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Rusty Runner: 1938 Buick Coupe

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The 1938 Buick was said to be the first American production car to go over 100 MPH. I’m thinking this one is a long way from trying to duplicate that feat! This rusty old Buick is listed on craigslist in Mesa, Arizona for $7500. It appears to be very original and complete. It runs and drives, but will need brakes to stop. The sale includes a replacement for that rusty fender. There’s no word on rust in the rest of the car.


Rebuild the master cylinder and you’l have a running and driving car. Replace the damaged fender with the one included and you’ll have a car with lots of patina and not much rust showing. The interior will need some help to make it usable. How much would you do to this old Buick? This looks like one of those cars you could enjoy driving while restoring it over time. Or you could just leave it alone and drive it!


  1. Avatar photo Duffy


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  2. Avatar photo John F

    It looks cool, I like it

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  3. Avatar photo Rich

    Very complete from the looks of it! Excellent candidate for a mild street rod.

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  4. Avatar photo Charles H.

    Keep it looking stock, but with a modern V8 and running gear!

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  5. Avatar photo Mark S

    This car deserve a buyer that will totally restore it. I’ll bet there aren’t many of these left. If it were mine I’d restore it as it looks like it has a straight 8 in it, which would deliver plenty of power. GM cars are usually easer to find parts for which would make keeping it roadworthy easier, very cool car.

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  6. Avatar photo Donnie

    I think it is worth doing it like it was in 1938’I don’t no how it happened but I’m sick of this craze people build rat rods /I liked hot rods a lot better /and 20 years ago patina meant a rusty old POS .

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    • Avatar photo Mark S

      I’m with you on this patina thing, it’s popular because it’s cheep and requires no skill to fix. I am not a fan of patina.

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  7. Avatar photo Rick

    Some of the later straight 8 pre-war Buicks had dual carbs and if equipped with the standard three speed transmission were pretty doggone fast

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  8. Avatar photo Jim Marshall

    A friend had a 38 Special convertible several years ago fully restored. I drove it to a car show for him and those cars were a hand full. Floor shifter, no power anything. I don’t how woman drove these things back then. He sold it for over 50 K.

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    • Avatar photo Mark S

      For thows of you that don’t no much about streering angles. There are basically three angles camber, caster, and toe-in. camber is the inward or outward tilt of the front wheels taken at the top. Caster is the forward or rearward tilt of the front wheels taken at the top. Toe in or out is the inward or outward tilt of the front wheel taken at the front camber will give road stability and road crown off set as well as smooth edge tire wear if not set right. Caster can make steering heavy or light and is usually set heavier on cars with power streering as it also helps with road stability. This is where you get a lighter steering wheel on these old car. Toe in is required to help compensate for road drag to insure that the tires are straight and true while rolling forward.toe in or out will cause cupping wear on the edge of the tire, caster doesn’t usually cause wear. So the only thing that I can say is if your car is steering heavy grease it and lighten the caster angles.

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  9. Avatar photo Lee H.

    This coupe is a Special. It has the smaller of the two straight eight engines offered that year. The 100 mile per hour car was the Century. The Century combined the smaller body from the Special with the larger engine from the Roadmaster and Limited series. That said, this coupe would still be a great candidate for restoring. But if I had it, I’d do the mechanicals and leave the appearance as is.

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  10. Avatar photo gunningbar

    Maybe it comes with some steel sheets to fabricate the rest of the car (ok… thats cruel)

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  11. Avatar photo Doug Towsley

    Cool car, and in pretty good shape compared to many i see. Will be a fun project for someone. This could go either way,,, Restoration, or
    a hot rod with modern drive train, brakes, suspension etc..
    Hope it goes to a good home.

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  12. Avatar photo Craig

    I’d keep the car basically original except for the drivetrain, a modern V8 + all the modern conveniences,,,, bring the body & interior back to as it was when new. What cracks me up on ALL the posts for ALL the barn finds , not just this one, is all the stupid uncalled for negative, snarky, salty comments by keyboard commando’s. Apparently they didnt listen when they were told to keep their mouths shut if they have nothing nice to say.

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    • Avatar photo Doug Towsley

      Amen Craig, i too am getting really tired of the mean spirited comments. Its one thing to have an honest discussion, and another thing entirely to call for scrapping a viable vehicle or some of the other comments. I have curtailed some of my comments on this because i thought perhaps i was in the minority and perhaps that was instead the vein of discussion. A freshman high schoolers cool girls clique making snarky comments about others. Thanks for clearing the air.
      Sheesh, If my 3 prewar rat rods were posted on here you really would hear some comments. This car here looks way better than my old heaps of rust and bullet holes. I thought it was truly a thing of beauty.

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  13. Avatar photo Lion

    Woohoo! You go CRAIG

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  14. Avatar photo Jussi Puumalainen

    I have this Buick in Finland, she have original straight 8, transmission and rear end. I found 1941-42 two barrel intake an exhaust manifold, not installed yet and chrome valve, spark plug and side covers from old showcar. Next winter I’m try to take some power out of the engine. I wanna build Buick like it built custom in the ‘50s. In photo she’s without hood, because we were racing into sandtrack. Some reason, I can’t attach image.

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  15. Avatar photo Clarence jones Member

    I would buy this car in a hearth beat in keep it original rust or no rust call me I will buy it quick 708 776 1958

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