Nicest One Around? 1956 Buick Special

Ever since I was a teenager, I’ve really liked most of the muscle cars Buick offered, as in high school one of my friends had a ’70 Gran Sport that I can still vividly remember 40 years later how that 455 performed and sounded.  But when it comes to some of the brand’s family-type offerings, it’s probably my loss but I just haven’t paid as much attention to them over the years as some of their counterparts.  However, when a sedan comes around that looks as good as this 1956 Buick Special, it’s kind of hard not to take note.  Located in Polk City, Florida, this one’s a beauty, and it can be spotted here on eBay with a buy-it-now price tag of $18,500.

Barn Finds wishes to thank reader Larry D. for the great tip on this one!  Traditionally, the Special title was often regarded as a more entry-level or lower trim model in the Buick lineup, and one interesting tidbit has to do with those stylish vent ports on the front fenders.  By the mid-fifties, many Buick models were using four of them on each side, but the Special only had three.  I have no idea if owning a Buick back then that sported four instead of three was a status symbol or not, but fast-forward to today and you’re going to be billed as the coolest dad on the block if you’re seen driving around in this 3 fender vent model!

Some information provided about the Buick’s past is that it’s been owned by the same family for most of its life and that the car has always been stored inside by both the current and previous owner.  The seller also says that the Special is mostly all original except for some minor updates, plus that the sale includes some historical documents and a few boxes of spare parts.  No word on how old that finish is, but it’s stated to easily rate a 9 on a 10 scale, and I’m really finding it hard to find much fault with anything about the exterior.  The two-tone paint color combo really works well on this body style too.

The two-tone theme continues to the interior, and while the inside shows a bit more wear overall than the outside it certainly lives up to the seller’s description of presentable, especially if it’s mostly original.  The covering on the back seat is turning to threads, but the front seat looks pretty good, and the headliner and door panels seem more than acceptable for a driver.  We don’t get to see any picture of the bottom side, but the car is said to be solid from front to back, including the trunk, floors, frame, and all of the underneath areas.

There’s no word on what kind of work has been done to the V8 in the past, but it is stated to run strong and the automatic transmission is still shifting smoothly.  It’s also said to start easy and is a pleasure to drive, and from everything we can see, this one sure seems like it’s in need of very little to keep on trucking.  What do you think?


  1. Will Fox

    Two-tone peach & orange, WITH A GREEN INTERIOR?!! (urp!)

    Like 23
    • Bob Weinzierl

      NO KIDDING WILL!! The beautiful red and orange exterior had me interested until the interior green and different green photos appeared🤢

  2. Frank Sumatra

    My dad had one. The paint was called “Bitter Sweet”

    Like 4
  3. mike

    Have never seen that color combo…looks great

    Like 6
  4. Rick

    Some new hoses for the vacuum wiper controls and the washers would be a good investment.

    Like 2
  5. Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac Diva Member

    Orange and pink? Then add a teal green interior? Who ordered this car, Helen Keller?
    Uncle had a ’56 Roadmaster in baby blue and that was bad enough.

    Like 18
    • Sincerepolack

      Helen Keller….thats funny!!

      Like 2
    • Chuck Dickinson

      Orange/Pink? No. Bittersweet & apricot. The interior is green, and that’s an original combo. Buick and Olds both had some dubious exterior/interior combos in the 50s, and this is simply another one of them. The black & white interior would’ve looked better.

      Like 3
    • Mitch

      ….or blue car and red interior. aargh

  6. Harry Allen

    Love it !!! Even as a youngster I had an eye for cars and even when older I can still recall this vehicle catching my eye. Oh yes I have documented proof that I was a died in the wool car guy. My Mom wrote in my baby diary that between 2 and 3 years old I was identifying cars on the road while travelling on Vacation, so youngster holds a whole different view. YUP sure would love to have it but the barn is full.

    Like 5
  7. 370zpp 370zpp Member


    Like 3
  8. Henry Davis Member

    The correct name for the doodads on the fenders according to Buick is “Cruiser Line Vent-a-Ports”. 4 holers were top of the line, lesser vehicles had 3. I still see more modern cars driving around with faux “port holes” on ’em, but somehow they never look right!

    Like 3
    • Mike

      A site I was looking at calls them Ventiports… earlier models apparently had ports to signify engine size on each car in 1949 when first introduced into the early 50s… It was a Buick designer who cut holes in his personal 1948 Roadmaster, based on his like of fighter plane designs… Buick then adopted them just 7 months later for their 1949’s… Cool stuff!

  9. Vance

    I believe that the fifty era cars were the king of tu-tone automobiles. This is a great color combination, but I could think of a better interior color other than green. 4 door cars for some reason look just as good as coupes which is an oddity. It just seems to flow better and the tu-tone and trim set each other off flawlessly.I was born in 1963, and I remember seeing these and liking them, especially the ports on the side. Later generations seemed like they just added 2 more doors with no thought of how they looked awkward. But all cars were big then, but by the late sixties early seventies, smaller cars looked weird. As I got old enough to drive, you couldn’t give me one. This is a beautiful car, it would surely command attention.

