Livin’ Large: 1940 Buick Series 90 Limited

Garage size alert: this is not a small car, but it’s worth putting an addition on for this one. This is a 1940 Buick Series 90 Limited and it’s quite a car. Or, it was a few decades ago and it could be again. It’s listed on eBay with a current bid price of just over $2,800 but the reserve isn’t met. This beauty is in Galion, Ohio.

This car appears to be pretty solid, but most of these Limiteds were. They were typically chauffeur-driven, kept inside, and maintained. NADA low retail is $16,975, I’m guessing that this one is valued below that, what do you think this one is worth as it sits?

The seller says that this is an excellent running car and it needs work on the brakes. They also mention that it would be, gulp.. “an excellent candidate for a street rod or rat with a big Chevy engine or diesel.” For the love of.. NOOOOO! Just, no. This car deserves to be restored back to original specs, but that’s just my opinion. We all have our own opinions as to what should happen to the vehicles that we buy for our own use. How would you restore this car?

These are great looking cars when they’re restored, and I think this one would be fun to just get everything working perfectly and drive it as is. A nut-and-bolt restoration may be out of the question if a person were looking to turn this into a money-maker unless they did most of the work themselves. But, isn’t that usually the case? In order to pay off the restoration costs, maybe the next owner uses it as a limo for weddings and graduation parties, etc? It’s too old for Uber but using it as a wedding limo is another matter. The spare tire covers are there, they’re just not shown and that’s great news that the next owner won’t have to track a pair of those down.

There aren’t any interior photos other than this one showing the suicide doors open and what looks like a mini-storage unit. They do look pretty sharp when they’re restored, here’s a photo for inspiration. You can see the jump seats in back on the restored car, those will come in handy when your 16-year old son or daughter asks to use this car.. (cringing)

This is Buick’s Dynaflash 320 cubic-inch inline-eight with around 140 hp. It supposedly runs great and the 3-speed manual works great, too. I think this would be a heck of a fun car to own. Just a fun in-town driver as it is right here, not restored, not clear-coated; just maybe fix the interior a bit, make sure the brakes and drivetrain and everything else works great and drive it. Could you see yourself owning a car like this big Buick?


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  1. David Wilk Member

    Great find Scotty. These cars were top of the line and should always be restored IMHO. This one is way too complete to consider rat rodding. This would fit well in your storage space and I think it’s a safer ride for you than all those mini bikes you keep buying.

  2. nessy

    I like everything about this beautiful and rare model Buick except the dopey seller who thinks it would be a great ratrod, although he says the car runs fine. This machine must remain stock.

  3. Bingo

    Dual side mounts! Beautiful automobile!

    This is a 4 door that, I think, we all like.

    I’m looking for a lawn ornament up front on my property in a landscape area and thought I would only want a pick up truck but this thing would be a step up from a truck, but sadly, it’s out of my lawn ornament budget.

  4. jcs

    Maybe it’s because I’m old but I am sick and tired of “patina”…IT’S RUST AND PAINT FADE, FOLKS, PURE AND SIMPLE!. This car deserves a proper repaint, not spiffed up rust.

    • Wm Lawrence

      I see all the patina I need in my mirror every morning…

  5. RayT Member

    Probably too big to attract the interest of most rat-rodders (thank goodness!) so I hope the successful bidder is planning a careful and thorough restoration. Looks like a good basis for same, assuming the underside is as good as the exterior.

    Just for Howard A, I’d be sorely tempted to wedge an Allison V-12 under the hood….

    • jcs

      Ray, with the size of the Limited, you could double up: Allison under the hood and Allison in the back seat.

    • Howard A Member

      Hi Ray, why not? Room for a JATO rocket engine out back, as well. I think what the seller is implying, is more of a resto-mod, than a rat rod. IDK, if this pulled up in front of my house, I’d expect the back door to fly open, a crook tumbles out, with Dick Tracy hot on their heels. As is, this thing just looks creepy. This, however, looks pretty cool, and no doubt will turn into this, and that’s ok.( although, I’d keep the sidemounts, which, by the looks of it, 1940 was the last year for those)

      • PatrickM

        HowardA. That’s nice, but changed a little too much for my tastes…as in No front bumper, for starters. But, like I said, it is still nice

  6. AndyB

    Nice machine. Get it running and stopping reliably and drive it.

    Sadly, the wallet and garage are too small right now.

