Special Enough For You? 1958 Buick Special

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What a grin–I’m reminded of the steel-toothed character “Jaws” from the James Bond movies! This 1958 Buick Special was purchased from storage in a barn from it’s original family last year. The seller is passing it along now without having done anything to the car. It’s located in Waukon, Iowa and is listed for sale here on eBay with an opening bid of $1,900 and no reserve. 

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Yes, we have some rust here. The seller sounds optimistic and describes it as “lots of surface rust and some panel rot, but otherwise pretty solid.” I’m guessing that it was stored in a dirt floored barn, and I’m wondering how much rust is on the under side.

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The ad states that almost all of the trim is present, and it does look to be mostly that way. However, a lot of the stainless has dents and ripples. I know it can be reshaped, but that is either very expensive or very painstaking to do. The glass is all intact as well, which is great.

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The interior is also somewhat the worse for wear and shows a lot of oxidation and pitting on the metal trim. On the bright side, I can’t see through the floorboards, although maybe that’s just the carpet remnants. I do really like the two-tone dash and interior panels, and the steering wheel alone is a work of art. The padded components would have to be replaced or at least recovered, though.

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This looks like a “Nailhead” 364 V8, but I’m hoping one of you can identify it for sure! The engine is locked up, but I know many stuck engines can be freed up by judicious application of penetrating oil and some elbow grease. Maybe this is one of those? I’m still not sure about the pricing on this Special–what do you folks think? I’d like to see it around $1,000. Let us know what you think in the comments?

 

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Comments

  1. Nessy

    Boy the 58 Buicks were the sharpest 58 model cars made. Well, at least to me. Make mine a mint green and white 58 big top of the line Limited sedan.

  2. maserati

    that’s a lot of rust

  3. MH

    That’s a beautiful car. I would do a 100% stock restoration.

  4. JW454

    When I see cars like this I always think of the day the original owner brought it home. The men in the neighborhood would come over to see what the “Jones’s” bought. The owner, already the expert, explains the newest features as he proudly expands his chest. Then mom and the kids, along with the family dog, pile in to go for that first ride.
    That still happens today but, not with this much style and class.

    • Dave Wright

      One of the things I really enjoyed about my latest visit to the Mercedes factory museum in Stutgart was how they explained there cars in relation to what was going on in society when they were built. It really put into perspective why designs were realivant in there time. It is so easy to observe everything from our prospective and not in the times they were built. This was a super car in its time, owned by people with means and taste.

      • Scotty G

        That’s a great observation, Mr. Wright, and isn’t that a fantastic museum? I was there exactly twenty years ago and I can still picture walking around there for hours.

      • Dave Wright

        We spent a week there. It has to be the best museum for a specific manufacturer there is. Off course, they invented the car. I was there 30 years ago then about the time you were there then last fall. They did not pull any punches, are very upfront about there successes failures and other mistakes, whether political, marketing or design. The Porsche museum is good but a day there is long enough. Porsche has built few uneque cars in its history keeping the same models for many years and sometimes decades. Nothing like the varied history of Mercedes. The Porsche design group is quite interesting, designing the modern Harley engine, several AMC models and off course WW2 German tanks.

      • van

        Sputnik
        The Russians are comming

  5. Nova Scotian

    Its a lot of rust…it would be a serious dedicated soul to tackle for a complete resto….but it’s got lots of wow factor with all its Chrome! Pretty cool sedan.

  6. Vince Habel

    58 Buicks are just plain ugly.

    • Bobsmyuncle

      Here we go again.

  7. AMC STEVE

    There’s nothing “Special” about this one. What’s the scrap price for rust?

  8. Dave57210

    I know that the ’58 Buick (and it’s Oldsmobile sibling) were HUGE cars, but somehow, they have always seemed to me to be a bit “fat and stubby”. Something to do with the proportions I’spose

  9. RON

    You got it Nessie.M y favorite Buick of all times and a black or silver roadmaster limited would be it

  10. Howard A Member

    I always thought the ’58 Buick was the most chrome-laden glitzy car of the late ’50’s. That grill is called the ” Fashion-Aire Dynastar” grill, made up of 160 chrome squares. I suppose if someone really wants a ’58 Buick for whatever reason, and is on a budget, this is where you start, but really, is more of a parts car, as restoration costs would mount in a hurry. Apparently, a “Limited” would be more collectible, but just a ’58 Special here. Bet it was a nice car when new. That plate looks like an early 60’s Iowa plate.

  11. Brad

    You could spend, what – 15? 20 thousand? to find all the right pieces off donors, repair all that rust, repaint, engine overhaul, and more. While I LOVE the black… I’d much rather spend $14K on this one.

