Super Barn Find! 1948 Buick Super

When I first laid eyes on this Buick Super, I thought of the silver & black two-tone Cadillac Fleetwood that makes several appearances in the movie, The Godfather. It is a rather stunning color combination and maybe one that you wouldn’t think you would find on a car of this era. Apparently, it wasn’t that uncommon in the ’40s. Here is a similarly festooned 1948 Buick Special, located in Caldwell, Idaho and available here on eBay with a current bid of $3,550, reserve not yet met. There is a BIN price option of $25,000.

In 1948, the Super was Buick’s in-between model with the Roadmaster positioned above it and the Special bringing up the rear as the entry-level Buick. All Buicks in 1948 had the designation of “Buick Eight” because all three trim levels used one of two different Buick straight eight-cylinder engines. As I mentioned at the outset, the two-tone paint job is what initially caught my attention. And while this two-tone treatment was an option on ’48 Buick’s, the seller tells us that it is not original to this particular example. It started life in Verde Green but was zoot-suited with this hip black & silver paint treatment somewhere in its past.

This Super has a 248 CI “Fire-Ball” straight eight-cylinder engine good for 115 HP. This motor comes with the extra-special “ran well when parked” warranty. The problem is that it was parked 40 years ago so there’s no telling what it would take to get this Fire-Ball fired up again. Following the engine is a three-speed manual transmission with what the seller thinks is a chipped tooth on second gear though it didn’t inhibit operation 40 years ago.

The interior of this Super is very typical for its era and age. These cars and similar models of the time had beautiful dashboards – in some sense, they were works of art. While the dash and instruments look great, the front seat upholstery and door cards show 71 years of age and 89,000 miles worth of motoring. Interestingly, the seats are original but the seller informs us that they are covered over by seat covers that are visible in the images. The interior’s wear is pretty typical, or you could make the case that it is even better than typical, considering the age and mileage – this car appears to have been stored well.

The seller claims that this Super is starting to rust but none of it is rust-through; surface problems only. Beyond this one image, there aren’t any others that show the true condition of the body or underside so a closer inspection would be warranted. Too bad there aren’t a few more complete images of this Buick’s exterior with the listing – it would help get the sales job done. Anyway, the body panels look straight and well-aligned, they really accentuate the two-tone finish along the various character lines.

This Super would seem to be a very solid base for a rejuvenation. I refer to it as such because this Super doesn’t seem to need a complete restoration. The only outlier is the engine – we’re into unknown territory there. The good news is that Buick straight-eights are very popular and in a matter of minutes, I was able to find several on-line articles regarding Fire-Ball rebuilds – they are well-known engines. If you are looking for this vintage Buick, I think this one warrants a closer look, how about you?


  1. canadainmarkseh

    That is one classy car but based on its current condition $25k is pie in the sky. I’d say more realistically its a good buy at about $10k to $12k. It needs a complete mechanical inspection and repair, the interior needs work the glass looks poor and the paint needs to be touched up. All that and it’s still just a nice driver quality car. I do like and it would make a nice DIY project.

    Like 18
  2. DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

    A beauty, potentially at least.
    There appears to be air in the tires, so drag it out of the garage and take some proper photos, already!

    And I agree with canadainmarkseh, no way this will bring anywhere near the lister’s BIN amount. Bidders might get halfway there….

    Like 9
    • dantheman

      Hagerty has them in “2” condition for about half the BIN price.
      It is not a 2 car.
      It is at $7100 now, that’s about it for this one.

      Like 4
  3. John P

    Too many zeros on that Bob..

    Like 2
  4. Bob McK Member

    Beautiful car, but I just sold an 8K mile ’52 Dodge that looked and ran like new for $15K. This one has not run for 40 years and will need a ton of work to get it back on the road. I wouldn’t think it is worth more than 5K, as is.

    Like 16
    • Gary Miles Thompson

      At first glance – classy car..On second and third look – 5K is plenty..,

      Like 6
  5. Del

    I think Bob covered it.

    Like 2
  6. Schmuck281 Member

    Is this the “Buick Eight” that Stephen King wrote about? Could be another reason to give it a miss.

    Like 3
  7. Joe Cat

    Gorgeous design. This car also on Hemmings for 13k.

    Like 3
    • Bob McK Member

      Someone has a weird way to try to sell a car. Hemmings $13K OBO.
      Ebay BIN $25K.
      Personally I would never bid on a car that is worth what this car is worth if the BIN was $25K.
      Good luck to the seller. There is some funny business going on.

      Like 4
  8. 86_Vette_Convertible

    Love these era cars. One thing that really trips my trigger is the way the hood tips to one side vs. opens vertically from the front. It’s the unusual aspect of the car that make it so desirable to me.

    Like 2
    • anav8r

      I thought I remember the hood opening from either side…?

