Ready to Enjoy: 1939 Buick Special

It appears that the next owner of this 1939 Buick Special is going to have little to do except to climb into the car and enjoy the driving experience. It isn’t perfect, but it is pretty close, and it appears to be the sort of car that would be a pleasure to own. The Buick is located in Polk City, Florida, and is listed for sale here on eBay. If you are really taken by the Buick, it can be yours by merely handing the current owner $13,500, although you do have the option to make an offer.

This is a pretty stunning looking car, and the beauty with this car is more than skin deep. The owner provides plenty of photos of all areas of the car, and it appears to be clean and rust free. He describes the body and paint as being a good 9/10, which seems to be a fair assessment. The only real flaw that he identifies is some discoloration of the vent glass in the front doors, but even that doesn’t look to be too bad. The external chrome and trim also look really good, and if I owned the Buick, I would find it difficult to resist the urge to just stand back and admire it for hours on end.

The immaculate presentation of the Buick continues when you climb inside the car. The owner mentions some wear in the carpet of the driver’s side, but even that is quite hard to pick up in the supplied photos. The rest of the interior trim is spotless, and it is a credit to the owner that trim material of such a light shade hasn’t become dirty or discolored. The art deco dash looks fabulous, and while the car does feature an aftermarket retro-style stereo, nothing has been cut to install it. That means that if it isn’t to your taste, then you can return the interior to standard fairly easily.

Powering the Buick is the original 248ci straight-8 engine, which is backed by a 3-speed manual transmission. Ongoing performance upgrades during the life-cycle of this generation of Specials now saw that engine producing a healthy 107hp, which blessed the car with quite reasonable performance. Once again, it appears that there is nothing for the new owner to do here but enjoy the car. The owner says that it runs and drives well, and is fitted with new tires, and recently received a new battery. He also states that everything on the car works exactly as it should.

If you are one of those people who is looking for a classic car that is ready to be driven and appreciated, then cars like this 1939 Buick Special would be a tempting proposition. It really wants for nothing and would be a great way to enjoy and appreciate the classic car culture. With the car in such nice condition, the asking price really appears to be very reasonable.

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Comments

  1. Dirtyharry

    When nice cars get so old, not many living people relate with them. My ‘old man’ had some old cars when I was growing up around the shop. I learned to shift on a 39 Ford. In the late 50’s-60’s there was so much new and exciting stuff getting churned out by Detroit, these kinda became the covered wagons of the day and were often scrapped as obsolete versus being repaired. Power steering, power brakes and automatics changed the landscape essentially forever. You don’t need any muscle to drive today.

    Like 13
    • Andy

      The power-everything revolution happened at different times to different machines. From 1985 to 2003, I had 8 cars & trucks that didn’t have power steering, power brakes, power locks or windows, or automatic transmission, and they were all built between 1966 and 1993. Most were imports, but one was a totally stripped Nova and one was a full size Dodge cargo van! I can’t remember if my ’79 Capri had power steering or brakes, but it did have a 4 speed and crank windows. Even my ’65 Cadillac didn’t have AC or remote trunk release, which reminds me, the Capri was the only one in that 18 year stretch that had working AC, and one of two that had any AC at all.

    • karl

      I totally agree with your comments . Back in the mid ’80s I worked at a salvage yard , and many times a person would drive a perfectly good running car into the yard ; I was told things like “I cant be bothered to sell this old thing” , or the “dealership didn’t want the car in trade ,so I’m just junking it ” The only thing basically wrong with these cars were they old (10-15 years ) , and who would want a ’70s car when you could buy a nice modern Citation ! LOL

  2. TimM

    This is an 80 year old car and damn it looks good!!! It’s so impressive to see a car like this that’s stayed original and could be started every day and driven!! I would be proud to be the next keeper of this piece of American history!! Three speed and a straight 8 is just the coolest setup!! My problem would be trying not to get performance upgrades to make it go better and faster!! I just don’t have any restraint when it comes to that!! I hope someone keeps this just the way it is!!! After all it’s been that way for 80 years!!!

    Like 12
    • SMS

      @TimM If you have never owned one of these era cars i’ll bet you would change your mind if you bought this. When I first got mine I had upgradeitus. What could I do to make it faster, better, more fun. In a short while that all went away.

      Roll down the window and go along the road. Turn the wheel multiple times to turn a corner. Listen to the 6V starter. It is relaxing and enjoyable.

      Personally prefer flat heads for the quiet, but these are smooth and easy to work on. Prices for these are flat to declining. Allows for bargains.

      As to power anything the motors are back far enough that the front is light and you don’t need power steering. Find the right person to set up your brakes and they will work great so no power brakes needed.

      Only thing that I would add to cars of this era if not on is an overdrive. Makes them much more pleasant on the highway.