    Bonus, it’s snowing outside my window here in Chicago; a weekend in Fort Lauderdale and a leisurely drive north sounds perfect.

    http://miami.craigslist.org/brw/cto/5457931600.html

    • Bobsmyuncle

      Great post! There is no way 14 or 15 K would turn the featured car into a car of this calibre.

  12. Greg

    Bought one in 1973 for $20 out of a junk yard. Everything was nice about the car. Don’t know why it was even there. Put a radiator in it and drove the hell out of it back and forth to college.

  13. Jim

    I don’t mind restoring trim, I have a small top box with everything I need from miniature hammers, tiny anvils and bucks, paper up to 6000 grit I get it done on the kitchen table, them out to the garage for a buff on the big wheel. I love this body style and I’ve never had a nailhead, what a cruising car this could be. Time and real estate are my enemies, just like the rest of us. Good luck to the guy who get it, hope it looks like new soon.

  14. Lee Hartman

    A set of junkyard wheels, tires, and hubcaps (they wouldn’t have to be original), plus a headlight bulb would have made the difference for this car to be more sellable. I don’t know why people expect to haul something out of a barn and ask top dollar without at least cleaning and fixing the car up a little.

    • Bobsmyuncle

      I agree!

    • Jim

      Try to keep on mind not all sellers are lifetime car guys, we would have scrounged up a few trinkets on the way home after picking it up, got the engine to turn or run and taken 15 good photos so the next guy would be drooling. This guy didn’t even have the sense to pull it out and wash it, it takes all kinds

      • Dave Wright

        He only has one to sell……..a bath won’t increase the value, it might make it sell a little quicker but it would change little in the long run.

      • Jim

        Dave, you’re right it wouldn’t change the value but it might attract more attention, make it look more appealing, a few pics under the trunk may, carpet, from underneath, clean off some of the mud. I always felt it helped to show everything, good and bad. I hate looking at cars where the nightmares were carefully hidden until you drive 2hrs, small stuff on a 50yr old car you expect, gaping holes when it was supposed to have surface rust doesn’t make you a happy buyer.

      • Dave Wright

        I have bought and sold something every day for the last 50 years…..an ad is not designed to tell every little nuance about an item, it is where the conversation starts with potential buyers. Too much information is many times counter productive. If someone is a real buyer, he will call and get the additional information he wants. If you are advertising, it is better to run a clean simple ad, relatively short and run it in many places than have a huge long expensive ad only run in one place. It is about exposure. I judge every buyer by the questions he asks, you can immediately tell if he is knowledgeable or even real. Again, there is only one to sell, things change if you have 100 or even 10,000 of them to sell. But you need one quality buyer unless you are running an auction when you need 2 active buyers. I still do a lot of hard publication advertising, small targeted ads run in many places always win.

      • Jim

        Dave, no argument and I’m glad your way works well for you, I don’t sell cars as often, usually tools or parts which are self explanatory with a few facts or pics. I’ve found by offering all the important info up front it avoids a lot of phone calls from “shoppers” trying to chew you down with a million questions and the serious guys(or gals). Both ways work.

    • Bobsmyuncle

      @Dave Wright

      “it would change little in the end”

      Except the perception of you as a seller to potential buyers.

  15. AMCFAN

    In relating the times to the vehicles being built. In 1958 there was a recession. George Romney used the Buicks and Oldsmobile’s as an example as everything wrong with Detroit. He called them Dinosaurs. He believed everyone should have a small sensible car. The Rambler. He was all over the media making a mockery out of GM and it worked. People who never owned an AMC bought them. Families who owned larger cars bought as a second car. 1958 was very profitable for AMC. Romney was interviewed many years later in retirement. He at the time was still driving an AMC Concord. He disliked the direction the company had taken after he left and went to Congress. He believed had the company stayed the coarse Renault would have never been involved and that AMC would have bought Chrysler! Wouldn’t that be nice that new Retro Challenger would be a Javelin!

    58 Buicks have their niche as being one of the most trimmed out vehicles ever made. I think $1800 is very high. $500-$800 is more like it. It cost basically the same to restore a four door then its two door counterpart. I would spend more and put my money in a hardtop. The 59/60’s Space Age Buicks were the answer to Chryslers Forward “Suddenly it is 60” look. The 57/58 Plymouths have to be one of the best looking in the era with the razor thin roof line.

    • Ed P

      George Romney understood how small AMC was compared to the Big 3 and he took the company in the direction of a niche builder. Roy Abernathy thought he could change that and remake AMC a full line manufacturer and abandoned the successful route that Romney chose. Abernathy was out in a few years.