      Like 2
      • Pete Phillips

        That’s what he means–you can open it on one side–choose your side. And yes, you can open it on both sides if you have two people to hold it.

        Like 2
  9. Steve H.

    I love the old fastback GM sedanette body style of this era and the Buick is my favorite. The way the front fender lines flow thru the doors ending in the rear pontoons is just beautiful. But with no way to know the condition of the fireball engine, too much of a crap shoot to bid on this one. You would have to bid assuming the engine likely needs a rebuild (and trans too) but if they didn’t, you’d be shouting praise god to the skies.

    Too risky… Pass.

    Like 4
  10. deak stevens Member

    Paint job has to go! I think the person who prept it for paint was blindfolded.

    Like 1
  11. charlie Member

    Not a museum piece, and they were great road cars, you would have no problem keeping up with today’s 70 mph plus traffic, the Super had the bigger engine, I would install a dual master cylinder, and, if I could find a disc brake set up that would fit, do it, and bias look radial tires.
    Then, be forewarned, the engine ran so hot that restarting, on a hot day, was difficult, 40 years ago when they were common on “old car” tours you would se them with the hood up, at every stop, to cool the engine down, so it would start. I think the starter motor would get so hot that it would almost seize, that would happen with my ’67 Pontiac with the 400 engine, once the starter cooled, it would turn right over and go.

    Like 1
    • Charles Turner

      Charlie, I think another fairly common problem was “vapor lock”……Pop had a ’56 Buick Special that would do it if run hard on a hot summer’s day. Saw a nice 2 tone green ’48 Special sedanette for sale a number of years back at the Daytona Speedway Turkey Rod Run. If I wasn’t in the middle of restoring a ’48 Chev Fleetmaster Sport Coupe & had the room for it at the time……I would’ve snagged it! 😉

  12. chad thomas

    I have a 40′ Limited with the 320 in it. always starts, hot or cold it does not care. I run it in the sweltering heat and it just does what it was designed to do, run smooth and quietly.

    Like 3
  13. Keruth

    went to $7.6k, relisted w/same pictures. It’s in Idaho, c’mon man, get real or more pictures at least.
    $7k was pretty good imho!

    Like 5
    • Del

      Yup. But who was bidding ?? 😉😉

  14. Kevin

    My dad had a 52 Buick with a straight 8 and the only problem he told me that he had keeping it running was caused by “vapor lock”.
    As the story goes, the old mechanic at the dealership “fixed” the problem by placing several clothespins on the fuel line that ran right over the extra long exhaust. The “fix” was still evident over 40 years later when I found the car in it’s final resting place in a ditch on a local farmer’s land.

    Like 2
  15. Pete

    I have a ’53 Super that has been completely rebuilt mechanically and has a decent interior and 20 foot paint. Runs absolutely perfect. I don’t think I could get more than 15K for it as it sits. 25K bin seems high for this car, pretty as it is. Buick parts ain’t cheap and this appears to need a few.

    Like 4
  16. TimM

    I like the way the paint job enhances the lines on this car!! The classic dash is clean as is the interior!!! The straight six is bullet proof and will run a long time with regular maintenance!! This car should be preserved the way it is!! It’s to nice to chop or hot rod!! There is some visible rust but not bad for a 71 year old car!! The only thing I’m not crazy about is the price!!

    Like 1
  17. Hans Henniges

    These cars are rarely seen, but likely it needs a complete paint job despite the unknown engine condition. This is a lot of work. My ’53 Roadmaster Riviera just received one. The paint guy, a 72 year old real artist, claimed to put 320 hours into it. Of course with a little welding here and there and removing little dents. These cars are huge. This 48 looks magnificent from the side. Not such a big fan of the 47/48 grill, before and after much nicer. Never understand that people don’t remove the seat covers. And isn’t everybody interested to see it from underneath? At least a few lousy pics to see the rockers…. My 2 cents….

    Like 1
  18. ccrvtt

    When I saw the first picture I immediately understood the ‘bow wave’ styling of the 1968 Buicks. I thought it looked pretty goofy then but it has aged well.

    It looks outstanding on this car with the elegant two-tone treatment. Ebay ended not sold at $7,650 – probably all the money.

    The more I see cars of this era the more I appreciate the sheer artistry and coherence of the designs.

    Nice find. Wildly overpriced, but still a nice find.

    Like 1
  19. Charles Turner

    Charlie, I think another fairly common problem was “vapor lock”……Pop had a ’56 Buick Special that would do it if run hard on a hot summer’s day. Saw a nice 2 tone green ’48 Special sedanette for sale a number of years back at the Daytona Speedway Turkey Rod Run. If I wasn’t in the middle of restoring a ’48 Chev Fleetmaster Sport Coupe & had the room for it at the time……I would’ve snagged it! 😉

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