Solid Classic Wagon: 1956 Buick Century Station Wagon

The owner of this 1956 Buick Century Station Wagon describes it as being 99.9% rust free, and the photos that he provides certainly seem to paint a pretty positive picture. It is going to need a complete restoration, but the result will be a pretty stunning looking car. If you wish to get your hands on a classic station wagon, then you will find the Buick located in Fort Worth, Texas, and listed for sale here on eBay. At the time of writing, bidding is sitting at $5,500, but the reserve hasn’t been met. There is a BIN option available for anyone who really just has to own this old classic, and this has been set at $11,000.

There’s plenty of surface corrosion on the Buick, but actual rot seems to be pretty rare. If the car has spent the majority of its life in its current location, then this probably isn’t particularly surprising. I can just imagine that if the Century was to be restored and repainted in its original color combination of Electric Blue and Dover White, it would be a great looking car. There are a few trim pieces that will need to be attended to, such as some broken lenses on some of the lights, and a broken grille. Otherwise, the car does appear to be complete.

The interior of the Buick is an area that has taken a bit of a pounding over the years, and there are certainly some issues to be attended to. It is essentially complete, but a full restoration is going to be needed. The front seat is going to need at least a new cover, although the padding may also need to be replaced due to damage. The rear seat looks like it has received a new cover at some point, but this is torn, and the original is visible underneath. It would be interesting to get a good look at that original cover, because it might actually be okay. I think that there might have been a bit of re-trimming undertaken at some point in the car’s life, as while the optional safety dash pad is present, it also doesn’t appear to be the right color. The steering wheel is also pretty sad, so that will also need to be replaced. On the positive side of the ledger, the majority of this work could be completed in a home workshop, and the simple act of restoring the interior would make a huge difference to the overall appearance of the car.

The news isn’t too bad under the hood. With the Century being marketed as Buick’s performance range, there was no point in shoving some anemic power-plant under the hood, so Buick went hard on the engine front. The 322ci V8 fitted to this Century pumps out 255hp and sends the power to the rear wheels via the Dynaflow 2-speed automatic transmission. This is not a light car, but it could still accelerate from 0-60mph in around 10.3 seconds, which was pretty respectable at the time. The gas tank of this car has been removed and cleaned, but it has not been reinstalled at this stage. However, the owner does say that the engine starts and runs, but doesn’t indicate whether the car moves under its own power. The Buick is also fitted with power steering and power brakes.

This Buick Century has so much potential, and it really does appear to be a fairly straightforward restoration proposition. Once restored, it would be a great looking car, and with only 8,160 Century Station Wagons being built during the 1956 model year, solid examples are becoming increasingly difficult to find. Like most classic station wagons, they continue to increase in value, and this one should be no exception to that rule.

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Comments

  1. Rosko

    Wow. Hard to believe that such a substantial piece of art and mechanical wonder once rolled off assembly lines intended for the American middle class and not just kings or presidents. What a lot of bang for the the 1950s family buck!

    Like 14
  2. Bob S

    I owned several Buicks from that period, and my only caution would be to make certain that the transmission is working perfectly before you put out that much coin to buy the car. I grew to hate the Dynaflow transmission, and although I was able to find a Buick 3 speed transmission, flywheel and all the other pieces to convert to a standard, even back in 1960 the pieces were difficult to find. Finding someone to overhaul the tranny, and finding the parts could be an issue. The Dynaflow was smooth, but it was definitely not a performance transmission.
    I like the car, it is one of my favourite years for Buicks, but if I was going to do any amount of driving in the car, I would look at the possibility of swapping to a TH400 or 700R4.
    Bob

    Like 19
    • ACZ

      Not an easy swap by any means. Remember, these were torque-tube drive. To go to and open driveline would be a fundamental change in rear suspension.

    • scottymac

      I’m surprised if you went through the trouble of switching to a three speed, you didn’t mention the torque tube drivetrain and all the headaches involved. Switching to a newer transmission involves a lot of expenses detailed in this STREET RODDER magazine article.

      https://www.hotrod.com/articles/modernizing-1954-buick-updated-transmission-rearend/

      If this were a ’57 Caballero hardtop wagon, maybe, but as Rex pointed out, this one looks like a money pit that would never pay back your investment.

      Like 1
    • John Deebank

      Luckily my 56 came standard trans from the factory. I broke the driveshave cover going through rough construction. Very hard to find a replacement. They are 1 inch different in length than the auto trans. When it happened again (stop laughing, my town’s main street took 2 years to complete) I had it welded,balanced and machined for less than a replacement. The last one took almost 11/2 years to find. I loved the standard trans and won many races. I once laid rubber for 1/2 a mile on the country roads rewarding myself with a flat tire on the way home. I had standard trans on most of my cars (Fords, Chevs) after this one.

