Parts Car Included: 1957 Buick Special Riviera Estate Wagon

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One of the “joys” of embarking on a restoration journey can be locating the multitude of tiny parts required to complete the job. However, that might be less of an issue than you would expect with this 1957 Buick Special Riviera Estate Wagon. Included in the sale is a complete parts car, and this could be a treasure trove for the buyer. They are located in Duluth, Minnesota, and listed for sale here on eBay. The auction has been set to open at $6,000, but there are no bids at this stage. This situation could be set to change because 92 people are watching the listing. I have to say a big thank you to Barn Finder local_sheriff for spotting the pair of Estates for us.

The paint on the Buick is looking pretty faded and oxidized. I believe that I can see evidence that verifies that the wagon originally wore the attractive combination of Hunter Green and Dover White. The panels look remarkably clean, with only a few small spots of rust visible in the lower door corners and front fenders. This isn’t extensive, and all of these areas could be repaired using patches. The owner admits that the floors will need work, but he doesn’t clarify how much will be required. The wagon has spent a significant part of its life in California, which has hopefully helped in this area. The windshield will need to be replaced, but the one in the parts car looks like it might be okay. There are also some minor trim pieces absent, but I suspect that between the two vehicles, that should not be a problem.

This is the parts car that is to be included in the sale. On the surface, this appears to be a viable restoration prospect, but it does hide a nasty secret. The owner says that the frame of this vehicle is rusty, and I would assume that it has deteriorated beyond the point of no return. However, there are plenty of parts that can be salvaged from this, which will undoubtedly make the project easier to tackle.

The “Nailhead” V8 made its first appearance in the Special range in 1954, and by 1957, its capacity had grown to 364ci. Power was a respectable 250hp, which found its way to the rear wheels via a Dynaflow automatic transmission. The Estate was no lightweight, tipping the scales at 4,560lbs. However, it could still cover the ¼ mile in a reasonable 18.9 seconds. It isn’t clear when the Nailhead last coughed into life, or if it turns freely. However, the clean state of the engine and the gas can sitting in the engine bay would suggest that at least some attempt has been made to kick the Buick back into life.

The interior of the Estate is upholstered in Trim Code #415. This is a combination of Medium Green and Light Green Cordaveen. A retrim is going to be needed, but it does appear as though the interior is complete. The parts car also features a full interior, and this is trimmed in Black and Ivory. Between the two vehicles, I believe that the buyer will have almost all of the little parts and pieces to restore the interior to its former glory. One of the attractions of the Buick is that many interior trim items remain readily available if there is something that isn’t viable between the two wagons. I have been unable to find a company that can supply interior trim kits. However, my search has been relatively brief, so the buyer might have more luck on that score.

Many enthusiasts will look at the 1957 Buick station wagon range and will gravitate towards the Caballero. This is understandable because they offer buyers more power, performance, and extra touches of luxury. However, production figures tell an interesting story. In 1957, Buick produced 10,186 examples of the Century Caballero Estate, but only 6,817 examples of the Special Riviera Estate Wagon. That makes this the rarer of the two models, and you could find yourself owning a pair of them. That has to be a point to ponder.

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  1. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    It’ll take someone with a lot of patience, time and money to bring this Buick back to its former glory, but what a beauty it will be when done.
    God bless America

    Like 9
  2. Pete Phillips

    First of all, this is not a Riviera Estate Wagon–the name “Riviera” denotes “hardtop” wagon. Buick did make hardtop wagons in the Special series in 1957, but this is not one of them. This is the 4-door post Special Estate Wagon.
    Secondly, seller says the frame is rusted, and so are the rocker panels. Everything I see on this car needs work. Seller is dreaming if he/she thinks it is worth $6500. I say, one too many zeros in the price.

    Like 0
  3. wcshook

    I have a VERY soft spot for ’57 Buicks! My first car was a 2 dr Special. Loved that car! Very basic, no power anything, rubber mat flooring. But that thing would scat! I shut down a buddy in his new, 73 Mustang. I was trying to pass him on washboard kind of road and he decided to have some fun with me. He speeded up, and I said not the place buddy. I floored it and left him setting like he was going in reverse. He asked me later what I had in it. I told him 364 2 barrel, auto.

    Like 2
  4. Joe Haska

    It would be a very intense project, but if you really want this wagon, it would be well worth it. I think there is another Model of this wagon which would be a step up, I think it was called a Cabrillo, or something like that and it was 4 doors ,but configured like a 4-door hardtop. I know, I could fact check it, however Iam sure many of your readers, will know the answer. To many car facts in my head at my age and I am not 100 % sure of what I am remembering.

    Like 0
    • Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

      They were called Cabrilero I think. Just happened to see one on an old episode of Perry Mason last night.

      Like 1

    Definitely worth a restoration .I would restomod.Nothing wild…but suspension…braking…and wheels for sure.That front bumper is boss.

    Like 2
  6. CCFisher

    The Special Riviera Estate Wagon was a hardtop wagon. This appears to be a Special Estate Wagon, judging from the b-pillar and sedan doors.

    Like 3
    • Wayne from oz

      That what the broken script on the tailgate reads. Let’s hope the one on the parts car isn’t broke, and the upper tailgate glass is good. Both probably made of unobtainium.

      Like 0
  7. Chuck Dickinson

    “Riviera” means hardtop in Buickspeak of this period. Since it’s not a ht, it’s not a Riviera Estate, but simply a Special Estate (w/post).

    Like 3
  8. Moparman MoparmanMember

    Just curious, is there any other same year Buick frame that could be swapped under this car?

    Like 0
    • local_sheriff

      Good question and while I’m only a magazine educated guy(!) I do know you’ll need to locate a frame with identical WB – according to the automobilecatalog site all Specials+Centurys seem to share the same 122inch WB with longroofs for ’57.

      Whether the wagon frame has body mounts in different locations or any other wagon-only features and if; is it possible to integrate those features in a sedan frame; would need further investigation…

      So, you’re thinking of that parts car, huh…? 😏

      Like 0

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