Perfectly Patinated: 1957 Buick Special


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This striking “original” (more about that later) 1957 Buick Special is claimed to have only 9,470 miles. I’ll let you be the judge of that, but I’m pretty darn sure I would love to own this car! It’s located in Campbell, California and is listed for sale here on eBay, where bidding is at $200 (!) without a reserve as I type. I’m very confident it won’t stay there! 


If you like the P-word, this is perfect for you. No visible rust holes, and only a modicum of surface rust showing through the primer in the closeups the seller was kind enough to provide. Chrome is good (whew, there’s a lot of it) and the whole look with the small hubcaps and painted steel wheels really appeals to me. I’m imagining there would be a public stoning from the preservation folks if someone decided to paint this one!


Pretty darn sporty in profile, isn’t it? And I really like the rear window treatment with the three separate windows and narrow pillars.


I wish the pictures on the inside were as detailed. Some are dark like this one, although it’s possible that the dash really looks that nice!


I’m just about positive that the seating surfaces have been reupholstered. And here’s the problem. No amount of cleaning will get the faded white of the original door panels to look as bright as the new seat upholstery. So what do you do? I’d hate to replace the door panels just because they have discolored a bit. Would you try to dye them back to a brighter white? I’m interested in your thoughts!


The engine bay looks pretty good, although it seems to me there’s a lot of paint missing for a car that has been driven less than 10,000 miles. What do you think? That being said, I don’t care if it’s 9,470 or 209,470 or anything in between, this looks like a great car! The seller has just installed a new clutch kit and the car seems ready to go!


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  1. RON

    man makes me sick when one like this is so far away. this is killer and a rare car as well.

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  2. Ray Smith

    This is a nice find. I’m betting it will break the bank when all is said and done. I will go out on a limb and say the patina is a result of too many trips through an automated car wash. That’s how it looks to me anyway. I also agree that the seats look to be redone. The material is just too tight and bright to be original. The question becomes what to do with it? I guess what will drive that answer is if you can get iron clad documentation the mileage is original. I doubt that will happen and if that’s the case, I say let the buyer have his/her way with the old girl and do whatever makes him/her happy.

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  3. kman

    Not sure about two different shades of primer, red and grey under original paint?

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    • JimmyinTEXAS

      I’m not sure, but the red looks like rust to me..

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      • Utes

        Bach then, even way up into the 60s GM used red oxide primer in West Coast plants.

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    • uncle ray

      it was common among many manufacturers for decades to get the body shell supplied from one source in red oxide, and the front clip from a different source, in black primer.

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    • Tommy

      they painted the noses separately then.

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  4. hhaleblian

    anthracite 328 hubba hubba

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  5. ruxvette

    Wow, that is a beautiful car!!! Radio delete? Nah, just didn’t order a radio. Are the miles right? Darned if I know but look at the car!
    People will shoot me but that’s a big block/5 spd car. Cruise on.

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  6. Racer417

    I’d leave it exactly as it is!

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  7. Fred W.

    Hood has all the hallmarks of being “over polished”. Meaning pampered to the point of losing paint. Don’t know about 9470 miles, but I’ll bet it hasn’t been driven a lot.

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  8. grant

    Love the originality, but with new seat covers it makes the rest look dingy. This is an awesome car, refurbish it here and there and enjoy it.

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  9. JCW Jr.

    Nice set of mag wheels drop the frt a little with a nice paint job a little bit of dye on the door panels and just cruise around and enjoy. The pain that could be optional as long as you could keep the rust away,and not with clear that’s just ugly.

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  10. Nick G

    The seats look awful bright, but so do the pages of the Buick manual. Possibly the result of a high contrast setting on a photo editor.

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  11. Dr. D

    Love it. Regarding the new seat upholstery, rather than trying to replace or whiten the door panels to match the seats, I’d opt to try to discolor the seats to match the door panels. Maybe a bit of tea staining?

    You were right about the bidding, it did not stay at $200 for long. Current bid is $9,100 with 11 bids.

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    • Bobsmyuncle

      Tea staining is a pretty good idea actually, though you would have to proceed carefully.

      I’ve had amazing results using the various powdered oxi cleaners.

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      • Jeffro

        Sorry but I had to laugh at the thought of “tea bagging” my car. I really need to work at keeping my mind out of the gutter.

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  12. Jon

    This will make a great fun car… drop it a couple inches front and rear, and drive t h e wheels off of it….

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  13. RoughDiamond

    Wow! Wow! Wow! That lady sure had a great eye for a beautiful automobile. It’s one thng to hang onto one since new with it running and driving. It’s an all together different kind of love affair to hand on to one since new when it’s not drivable for virtually all the years you’ve owned it. That lady is just too cool in my book.

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  14. Gary K

    Now that is one fine 2dr sedan, really like the look of the ’57 and with the 3 piece rear windshield, makes this a class act ride. I would try to keep the drive train original, clean it and drive and enjoy. On the mileage I would say 109k. +
    This would be a model 48 and Buick rolled 23,180 of these off the assembly line. Great find!

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    • Paul

      With a 364 Fireball V8 and a Dynaflo Transmission..

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      • Larry Grinnell

        With the gearshift all the way down, I suspect this is a 3-speed. Dynaflows had a Park position unlike pre-56 Hydramatics, so if it had been an automatic, I would have expected to see the gearshift up high and not down low. I drove a ’58 Buick Special with a 3 speed on a used car lot back in the late ’70s in San Antonio. All black. Don’t remember if it was a radio delete, but it certainly did lack power brakes and power steering. Love the dog dish hubcaps. I wouldn’t change a thing if it were mine. When I was a kid, I remember one of my neighbors, an elderly widow, who had a black ’57 Special. I still remember the grille badge emblem stating “1957 Buick.” Planned obsolescence! Don’t remember if it was stick or Dynaflow. Just checked the website. It’s up to over $10,000 now, and it is a stick–new clutch, pressure plate, etc.

