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Ready To Enjoy: 1954 Buick Special 2-Door Hardtop

A change of plans has seen the restoration of this 1954 Buick Special stall before it has even started. Having said that, this is a car that is ready to be driven and enjoyed right now, and the restoration can take place when time and finances allow. Barn Finder Ikey H referred the Buick to us, so thank you for that Ikey. The Buick is located in Salem, Oregon, and is listed for sale here on Craigslist. If you fancy taking on a Buick restoration, then this one can be yours for $9,500 OBO.

The “VentiPorts” are a dead giveaway that you’re dealing with a Buick here, and they remain one of the most iconic identification features of any brand in US motoring history. This Buick features those, along with stylish, swooping chrome trim. The car’s body looks to be really solid, with only some very minor rust issues in the lower quarter panel on the driver’s side. The Marlin Blue paint has a number of imperfections, but these are not that bad. A repaint will really make this one stand out. The external chrome and trim all look to be in quite decent, including that menacing, snarling grille.

As far as interior restoration is concerned, there really isn’t a lot to do. I would probably be inclined to replace the carpet because this is beginning to show its age. The vinyl on the kick panels is a bit stretched, so I would be inclined to stretch that back into shape. Apart from that, there isn’t a lot to do except to climb aboard and enjoy the ride. The rest of the upholstered surfaces look quite clean and decent, as does the dash. There isn’t even any appreciable wear on the wheel rim, which is quite something for a 65-year-old car.

Powering the Buick is the 264ci “Nailhead” V8, backed by the 2-speed Dynaflow transmission. Performance of a Buick thus equipped was not all that it could be, as the Dynaflow was considered to be a relatively inefficient transmission. Having said that, it underwent a major upgrade in 1953, which means that this car has received the benefit of that. The owner says that the 264 runs really well, and has recently received a new starter and a carburetor rebuild. He says that he has driven it a fair bit lately and that it just cruises nicely, the transmission works smoothly, the brakes work well, and the car doesn’t burn any oil. It is just ready to drive and enjoy.

The Buick Special is a nice car, but as an investment, it isn’t a “big ticket” car at this stage. The asking price for this one is probably about in the ballpark for what you might expect to pay for a car in this condition, although it would be good if you could haggle a bit on the price. What I will say is that values on these are rising, but not dramatically. It is more of a very slow rise, but it still might make it a good long-term investment. Alternatively, you can always take off your “logical” hat, and just buy it because you like it.


  1. Avatar photo Ken Carney

    Really a nice car here. I’d use it as is. Would make a great starting point for a
    Highway Patrol tribute car. 2150, 10-4,
    over and out.

    Like 2
    • Avatar photo Jonathan

      Dittos. If it’s a reliably running driver, I’d just use it and keep it in its current condition. This would be a fun ‘drive around town’ car.

      Like 7
    • Avatar photo Bruce Griffis

      The Broderick Crawford patrol car is a ’55 – but this ’54 looks pretty great, too!

      Like 1
  2. Avatar photo Andre

    I’d dump it on wide whites and daily it in the summer. Cool car.

    Like 6
  3. Avatar photo redwagon

    A favorite of mine for whatever reason I dont know. Why don’t sellers roll all the windows down for pictures to accentuate the lines of these pillarless hardtops? They would look so much better, I can only think it would attract more potential buyers.

    I think I would ditch the white walls (they’re probably past usable anyway) and get a set of red lines. That always makes the car faster and plays off the red in the taillights. Every angle looks great — except from the front. But I could get used to it!

    Like 3
  4. Avatar photo Pete Phillips

    Power steering on one of these is somewhat rare and a real plus!

    Like 6
  5. Avatar photo Calipag

    I like it a lot and at a decent price. But is there something off with the drivers door and front fender? Color and alignment. Not that would deter me from looking at this, if I was in the market, but it caught my eye.

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Rustytech

      This is a nice car. It has had at least one repaint, I don’t think fading could account for the color differences between the inside and outside. I think this car would benefit from a nice two tone paint scheme. Great price if it’s as solid as it appears here.

      Like 3
      • Avatar photo Kurt Member

        I wish sellers would tell us more about the condition of the engine itself, e.g. compression, oil pressure when warmed up, etc..

        Like 1
  6. Avatar photo Del

    I drove my 59 Morris into the back of one of these.

