One Family Owned: 1948 Buick Roadmaster 2-Door Sedanet

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Until recently, this 1948 Buick Roadmaster had belonged to the same family since the day it rolled off the showroom floor. It has spent more than twenty-five years in storage, but the seller revived it, ready to go to a new home. The buyer may choose the restoration path, although the preservation approach is possible. The Roadmaster is listed here on Craigslist in Dallas, Texas. It could be yours for $25,000, although the seller may consider trades. I must thank Barn Finder T.J. for spotting this beauty for us.

The seller indicates that this Roadmaster only recently left the care of its original owners. They had placed the classic in storage for over two decades, but it doesn’t appear to have suffered unduly from the experience. Its Honolulu Blue paint is faded, and a cosmetic refresh could be on the cards. Surface corrosion is visible, but it is the type you might expect to find on an older vehicle that has spent its life in a drier climate. There is no evidence of penetrating rust, and the seller doesn’t mention problems in their listing. If the car has spent its life in Texas, it will help explain the baked paint and the lack of significant corrosion issues. Most of the chrome looks good, although a couple of pieces would benefit from a trip to the platers. It is not a pressing need, and if the buyer selects the preservation path, the trim could remain untouched. The glass looks good for its age, while the wide whitewall tires add a classy air.

At more than eighteen feet in overall length and tipping the scales at 4,065lbs, the 1948 Roadmaster is a relatively large and hefty beast. The company needed to bless it with a decent engine to ensure it offered buyers good performance, and they delivered with the 320ci “Fireball” straight-eight. That brute of an engine pumped out 150hp that found its way to the rear wheels via a two-speed Dynaflow transmission. It may not have been a high-performance model, but a ¼-mile ET of 20.6 seconds and a top speed of 85mph were considered very acceptable in 1948. After spending twenty-five years hibernating, the seller worked through the process of reviving this classic in preparation for it to find a new home. They replaced the tires, brakes, battery, and shocks. They state that the car runs and drives, although they don’t indicate whether it is roadworthy. They give that impression, which could make it a turnkey proposition for its new owner. If it isn’t roadworthy, getting it to that point may not be a difficult assignment.

One aspect of this Roadmaster that may require attention is its interior. It is as original and unmolested as the rest of the vehicle and has some shortcomings. The upholstered surfaces are tired, with a few rips and tears. The buyer may elect to throw blankets over the seat to retain the car’s survivor status, and that would be the most cost-effective approach. You will struggle to locate an interior trim kit for a ’48 Roadmaster, so if perfection is the goal, employing an upholsterer to use the existing trim as a template would be the sensible choice. There are no aftermarket additions, with the dash, wheel, and plated components looking in excellent condition. It appears the factory radio is intact, as is the clock.

While Buick produced 79,293 examples of its Series 70 Roadmaster during 1948, only 20,542 were the Two-Door Sedanet version. It is unclear how many survive, but there probably aren’t many that are as original and unmolested as our feature car. They aren’t a mega-bucks classic, although values have recently climbed steadily. Restored to a high standard, which appears to be a straightforward process, it could command a value of $40,000. However, if the buyer elected to retain it as a survivor, it would still receive admiring glances and favorable comments. Restore or preserve? I can’t decide. Can you?

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  1. CVPantherMember

    Great looking car. That roof line is fantastic.
    I would definitely go the preservation route, clean it up, get it roadworthy and drive it as much as possible.
    Would love to see some pics of the undercarriage.
    So I am pretty clueless on values…. Does $25K seem high?

    Like 16
  2. Ricardo Ventura

    IIf they do anything other than add gas.

    Like 2
  3. SMS

    On most cars I an in the preserve camp. Not with this car. To me the sedanet is one great body style. Maybe not a full restoration but at least a paint job and interior. The car is worth it.

    Like 16
  4. MathieuB

    Aa I am no way an artist, I wonder how do they came with that roof and side line? It is true that they don’t draw them as they do now. Really impressive to my eyes.
    I would redo the paint as that blue is fantastic and go with a basic interior resto. Not a frame off resto.

    Like 7
  5. eurovinMember

    This car is screaming out for a Jonathan Ward ICON derelict makeover..

    Like 3
  6. Nick

    Always liked Buicks. Had a ‘54 base model 2 door in high school. ‘57 later Special 2 door, nail-head. Check the vehicle in the back-ground. Looks like was retrieved from the bottom of a cliff?

    Like 5
    • Mike Featham

      I had my Grandmother’s ’54 Buick in high school. Not exactly a chick magnet. But it was my car. Dumped a girl when she made derisive comments about it.

      Like 3
      • Wayne from Oz

        Flippers note, at least take it off the trailer before you photograph it.

        Like 2
  7. Bob McK

    These are really hard to drive, if you want to see anything behind you. If it were restored, they might get 25K. But this baby needs more than that invested to get it to that point. Think how beautiful it was when it was new.

    Like 7
  8. Gerard Frederick

    In 1960 I was stationed at Fort Sheridan and spotted a grey one in a driveway, for sale. It needed a paint job.I bought it for 75 bucks, gave it an Earl Scheib in black, for $29,95 and drove it happily ever after. Unfortunately, I was transferred to Orleans, France during the Berlin wall crisis and had a friend of mine sell it, since I had no time to do so myself. I still have a photo of it someplace, loved it then, love it now. The seller says he replaced the shocks, how? If memory serves, this car had friction shocks, why would they need to be replaced? Although, I seem to remember a far more elaboratew dash board with lots of chrome. Is my memory faulty, or was mine an up scale model, if such existed? Should there be anyone out there who knows the answers, please let me know!

    Like 5
  9. Fahrvergnugen FahrvergnugenMember

    looks like either bob hoskins or jessica rabbit should be behind the wheel of this rolling bulb…

    Like 5
  10. GT

    Across the street from where I grew up in Long Beach Mr. Ramsey had this same car. It was ten years old back when a ten year old car was old. Same color. I could see the side opening hood up with Mr. Ramsey tinkering with his “work car”. Back the you had a new family car and the old car became the work car parked all day in the factory parking lot under the hot California sun. Good memories.

    Like 5
  11. Jon Sieck

    Shocks are rebuildable hydraulic, an integral part of the suspension.

    Like 2
  12. Hot Rod Lincoln

    We have a 48 Pontiac 2 door with the same great body lines. Previously some started to make a street rod out of it. It just needs finishing out. Great smooth ride.

    Like 4
  13. Richard Kirschenbaum

    If restored to high point status puts the value at $40K, the math doesn’t work. 25K leaves little room for any professional restoration work that would put it anywhere near high point status.

    Like 4
  14. Pietro

    Should have all Buicks of that age side ventholes on the hood? I know Sedanette had three of them.

    Like 0
    • Chuck Dickinson

      49 was first year for the “portholes”.

      Like 3
  15. charlieMember

    When I was 8, in 1949, I thought this was the most beautiful car in the world. I still think it was a masterpiece of GM styling. Up close, however, the “add-on” fender extensions into the door are clearly, “added on”, and look kind of cheap. Sort of like the aging actress who looks good from 20 feet, but close up, it is all makeup. There are the remains of one in Death Valley near an old mine off a dirt road.

    Like 0

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