember

      …..after you fix all the rust. RalphP has got something there.

      Like 1
  2. Harrison Reed

    Pretty car! And I was not particularly fond of the ’53 Buick — a clunky attempt to update the severely dated 1950-1952 models. It was a place-holder for what was coming in 1954. Same cues, but so much more graceful the following year! 1949 Buicks were beautiful — but then Buick became instantly dowdy with the 1950 re-syle. 1953, if anything, made matters worse. But the ’54 Buick was a thing of beauty and grace. Too bad they drowned it in excess chrome-weight for 1955! None-the-less, this ’53 is a lovely car — which looks far better now, 71 years later, as a contrasting relief from the anonymous drab blob-mobiles we see nowadays! Ah! — when Americans made automobiles for a winning youthful nation!

    Like 6
    • donilo antonio UDTFROG

      Harrison , you are so SPOT ON about the 54The one sitting in our drive way is superb, its 1 Century retromodo about as perfect as can be after we completed what the original builder started but passed, it as a 63 hipo big block hipo With all the 401 goodies, I changing oyt the 2 speed Dynaflo flo for a multi speed performance overdrive tranny. on the dyno we’re see 425 horse on headers and 2,5 exhausts., wish I knew how to send photos. bullfrog.

      Like 0
  3. RalphP

    Nicely optioned-out (especially the fender mirrors and headlight “eyelids”. That trunk–ugh! the entire floor needs to be replaced. I wonder how rusted the frame and undercarriage are?

    Like 1
  4. Joe Haska

    Absolutely, I am trying to get my hat off, as we speak!

    Like 0
  5. Harrison Reed

    I never liked the headlight “eye-lids” added to these cars– nor the top-half chrome covers that became so popular. Neither do I like those “blue dots” in tail-lights. At least this car doesn’t come with those domed-chrome shiny hub-caps with the thin fin across them! “Moon equipped”, anyone? Those were AWFUL trends! But rust in botton panels makes me wonder if this car was brought back to life after having been a field or yard ornament. Rust typically invades rockers, sides of trunk-floors, and other areas directly in the path of salted water sprayed by the tyres. But significant rust primarily in the flat horizontal bottom panels is more indicative of grass growing up under a long-parked vehicle, and not wintertime corrosion. More HISTORY of this vehicle’s past (neglect?) Is needed, I believe.

    Like 2
    • RoadDog

      Those ‘blue dots’ are illegal in most, if not all states. Here in TX where I hail from, they’ll get you pulled over in a heartbeat.

      Like 1

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