  16. andy

    Reminds me of downtown Havana.

  17. Woodie Man

    I saw these in Havana in 2000!

    Thats a lot if rising damp creating that rust…..looks like it was marinated in a foot of water..too bad

  18. Tony - Australia

    I may stand corrected here but wasn’t the ’58 Buick the most chrome laden car America ever produced ?
    I have a friend here in Australia who was offered AUS$200,000 for a fully restored 4 door sedan ??? in 2010 and knocked it back, I reckon he was ‘nuts’ but it takes all kinds !
    Apparently he had something like AUS$145,000 into it after 4 years of resto, the rechroming alone cost him $32,000 but it was better than perfect if that’s possible!

  19. Barry T

    Sorry, I thought the 1958 Buicks were ugly back in 1958 when I was in high school and time has not made them any lovelier.

  20. AMCFAN

    Dave, Just caught your reply. I agree with too much info in an ad. What kinds of items do you sell? Cars/parts? If you don’t mind someone asking? Maybe post a link. You sound like a very interesting person

    • Dave Wright

      I own a marine salvage company but have bought and sold marine and industrial equipment since 1970. Most of the cars I buy these days are to keep………….but everything gets sold eventually. Owned 2 foreign car shops but always made more buying and selling. I do lots of government equipment, whatever interestes me at the time, I used to buy horses to run through the auction in Chino to make extra money when I was first in the service. Have done lots of airplanes, scrap dealing, military vehicles…….I buy guns but don’t sell many…..have tug boats, barges and cranes strung all over the coast. I owned truck companies for a couple of decades, a hydraulic repair company, lots of generators, pumps, forklifts, just stuff. It truly is a mental disorder. My résumé is getting long, I must be getting old……..I haven’t worked for a pay check in close to 40 years but have employed a lot of people.

      • Jim

        You’re operating on a way bigger scale than myself. I don’t think it’s a mental disorder, it’s a way if life, as long as the family is fed it’s no one’s place to make commentary about it. Until I went on disability I worked steady, starting with part time jobs while in school. I liked the steady check and benefits and still had my cars, bought and sold whatever and lived it. Now I do everything at a slower pace and need a hand with the heavy stuff but I still play. I wont grow old and wither away in front of the tv if I can help it, I like going to bed sore and exhausted even if it took all day to accomplish 2hrs work.

      • Dave Wright

        I am in the same boat. Had to learn to make a living on other peoples labor. Bad heart from nearly 40 years of Diabetes. Many times these days scale is the only way to make a living, when profit is slim on each deal, you have to do a lot of deals. I find a lot more margin in strange items that fewer people understand or know about. There is less competition. That is what drove me from the trucking industry into the Marine world. I have made a lot of money on other people’s fears. I knew a guy…….he was a used car dealer by trade…….that took a chance on a jumbled truckload lot of stuff being sold at one of the idaho government nuclear plants. Paid little,or nothing for it. As he was sorting through the lot discovered a very sensitive part of a nucular trigger. He advertised it for some crazy number, had a lot of interest from bad guys. The fed sued him trying to get it back but lost. They paid his asking price, I think over a million dollars to get it back. Lots of fun stories like that.

      • Jim

        Diabetes(like some others) is a bitch, I’m lucky so far, I take two pills(metformin) a day and be careful with my diet and I’ve been good for 15yrs. I have RSD + spinal stenosis and some other issues but I just keep trying as best I can. I’m happy to get up each day and still have my sons, hoping for grandkids! Drop the kids at school in my Torino and do a quick burnout! You gotta have something to look forward to.

    • Dave Wright

      Just closed ( 5 min ago) a pair of diesel Military John Deere Gators that will be fun to play with. 6X4’s.

  21. Ed P

    Except for stripped models, all GM cars were over chromed in ’58. I wonder how much the chrome on this Buick adds to the total weight?

    • Jim

      I’ll guess the front bumper and grill are over 150lbs.

  22. Keith

    While a 58 Olds is still probably my favorite 50’s car, the B-52’s aren’t far behind. however, pass on this one. I prefer the 4 door hardtops and this one has a lot of rust (okay most of the 58’s do I know). I am surprised though that between Olds and Buicks there were almost 400,000 1958 models produced, yet you rarely see any for sale and I can’t recall ever seeing any of these at a car show, ever.

  23. Jim

    I think they fell out of fashion with car guys and the general public got a long time, including being not so fuel efficient in the seventies and worth a bunch per pound at other times. Like everything else if you keep it long enough it comes back in style, but the old ties in my closet take up less space!

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