Nice Driver: 1956 Buick Special


We love 56 Buicks! Especially this 2 door hardtop model. In ready to drive condition, this 56 Buick Special is a nice example. The engine and tranny have been rebuilt and really this Buick needs nothing to be enjoyed as-is. With 6 days remaining in the auction, this Buick has reached $3,000 with no reserve. Find it here on ebay out of Mahopac, New York.


The 322 cubic inch “Nail Head” V8 and two-speed automatic transmission have been rebuilt and are in good health. The power steering operates properly as well and the engine bay wears an even coat of black paint showing little in the way of rust or corrosion.


The blanket technique has been executed on the front seat, so we assume it’s due for a recover. Overall the interior looks reasonable. There are some good and bad things to point out though. The seats need some attention, as the front has already been mentioned, the back looks to have originally been blue, but that someone made the decision to spray paint it black. The door panels are present, but need a complete restoration. They suffer from sagging vinyl, but the driver side in particular is in poor condition. There is an updated cd player built into a small audio console that also doubles as a cup holder. This small console was a delicate way to go about adding modern tunes to this Buick, as it could easily be removed. The dash and steering wheel are very nice in this Buick, making for an easy interior restoration. Examining the body reveals a mostly rust free body. In fact the only rust we could really find was in the driver side door jam, and some minor bubbling in the rockers. The paint is the biggest drawback of the exterior, but this patina may not put off everyone. The chrome bits are nice with some minor rust, and minor pitting.


This Buick is right on the edge of one of three paths. The first path being a full on restoration, the second being a partial restoration, and the third being maintained as is. We love the look of this Buick, but we would at the least make some moves on the interior of this one. What would you do with this ’56 Buick Special?


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  1. Flmikey

    I would choose the third option…other than the interior…beautiful car…my guess would be it sells for around 10k…worth every penny…

  2. Drew V

    Partial resto,up to and maybe including paint,repair the interior,lose the consolette, keep the fluids topped off and cruise…

    • JimmyinTEXAS

      LOL, that consolette is for use when you can’t trust your buddy to “hold my beer and watch this”………..

  3. Anthony Rodrigues

    Probably best to go with option 3, it really cries out for a two tone paint job, but once you paint it, it will highlight the need for rechrome and that will be expensive….

  4. DanaPointJohn

    The television show “Highway Patrol” had the star Broderick Crawford driving a 1955 or 1956 Buick Century. If you catch the show, notice how they beat the you-know-what out of these cars speeding on rutted dirt roads, tromping on the accelerator pedal and taking mountain turns in such a way that you expected the car to spin or roll. Tough, heavy beasts those mid-50s Buicks!

    • ACZ

      10-4, 10-4

      • Rod Munch

        21-50 to Headquarters

    • Jim Marshall

      The 55 and 56 Buick Century’s used by the highway patrol were 2 dr post sedans and the Century’s in this model were only built and sold to state and local police. The public could not purchase a Century 2 dr post sedan only the hardtop. Broderick Crawford used actual CHIP Buicks in the first year of the show but had a DUI and The California Highway Patrol no longer supplied their Buicks for the show after that happened.

  5. Robert White

    I would do a frame off with this one. A great start for a classic that beats most ever made. Moreover, I would take a 56 Buick over a 56 Chevy, frankly.

    Very nice car I would buy if I had the bucks.


  6. Glen

    Any idea as to why the ceiling is torn apart like that? Underneath is better than the interior.

  7. Mark in WNC

    No wide whites…I love it!

  8. the one

    La Bomba!

  9. Bruce Fischer

    I drove a 1956 buick to work in the 80s.I drove it 54 mikes each way i loved it .t got pretty good gas milage. too!Bruce.

  10. Mark S Member

    Full restoration would be my choice, but with single stage paint not the base/clear that it wears now. That roof has a spot on it that needs attention now before the tinworm has a chance o really take hold. The under carriage needs to be prepped and coated too to help preserve floors and rocker panels. As mentioned above and I agree with, this Buick is way cooler than the Chevy.

  11. Jim

    I love the look of mid 50’s Buicks, I’d redo the interior, check everything, disc brakes and drive it everywhere. I’ve had enough late 50’s and up GM products, the brakes were lacking and making it safer won’t hurt the value or appeal. Great cars to cruise in. Someone is going to have a nice driver.

  12. Rustytech Member

    This would look good with tri tone, dark blue top and bottom with light blue in the middle. Looks strange with black wall tires though. Nice project and so far at a reasonable price.

    • Jim

      Good choice on the blues! Jay Leno has a mid 50’s Buick or Oldsmobile(forgive me lol) that’s a nice silver/gray that looks sharp also. Yes I think whitewalls are mandatory.

  13. Dean

    Two speed transmission? Should be a DynaFlow.

    • ACZ

      The original CVT (Constantly variable transmission)

    • Jim Marshall

      Yes it was Dynaflow called variable pitch that gave better acceleration from a start. The 55 Specials had a 264 CID Nail Head with 188 HP. In 56 Buick Special had the 322 CID with 220 HP. The Century model had the 322 engine with 255 HP in 56. In 55 the Century had the 322 with 236 HP. My Dad had a 55 Century that I won many a drag race with. Sorry Dad.

  14. espy310 Stephen D. Pettis, Sr.

    A bad amateur restoration. That interior was blue; dyed black. The door panels appear to have been spray painted. It has had a repaint. That is clear coat peeling off the surfaces. The rebuilt engine wasn’t detailed. Chroming those bumpers and grill will cost thousands. The car appears solid, but this car deserves a frame off rottiserie, type resto. It is a very sold and very cool classic.

  15. John H

    Should be black. I remember several of my father’s 50s Buicks, and every one of them was black! I’d love to have this — bring back a lot of memories and make a lot of new memories.


    My parents bought a 55 Buick Special brand new. Black/ green interior, lots of chrome for me to clean! Only time that was in the shop was about 2-3 times for a rattle in the rear over bumps, they couldn’t find it! Finally when I got to use it on occasions, I got under the car and found it in ten minutes. Turned out to be a sway bar rubber bushing. That started my automotive career! Great vehicle!


    my oldest brother had a red/ white 1956 buick in the 1960,s. i never liked the looks of them they look like an overweight tank with rubber tires.

  18. Wade Anderson

    Neighbor had one we went to work in a, plant nursery the old Buick didn’t t have any shocks on the rear so every time it hit a bump the rear tires would bottom out but old Mr Cook kept on going anyway

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