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Inexpensive Field Find: 1955 Buick Special


This 1955 Buick Special isn’t going to cost much initially, but there’s a lot of body that needs fixing and if you decide on rechroming, the bill will far exceed the initial price of the car. It’s located in Cadogan, Pennsylvania and is up for sale here on eBay, where the buy-it-now is $1,200 but no reserve bidding starts at $800.


What a great face! It’s a shame the bumpers carry the rust they do, although the “dagmars” appear to be pretty nice. The seller tells us that there is no title for the car, which is more of a problem for some of you due to location than others. There’s also some missing trim, and as we hear often here, it’s a less-desirable four-door. However, it does appear relatively straight, and if the paint isn’t hiding a lot of body filler, it’s not completely rusty either.


This looks like the worst area on the car to me from the pictures. I’m guessing that debris accumulated in the fender behind the door and rusted things out from the inside. It also looks like someone at some point tried to fill the gap with body filler, which scares me a little–what else has been filled up? The seller tells us that a small section of the rockers needs to be repaired as well, but unfortunately doesn’t include pictures of them. I do love, however, the little character line in the rear door stamping right above the “Special” name plate.


It appears that the interior is going to require a pretty full renovation, although the door panels may well be salvageable. Based on the uncracked steering wheel, I’m guessing this car hasn’t been out baking in the sun much. I’m thinking there’s a business in combining Northern interior components from rusted out junkers with Southwestern sun-bleached bodies that have no soft interior components left intact!


The “Nailhead” V8 displaces 264 cubic inches according to the seller, which may make it original, as it was only available in 1954 and 1955. The advertisement tells us it will turn over but at this point does not claim that it will run; a fault in the ignition switch is suspected. It may be worth contacting the seller to learn more as they have another 1955 Buick to sell and have some extra parts as well. Any Buick experts out there that could tell us whether this is a worthwhile project or not?


  1. wayne

    Less desired 4 door ?? You guys are morons this is a 4 door Rivera panoramic hardtop in the special series also offered in the century as well ..yes a 4 door pillar less hardtop…about one of the coolest 4 doors to have . And yes I own one !

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    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Wayne, don’t be offended :-) Almost every time we post about a four door, the vast majority of responses wish it was a two door. I’m on your side!

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  2. Rich

    Keep it civil. Not everyone is an expert here. If you want negativity there’s plenty on other sites.

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    • wayne

      Wasn’t trying to sound too hateful. .but not every car out there is a 2 door hardtop and seems the writers would pit a little more effort into the research before some of comments and unresearched facts .. these and the other gm mid fifties 4 door pillar less hardtops are indeed rare .. and you don’t have to be an expert your right ..but any one who can acess a computer or book can see these are not your ordinary bird . They were the feature cars in the gm lineup at the motorama in 55 and was considered by gm one of Harley earls best creations along with the 55 olds..caddy and Pontiac.. and im a ford guy lol. But the curves ..the chrome ..the feel ..still has people clamoring to get one 60 years later . Gotta love that . And anything can be fixed if your hearts in it ..that old girl up top deserves a good home. I’d gladly put her next to my 55 century if I could . So sad to see her rot away .

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  3. JACKinNWPA jack Member

    The car had class, even the door jambs are tu-toned.

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  4. JACKinNWPA jack Member

    Also, I believe that if someone had puttied other areas they would be visible too. Too bad about the title,in PA getting one is near impossible. If someone out there knows of a way I could sure use help getting one for my 1946 Ford.

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  5. DENIS

    I love the old Bu’s but I think it’s a parts car….will take a lotta $ and finished it still doesn’t make it very valuable…would take a long time to recover your investment..if ever

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  6. Rando

    I like this one. Just as it is. If it is structurally sound enough, I’d get it running and drive it with only tires and safety things. A good cleaning of course, and cover the seats with a Mexican blanket, of course. Some fuzzy dice, Wide whites. Keep the mechanicals as good as possible. I’d never have the money and possibly the skills for a restoration, so fix what I can, preserve as much as possible, and just enjoy it for a while to see what really needs to be done and what the wallet would allow. Even the rusty bumpers do not bother me too much. THe bondo crack kinda does though.

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  7. redwagon

    yes, a 4 door pillarless hardtop makes it more desirable, and the 2 tone color is pretty good, and all the glass seems to be there and intact, but found in pa with snow tires on it tells me all i need to know.

    rust through in the rear quarters at the door jambs and over the headlight bezel plus at least surface rust on every panel, what looks like rust through on the driver’s floor boards a completely different hood, missing trim, no underside shots, poor shot of the engine compartment …..

    no. it’s just not worth it for many reasons – unless emotion comes into play.

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  8. Jim

    Many people overlook the fact that you can’t fix rot. You can cover it up or replace the rotted section. I’ve seen beautiful bondo jobs on frames that make me look really close now.

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  9. van

    If your wife reads Janet Evanovich tell her it’s uncle Sandors buick. She with love it.

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  10. Mark S

    I’ve always believed that if your only motivation is to make money than you need to find another avenue. For the most part the payoff for owning and restoring a vintage car is the having and enjoying of the car. For me a lot of the attraction is fixing and cleaning and reprinting etc. Like most vintage car owners that have succeeded in restoring a car I have acquired the skills and tools along the way. That’s what this hobby used to be about, that and the fellowship among like minded individuals. As for this car of course it’s restorable and being a four door hardtop makes it make even more rare than a two door hardtop. Nice find.

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    • Metalted

      Marks… You nailed it. We love cars, is why we fix them and enjoy them.
      I’ve restored few cars and rarely make a profit. But your right on, I enjoy it to much to need a profit. I go to work to make money. Cars are my hobby.
      It’s my therapy, even losing money on them, is ok when you love them!!👍

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  11. Nessy

    There are many makes of cars when I like the 4 door body style over the two door with this car being one of them. I guess for 1200, there is not much to fuss about but boy did these cars rust out so look close before you buy. It looks like the paint could cleanup alot with a good polish. At least the areas that still have paint left.

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  12. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    Here’s a similar ’56, but it’s a sedan, not the hardtop: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Buick-Other-/381532390218

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  13. Kevin

    I hope someone saves it. I think four door hardtops are cool.

    Like 0

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