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  15. HoA Howard AMember

    Great find, but get out the hip waders on the description, little old lady story, never heard that one,,, I doubt the 9,000 miles too. It probably would have the original spare. Keeping in mind, this isn’t really a lot of miles for an almost 60 year old car, and was clearly used sparingly. Engine compartment is just too ratty for 9k miles. Personally, I’d paint it and leave it alone, but temptation will just be too great for someone, and it will probably become a resto-mod with big clown car wheels and such, it’s that neat of a car. The ’57 Buick ( and Pontiac) were so much nicer than the Chevy, but Chevy got all the thunder. Shows here you could buy a pretty basic ’57 Buick. Super find!!!

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  16. Ben T Spanner

    Didn’t Broderick Crawford in Highway Patrol drive two door Buicks? His were 1955 or 1965. This is cooler. Broderick always pulled up to the scene of the action and pulled on the parking brake and skidded to a stop.

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      • rockribbedrushy

        Here Tis:

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    • roselandpete

      They were running reruns of HP a few years ago. I watched the show as a kid but didn’t notice that the cop cars were Buicks. Now I was thinking that if the cops are riding around in Buicks instead of Chevys or Fords, that explains why California’s taxes are so high.

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    • randyflt219

      Broderick in Highway Patrol drove a 55 Special as I remember.

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    • Larry Grinnell

      Crawford and his fellow patrolmen drove ’55, ’56, and ’57 Buicks, along with ’56 and ’57 Mercurys, ’54 Olds, ’57 and ’58 Dodges, a couple of undercover ’57 and ’58 Plymouths. Thing was, there were times when Crawford could only drive on private roads, which were apparently plentiful in 1950s Southern California due to multiple DUIs.

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  17. DENIS

    stick? post car? i loooove it. if i didn’t have a half-dozen projects, it would be mine….i have seen a black post car(lowered slightly but otherwise stock) at area shows….waykool!

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  18. Joe Haska

    WOW! I just have to agree with everyone, I want this car. It would be so far beyond COOL, you gotta love it!

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  19. Don E

    Yeah, it is not original miles. Hand rubbed patina through paint and wear a clutch out in only 9400 miles? I don’t think so! Regardless, it’s a beauty and worth the effort to recommissioned it!!

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  20. cyclemikey

    I wouldn’t presume to judge whether the mileage is original or not based on some fuzzy photos, bit it certainly would not be unheard of to quickly wear out the original clutch in a big heavy car like this if driven by an unskilled operator. It really is a stripper, which probably makes it rare all by itself. Not many stick-shift Buicks were produced in this era.

    kman, the two different color primers are correct. Front clip in black primer, body in red was typical for GM cars of this era.

    I don’t understand the calls to lower the car. To what end? it would just ruin the proportions, by making the wheels not fit the wheel wells, as it was designed. The car would wind up looking strange, in the name of what – fashion? fad?

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    • Jon

      Yes, I was one of those that suggested the car have a slight suspension modification. After looking at the side profile, yes it might make it look a little odd and i get your point, but I am seeing that the front suspension could use a little nose down adjustment, and maybe an ever so slight rear adjustment. Looked to me as though the axel location is a little forward, but then again it may be an optical illusion. I

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  21. ben

    I agree engine to dirty dented air cleaner driver arm rest maybe a hundred and 9 dep were in calf sun can do a job on paint but the dash looks like a repaint also bright white on bottom still a rare one with the post and stick its about were it should be if it goes higher I would prefer a wagon or hard top just my perfance ben

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  22. Paul B

    I’m not a GM fan or a big car fan but I’ve always loved ’57 Buicks. They have a certain elegance, I love the triple rear windows and relatively fine and restrained side trim and grille. Just cool. And a stick shift car! I hope this remains stock in appearance but it’s up to the lucky buyer.

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  23. JagManBill

    As all have stated the 9k original is most likely a 1+. That spare is a modern tire and worn out to boot plus the engine bay is showing a lot of age.

    Its still a cool car.

    BUT…my 58 Country Sedan only has 67k on it and the paint is similarly “patina-ed” (actually worse…!). On the interior vinyl, same story, my door panels have aged and are darker than the “matching” vinyl seats. Even the white on the top of the front seat is not as white as the top of the back seat.

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  24. Ck

    I have always been a big fan of the 55-57 buicks and this one is a freekin find for sure.I love that its a post car ,with a stick. I don’t care what the milage is this thing has been taken care of for 60 yrs. I wouldn’t do to much to it, maybe throw a nice dual exhaust system with old skool cherry bombs .Cuz she need to sound as good as she looks,and this car sure looks good.

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  25. Mark S

    The black and red primer were also used by Chrysler, dodge, Plymouth. My 51 dodge hardtop is like is clear to me that this car is sun backed, it seems all to common on 50’s and 60’s cars. You have to remember that there was none of this base coat clear coat DuPont paints back then and these cars were sprayed not dipped like a lot of cars are today. This old Buicks needs a repaint before its to late, before the tinworm grabs hold, and it needs to be in single stage paint to keep it looking correct. As for the interior I’d leave it as is it won’t take long and the sun will yellow out that shiny white seat. Nice car nice find it won’t take much to make this one look good.

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    • Bobsmyuncle

      What manufacturer is dipping their cars in paint?!

      Like 0
  26. Jesper

    Love it. Not many had that rear windschield. It look good on s classy car

    Like 0

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