      Like 1
  3. SC/RAMBLER

    Wasn’t this same car featured a couple of weeks ago?
    No matter I could look at cars like this all day. Love muscle cars; but cars of this era were a work of art by style artist not like the smashed trash cans of today; heck even a Pacer looks better than majority of modern cars and when they came out I called them an upside down oil pan.

    Like 3
  4. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    A car just like this minus front seat was me and my brother’s bedroom back in the early fifties while our dad was constructing our farm house. We slept in that old car for 2 or 3 years. It was blueishgreen, had been our oldest brothers car before the engine blew up. My dad also owned a 40 Special that was two tone blue and white. It also ended up parked on the farm after it died.
    God bless America

    Like 3
  5. ken tilly Member

    One beautiful Buick at a very reasonable price I would say, judging by the prices asked for some of the rubbish that is offered by BF advertisers. I bought a UK 1959 Ford Zephyr 6 convertible as scrap and took nine years to restore it before driving it for ten years before selling it on to a buyer who had been bothering me for it for at least 5 years. At the time I thought it was the best thing since sliced bread, until I bought a 1951 Buick Super and only then did I realise what a fine car was all about. I just wish I was the lucky new owner of this prize ’39.

    Like 4
  6. Carl

    Tis a beauty. Leave it as is. Just care for it as it has been cared for.

    Yeah, they can be “souped up”. Compound carburation was offered. Another carb, simpler than the primary. Opened as rpm went up.

    OD not feasible as to installation. Torque tube drive line. First of the three on the tree Buicks, I think.

    Way back, our family car was a 38 Dodge. I learned to shift on that as well as some on WWII M37 Dodge Weapons Carrier !!

    They do require muscle to turn at slow speed. That Straignt 8 is no light weight!!!

    Once moving, OK.

  7. Carl

    As to flat heads being easier??? Valve gap adjustment on a flat head in the car is not fun. OHV in the car a lot easier.

    An OHV engine with valves properly adjusted is as smooth and quiet as any flat head

    I’m comparing sold lifter engines…

    Carl

    • Dave Mazz

      Carl;

      I think SMS said quieter, not easier. :-) And, since the flathead’s cam and lifters are buried in the block, they’re likely just as loud as an OHV….just harder to hear :-) :-) “Back in the day”, my father had a solid-lifter Chevy 6 that had become pretty noisy over the years. I had just purchased my first vehicle, a ’47 H-D Knuckle-head and a friend showed me how easy it was to set the valve lash on the bike. I then adjusted the valves on the Chevy, and went to pick up my father at work. The car was so quiet now that he thought that I was driving a different car!! :-) :-)

      • Scott

        My 1939 LaSalle has a flathead V8 (same engine as the Cadillac) – it has hydraulic lifters, so is a very quiet running engine. You can sneak up on people with it same as an electric car.

  8. Wayne

    My nephew has the almost twin to this car. It is a pleasure to be picked up for a ride ( usually for ice cream) with the family. It just cruises so smoothly and is a true step back in time.
    Very enjoyable.

  9. Dave S.

    Wow I love it. Reasonable price as well.

    Like 1
  10. Bob McK Member

    I have a 38 and it is a joy to drive. I hope the new owner keeps it as is.

  11. David F

    I had the museum’s ‘38 at an event this morning. These old Buick’s really are great to drive and people love to see them.

    Like 1
  12. David Frank David Frank Member

    (Try Again) Here’s the ’38 Buick this morning…

    Like 1
  13. Dave Mazz

    This Buick Special may be a lot rarer that it appears… The specs on its eBay listing says it ha an “Inline V8”, whatever that is. Since most of the other Buick eights of this period were Inline engines, this baby is something *really* Special. :-) :-)

  14. Carl

    Engine nomenclature confuses a few folks.

    Scott:

    One of the cars that I regret letting go was a 1941 Cadillac convertible coupe. Circa 1958 I bought it at a tow yard auction. $35.00. The tale was that it was used in a bank robbery and that the hood flew up and the chasing deputy sheriff’s caught them and off to the hoosegow.

    After a year in the tow yard, I added gas and a battery. !!!! It fired right up!! drove it home about 30 miles. Alas, it spent the year with the top down!!!

    I found another hood. Almost the same color. It was a “pink’ repaint !!
    My dear departed loved her “pink Cadillac”. We enjoyed for a time til the transmission “went”. Turned out an easy fix? Why did I sell it?????
    It was a WWII surplus tank transmission. GM’ s pride, the Hydramatic.

    In army service, I missed out on a unit equipped with the M19. A light tank chassis with twin 40 mm’s an anti aircraft weapon. Power by two Cadillac flat head V8’s. And Hydramatics. fun to drive and shoot!!!!

    Carl

    Like 1

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