  7. Anthony Rodrigues

    This being a Model 90L limousine it is one of only 526 built according to The Buick – A Complete History The 1940 Model 90L has a 140 inch wheelbase and had a base price in 1940 of 2199.00

    • Anthony Rodrigues

      From the 1940 Buick dealer brochure

  8. Dave Wright

    Can you imagine the stories this old girl would tell if she could talk? A realitivley new, high quality car during WW2, who knows who could have owned and ridden in her. From the captains of industry to politicians to military commanders. This was not a common Chevrolet staff car. It has been something special since the day it came off the line. She deserves the attention of some history detective TV show as well as an appreciative owner to restore her.

  9. Peter Lee

    The expression “A special kind of stupid” comes to mind when someone suggests making this unique car into a rat rod. Whatever you do folks, please don’t let him get his hands on a Bugatti Royale.

  10. Rock On Member

    Rat rodding this car would look just as ridiculous if not more than the green Ford Granada from earlier today.

  11. Francisco

    Nicola Bulgari should buy this for his collection.

  12. Al

    Think my father had one of these after his return from WW2. I recall the sidemounts or perhaps pictures of a similar Buick with sidemounts. After all, I was all of 3 or 4 years old, so I’m guessing pictures. No memory of riding in it.Would love to have this restored as a driver. Love to pull up next to a tuner with their fart pipe and just motor serenely away. Course I would also love to do the same with a Bentley Continental and blow their doors off!

  13. Brad

    Holy Je$u$, it is YOUGH ova dare…

  14. ACZ

    How about completely stock in and out but a 455 Buick for power and a 4L80E? Disc brakes and a few more upgrades that don’t effect appearance but enhance safety and reliability.

  15. Keruth

    This is a long car, 24′ minimum!
    They are impressive in person, and a senior classic, too!
    It’s already near $5k, a correct interior alone will set you back major $. (10k+)
    Worth every drop of sweat when your done.
    Dad would have loved it! (I always liked the earlier waterfall grills).
    Still, Galion is not that far from me, Aww, I really don’t have the room, but…

  16. Scott

    @ACZ, believe it or not the Dynaflash can move this along quite well. These weighed around 4700lbs. Close to 1,000 more than the standard sedan. Sort of funny when you realize that a new Mini weighs 2,700lbs.

    Brakes, well it took me some time but I found a fellow that got my drum brakes working like they were supposed to. I could lock up all four wheels on my ’40.

    I would add seatbelts. Hated to drill into mine but did it anyway.

    These things are stately. Not so much from the outside, yes they are impressive but still have a second tier look. Inside though they are much more than you would imagine a Buick to be.

  17. Tony L

    I can remember that when something was just huge, they would say that it was “Bigger than a Buick”.hehe

    • Eric 10Cars

      I believe it was “a spider the size of a Buick” in “Annie Hall” :-)

      This baby is so much classier than all of the new stretch limos. It deserves a new life.

  18. chad

    Y put in a different motor or wheels? That’s the same as the white stripes’n spoiler on the granada…
    $5K for the 8 cyl in it alone (almost).

  19. rando

    I was at an auto fair and heard the most beautiful song ever. Sounded like a V8 sorta but even sweeter somehow. Walked toward the sounds and found a Buick straight 8 being run for a prospective buyer. How sweet.

    With that said, still grinding an axe over the folks that throw off on ANY car on here. What makes this any more special than the weird green Granada? It’s not in as nice condition as the Granada. Isnt’ as ready to drive as the Granada. Probably not built any better or worse either, for that matter. It may have been really special in it’s day – built to the best of the day. But it is still a car.

    Some folks will love it, some won’t. Some will want to hot/rat rod it. Myself, would love to be able to enhance the performance of the straight 8 internally. keep it as stock appearing as possible. I can never afford to play in this league. Don’t have enough years left to do it myself. Would love it though. And yes it is better looking than the Granada. But I could enjoy either. I would be driving my Granada with less worry, though.

  20. Scotty Staff

    Auction update: this big Buick sold for $8,107.

  21. JaguarE

    The seller sure set the reserve way too low. In 1964 I saw 2 of these cars that had an offer of $6,000 each and those were not in driving condition and in today’s money that would put this car at above $36,000-49,000. Someone stole this car with the sellers permission and did not have to hold a pistol on the owner. Some owners have no clue as to what they have. I wanted to buy this car and it would have been totally restored and kept original with some massaging of the mill and the latest in brake shoes of carbon fiber to get close to disk brakes performance out of drum brakes. It would be a crime restorod this car with a different engine than the factory engine. I hope whoever bought this car will sell it to me because I need this car.

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