      Like 1
  3. Rex Kahrs Member

    I love this car, but characterizing is as a “fairly straightforward” restoration project makes it sound easy, and it will be anything but easy.

    Sourcing parts for this 63-year-old beauty may be the easiest thing about restoring it. It’s gonna cost what…8K to buy it? Then let’s say 10K in body and paint at minimum. Chrome? 5,000 probably. Mechanicals will be another 5K if the engine runs as is. Interior, 5K at least. I’m probably low on all this stuff. Now you’ve got 33K into the car, and a lot of time and work. What’s a restored one cost?

    This is one I’d drive as-is after the mechanicals are safe.

    Like 9
  4. Miguel

    It says the car is in Texas, but the car has no plates nor does it have an inspection sticker on the windshield, so I wonder where it is really from.

    Like 1
    • NovaTom

      No need for inspection if you register it as an antique vehicle.

  5. TimM

    The front and rear bumpers are worth the price of admission!!! Super cool lower it a little!! You don’t have to bag it!! Some new rims and tires!! Go through the brakes and get the engine running like a clock!!!! Then drive the tires off it!!!

    Like 4
  6. Andre

    Beautiful car deserving of love.

    Not sure why but the staged surfboard pictures kind of irk me. But hey.. beats a bunch of low-lit dust covered ones I suppose.

    Like 6
  7. Ben T. Spanner

    I agree on the Dynaflow, I daily drove a 1953 Cadillac Hearse that had Dynaflow due to the Hydramatic factory fire. It accelerated like a bus. These mid 1950 cruisers of many makes could be nice daily drivers with updates to transmissions and brakes. Hydramatic was always decent. Powerglide is okay. Three speed Torqueflight was a game changer.

    Like 2
  8. B

    If it doesn’t move under it’s own power, someone did a hell of a lot of work to stage the photos.

  9. Arby

    “99.9% rust free”
    Yeah, right.
    Reminds me of the ad that stated the car had “never seen snow” – pictured in front of a snowbank…

    Like 4
  10. Bob McK Member

    They meant to day 99.9 percent rusty. But restored will be one beautiful car. It

    Like 1
    • Bruce Jackson

      Oh, I thought it meant that 99.9% of the rust was free, and that you only pay for the remaining .1%

      Like 4
  11. Bruce Fischer

    I had one and worked on it for 3 years. Looked good when I got done with it but some one before me got in and messed with the wiring. What a electrical night mare it was. I was glad to see it go down the road. Bruce.

    Like 1
    • John Deebank

      I like your e-brake Bruce.

      Like 1
  12. Bob McK Member

    Thank you Bruce Jackson. You made me LOL. I needed that.

  13. cliffoswald

    No one mentioned the four side ornaments. Not a Roadmaster?

    • Dominic Martinelli

      All Buicks, with the exception of the Special, had 4 Ventiports from 1955 to 1957.

  14. Rex Kahrs Member

    I had a ’65 Skylark a few years back with many electrical issues, so I decided it needed a new dash wiring harness. That harness connects at the firewall fuse block, and runs all the stuff under the dash basically. The replacement harness cost me $700.

    I started at the farthest point of the harness, at the glove box if I recall, carefully unplugging the old harness and plugging in the new one, all the while laying on my back looking under the dashboard. I finally got the fuse block end of the harness installed, and went then to connect the engine harness to the new dash harness. But something wasn’t right…the engine harness wouldn’t plug in to the new dash harness. It took a few minutes, but I figured out that the previous owner, when doing some front clip work, had somehow plugged the engine harness into the fuse block UPSIDE DOWN. Obviously this was the cause of all the electrical glitches.

    It was a lesson that probably could have only been learned by replacing the harness, as there weren’t any visual clues. The new harness did fix the problems…like when you turned on the radio, the wipers came on; step on the brights and Hotel California came on the radio, and so on……

    Like 2
  15. Chuck Simons

    I saw this and my heart skipped a beat!!!.. HEavy, comfortable hiway cruiser. Of course, I just did pay 4.09 for a gallon of gas.

  16. scottymac

    Paying for that California sunshine? I was grousing when I paid $2.79 last fill up in Indianapolis.

    • Scott Valley

      Lol. I am outbid on the 56 at the moment but there’s still hope. It did lead me to what I think is a 58 Caballero that is a total nightmare on eBay. It may led to some problems with my marriage!

  17. Rick

    If these cars were free they would be to much. One commenter had a low total of 33k without rebuilding engine or trans or counting your man ours . 50k easy you put in the man hours at minimum wage add another 20k . 70 k buys a lot of finished car now days.

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