    Like 6
  10. Paul K

    That would be a four door hardtop, not a sedan. Lots of differences between the two. Nice car!

    Like 4
  11. Tom

    This exterior color combo is stunning!! However, I agree the interior clashes with it… If I could afford this car, I’d buy some rose colored glassed to help bring the colors more in line with each other. Gorgeous, gorgeous car!!

    Like 3
  12. 55 Buick

    My first car. 55 Special Riviera hardtop. Dad bought it from a kid who got it from his grand dad. I remember sitting in the school bus and watching him spin off of ice in Northern Minnesota to try and sqeel the tires. Black top. Gray with white on the bottom. I still got it. 83000 miles. Sitting beside my 49 GMC 5 window half ton. 228. 3 on the tree. My time machines growing up in the 70’s.

    Like 5
  13. Car Nut Tacoma Washington

    Beautiful looking Buick. 1956 has always been my favourite year for Buick.

    Like 4
  14. Steve Dore

    Times do change. My grandfather had a 56 special with this color combo. Price ruled wih him. He got it discounted cause it was so ugly and didn’t sell. But now it’s cool. Who would have thought

    Like 6
  15. Bruce

    I understand why the 2 doors are such a draw but a 4 door such as this is simply beautiful and works wonderfully as it is. And you get a huge discount since it has 2 more doors. I live close but don’t have the garage space but in a few years, I would love to see a car like this sitting in my garage. Would rather drive this than a 5 year old BMW or Mercedes. Who cares how fast it goes, this car is beautiful on the outside and a change in color internally wouldn’t be that expensive. Thanks Mike for writing this one up.

    Like 6
  16. Paterson Guy

    Unusual for the back seat to show more wear than the front? Maybe a dog?
    Nice 56.

    Like 1
  17. James hudson

    My dad had a 56! It was solid white! Dad painted the rims red with white walls and red dust caps! I was born in54. I have a picture of me in bibs in front of the front bumper . I was about 3 or 4. The car color is okay but it can’t be original with green interior!

  18. Dr Ron

    Regarding the color combinations…
    I was brand new, October 1954. Mom and Dad brought me home from the hospital in Dad’s 1949 Pontiac Star Chief that he bought new.
    By the time 1957 rolled around I was three, I was attached to my first car but Dad wasn’t so much and nine Northwest Indiana winters had taken a toll on ‘my’ Pontiac.
    So in the spring of 1957 Mom and Dad showed up in a blue and white 1956 Buick Special four door hardtop with a green interior… but it disappeared from the driveway no sooner than it had been parked.
    A little later a white on yellow 1956 Buick Special with a red and black interior showed up… when I found out my Pontiac was gone forever I was told that I cried for hours, grieving for my first car.
    Mom apparently decided that blue and green were a hideous combination and since Lenertz Oldsmobile only had two Buicks on the lot, the latter one would be somewhat better. It helped that a doctor down the street drove a yellow ‘56 Buick as well.
    My uncle Earl who owned several auto parts stores and was a “car guy” only drove Oldsmobiles… about the same time that our Buick appeared Uncle Earl showed up one day in a white over green Oldsmobile with a RED interior. It was kinda Christmasy but hideous at the same time….
    It seems that Buick and Oldsmobile were the two divisions at GM that either had someone that was indifferent about colors or was color blind or order sheets back then had no exclusions for bad color combinations.
    Over my las 68 years I’ve seen a few weird colored ‘55 and ‘56 Buicks and Oldsmobiles at shows and people either have horrified looks on their faces or can’t contain their enthusiasm for them.
    I think that the folks that are indifferent are probably color blind.

    Like 4
  19. Henry Davis Member

    Ugly was still alive in the 70s. Chevrolet Lime Yellow comes to mind…I’ve got a 74 Nova SS that’s that color…’til I can get it to the paint shop!

    In the late 70s saw an ad in newspaper, Houston I think. Pontiac dealer said he had good news and bad news. Good news was he had 14 Tempests with all the bells and whistles that he’d sell for $1000 below invoice price. Bad news was that due to checking the wrong boxes on a commercial customer order all of them were green with maroon interior.

    Like 2
  20. Wayne from Oz

    Looks like a problem with the windows not going all the way down. As for the colour combination, all I can say to be nice is, a blind man would be glad to see it.

  21. V12MECH

    Going from memory, Gramp’s had one , I think the rear windows only went that far down, wheel arch intrudes into door. This looks good, drive it and enjoy.

  22. Randolph Dull

    I really like the car. I’m more partial to mid sixties GM (like my ’65 SS Impala) but this one just strikes a good note.

  23. Bob C.

    2150 to headquarters. Has anyone seen that grey 1958 sedan yet?

    Like 1
  24. nlpnt

    It reminds me of a toy car, the interior matches the engine block.

  25. Bill C

    Dynaflow is smooth, but not much shifting going on.

    Like 1
  26. Geo

    This is the Riviera trim package.. every Buick model had it even the four-porthole Roadmaster.. hardtop no b-pillar

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