1938 Buick Special Opera CoupeSOLD
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Estimate: $40,000-$50,000 US

Offered Without Reserve

AUCTION RESULTS: Lot was Sold at a price of $33,000

Specifications: Series 40, 107bhp, 248 cu. in. Buick Dynaflash overhead valve inline eight-cylinder engine, three-speed manual transmission, independent front and semi-floating rear axle with coil springs, four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 122"

In 1938, Buick offered a diverse model line that included the Special, Century, Limited and Roadmaster, giving customers a very wide selection of wheelbases, engine output, body styles and prices to choose from. The diversity of the line effectively attracted a variety of customers to consider purchasing a Buick. Their convertibles were attractive and sporting, the coupes and sedans were practical and the limousines and special bodied cars offered luxury, style and distinction. Buick enjoyed a good sales year despite an overall market slump and managed to sell over 170,000 cars, moving it all the way up to fourth overall within the American automobile industry in sales, a position it would hold for years to come.

This success can largely be credited to the increasing influence of Harley Earl ’ s Art & Color Department throughout General Motors as well as Buick ’ s General Manager, Harlow Curtice, who in 1938 was still in the process of building a reputation that would eventually take him to the very top of GM ’ s management. Another major contributor to Buick ’ s success in the late 1930s was Charles Chayne. As Engineering Manager at Buick, he attended to the mechanical details; for 1938 these included refinements to Buick ’ s successful Dynaflash overhead valve straight eight, a strengthened frame and the introduction of full coil spring suspension – an innovation that would not be seen on most other marques for twenty years or more.

The 1938 Buick Special offered here features a handsome aerodynamic body, known as the Opera Coupe. It was treated to a complete and total restoration with the aim of returning it to 100% correct, original specifications. Although it may be hard to believe, even the Botticelli Blue Metallic paint is an original factory color, which although rare, was available on Buicks in 1938. Under the hood lies the Buick Dynaflash straight eight-cylinder engine, which is fully detailed and in possession of all the proper markings and accoutrements. The interior was fully restored, making use of all proper materials, which includes the correct wood graining on the dash and the large diameter banjo style steering wheel. With nothing overlooked, the trunk received the same level of attention as the rest of the car and is properly equipped with the correct spare, jack and accessories.

Highly optioned, the Buick is equipped with two fold down jump seats, dual side mounted spares with hard covers, twin driving lights, a radio, a clock, windshield wipers and red steel wheels with chrome covers and rings wrapped in wide whitewall tires. Included in the sale of the Buick is the owner ’ s manual in the original delivery envelope and a detailed glove box diary that details the Buick ’ s maintenance and service records over a 25-year span.

The current owner of the Opera Coupe has had the Buick in his collection for many years, where it was clearly treated to exemplary care before and after its restoration. Given its current condition, it would undoubtedly impress both admirers and concours judges, not only for its uncompromised level of factory correctness, but also for its extremely presentable quality of finish.

Reference Number 11104

as of 7/11/2007

Car 1938 Buick Special Opera Coupe
VIN 33307949 
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