Wednesday 1 February 2017
The Buick Special was an automobile produced by Buick. It was usually Buick's lowest-priced model, starting out as a full-size car in 1936 and returning in 1961 (after a two-year hiatus) as a mid-size.
By 1970, Special was no longer offered as a standalone model but the name would later be used for the entry trim on 1975 to 1979 and 1991 to 1996 Century models.
The entry level Buick can trace its heritage to the Buick Model 10, a companion to Buick's first car, the Buick Model B. The Model 10 started out as one of the independent brands merged into Buick, called the Janney.
From 1936 to 1958, Buick's Special model range represented the marque's entry level full-size automobile. The '36 was a very successful year for Buick and also marked the first time of using names rather than the simple serial numbers which had been in use before. The Special continued to also be known as the 40-series, however. The first Specials rode on a 118 in (3.0 m) wheelbase, but for the next model year this was increased to 122 in (3.10 m) as all Buicks grew for that year. The engine was also new, and was now of 248 cu in (4.1 L) rather than 233 cu in (3.8 L). The Special (and all other Buicks as well) underwent a full restyling for 1939, with a more enclosed nose and a wider grille. The wheelbase was also two inches shorter. For 1940, there was the usual restyle and the wheelbase increased by an inch. This was also the only model year that a four-door convertible Special ("Sport Phaeton") was offered, although only 552 were built.
For 1941 the bodywork was again all new, with the front fenders now very closely integrated into the cars overall design. The Estate Wagon migrated from being a Super into the Special lineup. Also new was the 40-A series (the regular Special now being the 40-B), a version on a three inches shorter wheelbase which shared its body with the 1941 Chevrolet. These two series, with a restyle reminiscent of the 1939 Y-Job, continued into the abbreviated 1942 model year. Production ended on 4 February 1942. For 1946 only the larger Special range remained available, still using the prewar B-body. The '46 Special is rare, representing less than 2% of Buick's production that year. The Special continued with minor changes until the prewar body was finally replaced halfway through the 1949 model year. Post-war Specials were only available as a four-door sedan or a two-door "sedanet", until the new 1949 models arrived.
In the movie Mildred Pierce, Veda Pierce, Mildred's daughter, played by actress Ann Blyth, was given a 1940 Buick Special convertible as a gift.
The movie Small Town Conspiracy features a 1939 Buick Special 8 that the main character of the film John Haleran (Zen Gesner) drives as his official police car. The car remained the property of director Ralph Clemente and was untouched for many years until sold to Florida restorer and car collector Axel Caravias.
- engine: V8
- capacity: 3654 cc
- horsepower: 93 HP
- gearbox: 3+1
- top speed: 129 km/h