OK, I've been teasing this long enough.
I've been looking for something like this for a while now. I joined a club of fellow enthisiasts to find it. And in April, I saw an ad for just what I was looking for. And I went and got it. It was delivered to me Sunday.
This 1951 Buick Special Riviera is sitting in the garage at my mother's house. I still can't believe it's mine.
It all just fell into place. I had been looking on Hemmings website for months for early 50's Pontiacs or Buicks. Then I joined the Buick Club of America, figuring I liked those best and any members selling on there would be in it for the enjoyment of the cars and not trying to hawk rustbuckets for a quick buck.
Lo and behold, in the April issue of the Buick Bugle magazine, I saw the ad for this one. Garaged all its life, they just wanted it to go to a good home. It checked all the boxes for what I was looking for. I decided "Life Is Short." and figured out when I could take off and go see it. The catch was, it was in Menlo Park, California. I live in Maryland.
But what the heck. I booked flight and hotel, and went out on May 7. Drove it the next day and we made the sale. The owner couldn't have been nicer. His father in law owned the car originally, but commuted to work, so the mileage was very low. Then they got it and only put 1500 more on it.
It was repainted, rechromed, and reupholstered in 2002. And it never went east of Sacramento its whole life. I booked a shipper and they picked it up a week ago. (The owner was out of town in between.)
I got the call yesterday at noon and met the shipper in a Home Depot parking lot.
Took it home and introduced it to my old Ford. To my surprise, the Buick is just a bit longer.
I've driven it now three times total. It's a workout. It's an automatic, but has no power steering. It's going to take a while to get used to driving it. I also got the shop manual, and reprints of the owner's manual, and a second book on the DynaFlow engine (inline 8 cylinder). Plus some extra vintage light bulbs, radio tubes, weather stripping, air ducting and a custom cover.
My favorite part is the piano style hood that opens from either side. The engine was repainted with all the stencils and labels too.
So Topps can celebrate their 70th anniversary and that's cool and all, but this car was made the same year they started and I like it's design much better. I considered picking a card from the '51 Red and Blue Backs set to hang on the mirror or something, but there weren't any west coast teams yet, and I don't really have a favorite player that far back except for Willie "Puddin' Head" Jones, who I started collecting just to see the 50's cards. I looked through the Topps World On Wheels set, but the closest thing there was a '53 Roadmaster convertible, which is just too different than mine.
So that's what I've been preoccupied with the last month or so. I finally got some stacks of cards put away in the last couple days. I need to get back to sorting my football hoard and generating more trades. I've got a lot of work to do on all three cars now too. Like my old boss used to say, "It keeps us entertained."