Believed to be the last unrestored 1940 Buick Woody, and one of 12 or 13 total left in existence. Buick only used Biehl Body Co. in Redding, PA for one year - 1940. After 1940, Buick used a cheaper body maker, and it is widely acknowledged that the woodwork, and therefore the cars, were no longer as intricate or attractive. This car is believed to be complete (with backseat) and includes some spares such as fender skirts, extra grill, bumper, bumperettes, various phenolic parts and a "period" portable radio.
This car was purchased new by Warner Bros. Studios in Hollywood, CA - then traded at Howard Buick in 1950 and subsequently purchased by Mr. John Thomson, of Los Angeles. We believe Mr. Thomson was a professional photographer who took the famous picture of the first atomic bomb detonation at Bikini Atoll. The car was sold from his estate after Mr. Thomson's passing in 1985 (copy of the obituary may be available).
More info from the previous owner (#3):
"Re: 1940 Buick Estate Wagon, model '59' bearing 1956 CA lic plate "JPM575" with 1961 reg tags
chassis #: 13837256 engine #: 54033740
Biehl Body Co. ID plate: body # 486 / trim # 1 / paint # 544
(original paint color - maroon, interior trim - dark red leather and wool carpeting)
(body #486, out of a total of 496 for domestic sales and 5 for export)
This car was sold new in the fall of 1940 by Howard Buick in Los Angeles.
NOTE: Charles Howard was the west coast Buick distributor and the owner of 'Seabiscuit'
In 1950 my father's friend John Thomson bought this car from Howard when it was traded in by the original owner, Warner Bros studios. He drove it until 1961, which was the last year that it was registered.
In 1985 I purchased the car from Mr. Thomson's widow and at that time checked out all the mechanicals, got the engine started and drove it around the block a couple times. I then parked it in my garage where it has sat for the last 22 years awaiting a restoration project that unfortunately never came to pass...
The engine and drivetrain are original and [believed to be] functional. The electrical wiring has deteriorated. A new full wire loom with correct color coded fabric wire is included. It has not yet been installed. All lamps, lenses, and trim pieces are present and intact.
The car has the original front seat as well as the removable rear seat and the optional rear fender skirts. There is an extra two piece grill as well as a bumper and bumper over-rider, all rechromed and wrapped up. All the body sheet metal is solid with no rust-out as this car has always been in Los Angeles and has not been subjected to road salt or harsh winters.
The wooden body is northern Ash, while the inset plywood panels are covered in mahogany veneer. With the exception of the tailgate, liftgate and adjacent overhead and vertical rear corner posts which have all suffered deterioration from weathering and dryrot, all of the rest of the body woodwork is in place and intact. All four doors open and close, but their joints are loose and fragile.
I must stress that although much of the wood framing might appear to be refinishable and restorable, that wouild not be a wise course to follow. In order to do a proper restoration and ensure the strength and integrity of the body, ALL of the woodwork should be disassembled and used only as patterns for the fabrication of a new body..."
** All information contained herein is believed to be true and correct, but not guaranteed. Please supplement this information with your own research.