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Lost 49 Sweepspear Convertible


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Hello All,

This post is about the car that I don't have. In February of 1949 my Dad traded a one year old Super Estate Wagon on a new '49 Roadmaster Convertible. He missed having a convertible, having traded a 12 cylinder '41 Lincoln Zephyr Convert for the '48 Estate Wagon in 1947. The new Roadmaster was adorned with the sweepspear side moldings and, of course, it had Dynaflow which the wagon did not.

The car was purchased from either Berry Bros. or Wilkie in Philadelphia, as our local dealer in Norristown PA, Charlie Mann, did not have what Dad wanted. Unfortunately, I don't have the serial # or PA registration #, but I will describe the car to the best of my ability. It was dark green with a dark green pleated leather interior and a black canvas top.

The most unique aspect of the car was the modification that Dad made, and why I still have hopes of finding it. I verified these facts with an old family friend who was there at the time. Sadly, he has recently passed away. Dad had installed a pair of air horns, with an engine mounted compressor and air reservoir. The trumpets were mounted behind the grille and painted flat black so that they were not noticeable. The horns were actuated by an non-descript under-dash ivory colored pull-knob marked "VENT".

These horns reputedly came from a Pennsylvania Railroad GG1 electric locomotive. I don't know what modifications were made to drive them from the Buick's 6 volt electrical system, but let me tell you, THEY WORKED! They had a range of well over a mile, and when they were sounded, everyone took notice. Sure, they were illegal, but that problem never came up. When I was "play-driving" at age 8 or so, I never touched that knob!

That Roadmaster was the most fabulous automobile I have ever seen or ridden in, and if anyone has any knowledge of it I'd love to hear. In October of 1954 the Buick was traded on a new '55 Thunderbird at Fazio Ford in Conshohocken PA, and that was the end of the Buick. The dealer allowed all of $500 on the trade-in. I still have the T-Bird.

Does anyone know how many 1949 Roadmaster Convertibles were made with the Sweepspear side moldings?

Many thanks for listening,

Peter Nyce

Plymouth Meeting PA

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Welcome Peter,

That's a cool quest you're undertaking, finding the lost Roadmaster. Since you still have the T-Bird it was traded for, by chance is there a "paper trail" going back from the Bird?

The dealer may have put the '49's Serial Number on the bill of sale for the trade. Or maybe there's an old registration card with that SN on it. You'd be looking for an 8-digit number in the following ranges (determined by the factory where it was built), as noted below:

15020984 to 15348304, Flint;

25030001 to 25332419, South Gate;

35036001 to 35333911, Linden;

45043001 to 45335606, Kansas City;

55050001 to 55517948, Wilmington (also included in 1949 models

built at Wilmington 55417001 to 55417948 uncl. on 50 & 70 Series);

65054001 to 665337687, Atlanta;

75057001 to 75338786, Framingham.

If there's a "pack-rat gene" in your family, as there is in mine, maybe you can find the SN somewhere. The first step would be to post that number here asking current '49 owners if it's a match to their car(s). Since not everyone reads these forums, take out an ad in the Buick Bugle

(the club magazine) and see what happens there.

There are @ 30-plus 1949 Model 76C Roadmaster converts listed in the BCA Roster, but that doesn't mean they're the only ones still extant. My guess is that if it still exists and is a Buick Club show car, the horns would have been removed long ago as non-stock items.

The question you've posed is not a Herculean Task, but will take work and dedication;

perhaps it would be all for naught.

Still, it could be great fun,


PS, Buick numbers Guru Dave Corbin may have the answer to how many '49's had the Sweepspear side trim, introduced later in the model year.

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