    The Morris was destroyed. The Buick had a small dent in the trunk lid.😁😂🤣

    Like 4
  7. Avatar photo Andrew Franks

    It’s interesting that the Special has a V8 Engine in it. My memory may be fading but I thought 1954 was the last year for straight 8s in Specials, while the rest of the line had V8s. Maybe I’m in the wrong model year. This is a nice entry level car for someone. Join the Buick Owners Club for parts, advice, and good people,
    and enjoy the car.

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo Del

      53 last year of straight 8 ?

      Like 0
      • Avatar photo ken tilly Member

        I think ’52 was the last year of the straight 8 making ’53 the first year of the Nailhead V8

        Like 0
  8. Avatar photo ken tilly Member

    To me, as a Buick lover, it looks slightly out of proportion from the rear of the door back to the trunk. Maybe if they had added a further 6 inches there it may have looked better. As it is it looks a bit dumpy, however, thanks to the sweepspear it makes it more acceptable eye wise.

    Like 0
  9. Avatar photo karl

    Whats up with the three outside rear view mirrors ?

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo BR

      Blind spot mirror.

      Like 0
    • Avatar photo 71FXSuperGlide

      The trailer hitch maybe?

      Either that, or the bullet holes weren’t enough ‘bling’. LOL

      Like 0
  10. Avatar photo Richard Gugenberger

    My uncle Al had a Buick like this yellow, black roof , v8 3 speed on the column , he loved that car , My Aunt Shirley convinced him to trade it in on a 1957 Chevy wagon 2 door 6cyl 3 speed on column , He called that the gutless wonder , it was traded for a 1958 Chevy wagon with 348 v8 auto , now that was a wagon !!

    Like 1
  11. Avatar photo don

    Looks like it was gold at one time ,or the hood and trunk lid were changed . Lots of bubbles in the paint on the roof alone , so I would really want to check this out before I offered any cash on it.

    Like 2
  12. Avatar photo Johnmloghry

    I was 16 working on a chicken farm 50 hours a week for $1.00 per hour plus room and board. I saved up $300.00 and went to town looking for a good used car. I was at the Buick dealership when a elderly man asked me if I was looking to buy a car. I said yes, but with limited funds. He said he was buying a new Buick, but they would only give him $275.00 trade on his 55 Buick Super with 38,000 miles, he said he would sell me the car for the same price. So I bought my first car, a red and white two tone 4 door sedan. It was a beautiful car, but I enlisted in the army on my 17th birthday June 6, 1964. When I returned three years later the Buick was long gone. Apparently stolen.
    God bless America

    Like 3
  13. Avatar photo Brakeservo

    Front of that car reminds my of my first wife’s face . . .

    Like 1
  14. Avatar photo Chinga-Trailer

    I just looked at the actual Cracklist ad – the seller is a dealer, most of his better quality stuff he puts on B.A.T. Maybe this isn’t nice enough.

    Like 0
  15. Avatar photo Mountainwoodie

    While I’m partial to the ’55, the ’54 rear end is growing on me. Back in the Eighties I cam within inches of buying a ’55. It was on a used car lot..but I thought three grand was too much. Anyway, the steering wheel is so far from the dash it is somewhat disorienting. There is a lot of real estate between the wheel and the dash. But I think they’re cool nonetheless and especially a two door hardtop. But I also think this might be a bit pricey.

    Like 1
  16. Avatar photo starsailing

    Dad had one, 2dr hdtp Special with white bottom black top, grey and black interior. He also had several other Buicks a 49 fastback and a 53 Roadmaster. The 53 was the first yr V-8. Dad’s 54 was my favorite maybe because it was good time years with the family. Through the years as a grown up I wanted one like dad had. Better than just anyone…there was dad’s 54 Buick Special at the back to The Fifties car show in St Paul Minnesota…with NOTHING changed since the day dad traded it in at a used car lot. New owner was a Dr. at the U of Mn who lived a block away from his workplace for all his years, so the car was barely used. I tried buying it for 30 yrs now plus…the son now 70 yrs old won’t sell for any amount. So back in 1987 I bought a 54 Buick Super Riviera 2dr hdtp, red with white top just to feel how dad felt driving his 54 Buick. Loved it…but owning a 58 Impala had since 73, I had to choose to pay for a new baby boy buy selling the Buick. I still see dad’s 54 at the car show…still won’t sell it… primered a fender, did a little work…and there it is…taunting me. The above car is not the original color as you see that in door jams and fender are under the hood. Still is a GREAT buy for the price.

    Like 0
  17. Avatar photo Del

    56 is nicer

    Like 0

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