1952 Buick Roadmaster Harlow Curtice LimousineSOLD

RM Auction - Vintage Motor Cars at Amelia Island - March 10, 2007

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ESTIMATE: $50,000 - $70,000


$110,000 Sold

Est. 200hp, 320.2 cu. in. inline eight-cylinder overhead valve engine, Dynaflow transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs, live axel rear suspension with coil springs, four-wheel power drum brakes. Wheelbase: 130.8"

Having started his career with Champion Spark Plugs, Harlow H. Curtice became the head of Buick in 1933, and eventually assumed the position of Executive Vice-President of General Motors in 1948. Curtice was the logical successor to Charles E. Wilson as president and C.E.O. of General Motors when Wilson became Dwight D. Eisenhower ’ s Secretary of Defense in 1953. When Curtice commissioned his custom-built limousine shortly before assuming his position as C.E.O., it came as no surprise that he chose to have it built using a Buick.

It is this unique, custom-built 1952 Buick Roadmaster Limousine that RM Auctions is proud to offer here. Based on the 130 _ inch long wheelbase 72R chassis, the Roadmaster was extensively modified by General Motors ’ creative department where Harley Earl ’ s concept cars and GM Motorama cars were built. Flaunting Buick ’ s successes, smooth power comes from a valve-in-head 320.2 cubic inch straight eight Dynaflash engine, ease of operation from a Dynaflow automatic transmission and a superlative ride comes thanks to an all coil spring suspension. The engine was fitted with the four-barrel carburetion standard on Roadmasters of 1952; it was outfitted for an 8:1 compression ratio and was given a special camshaft to deliver performance in the 200 horsepower range.

The roof was removed and replaced with a sloping rear profile, padded limousine-style roof. The rear door window frames were removed and replaced with rounded pattern frames and windows to fit the redesigned blind quarter roof. The car received hydraulic lifts for the all the exterior windows, the center divider window and, a first for GM, it received hydraulic operated vent windows. The windows were controlled with special switches and panels seen only on other GM concept cars.

The inside door handles were replaced with sliding-style handles similar to those on the Cadillac Eldorado concept car and unique to 1952. In addition to the power steering, power brakes, back-up lamps and a signal seeking radio, the limousine features special floor heaters and ducting to the rear compartment. In typical limousine fashion, the front chauffer ’ s compartment is appointed in very dark blue leather and the passenger compartment is light blue broadcloth; rear area wood graining is a spectacular green.

The Buick was acquired directly from General Motors by Lynch Buick in Chicago where it remained until it was purchased by its first private owner in 1988. Only a year or two later it was acquired by the famous Bortz Collection of concept and prototype automobiles. Approximately 16 years later, Mr. Bortz offered the car at RM ’ s Vintage Motor Cars in Arizona auction, where it was obtained by the Motorcar Portfolio collection. Since that time, in its latest ownership, the car was treated to a an extensive cosmetic restoration which included a bare metal respray in Cobalt Blue, fresh chrome and polished stainless trim, as well as new period correct wide whitewall tires. The interior upholstery and top were not replaced, as they were both in very presentable condition.

Harlow Curtice ’ s 1952 Buick Roadmaster limousine is a one-of-a-kind piece of automotive history. It is unmistakably a Buick, from the heavy chrome grille elements through to the characteristic ventiports and sweep spear. It is a Buick designed for someone at the pinnacle of America ’ s industrial, commercial and financial community, a man who would soon grace the cover of Time Magazine as 1955 ’ s “ Man of the Year ” .

Reference Number 6360

as of 1/21/2007

Car 1952 Buick Roadmaster Harlow Curtice Limousine
VIN 16340056 
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