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Charles D. Barnette

A Special 1959 Buick

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Two weeks from today, Buick lovers gathered at Colorado Springs will witness the largest invasion of 59 Buicks since the year of 1959. Each 59 Buick will arrive engulfed in "Rock Star" like euphoria! The tidal wave of excitement has reached a fever pitch ready to explode in monumental proportions! Have you caught the B59 fever yet? To help the cure, Carla will post herein a GM archives picture of the 1959 Buick XP-75 from my collection. Are you ready? Charles D. Barnette

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Charles, I love the way this one combines the best of the 1959 and 1960 Buicks: The 1960's side sculpturing, with the sharper fin treatment of the 1959.

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There's more pictures, and a short story about this car on my website, www.The1960Buick.com (From the table of contents page, select the section on XP75.)

The following is a reprint of my text from the website:

<span style="font-style: italic">"This close-coupled 2-passenger coupe was based on a radically shortened 1959 Buick. The project started in the spring of 1957 and the cast involved was a veritable who's who of Buick history: Harley Earl, Ned Nickles, Harlow Curtice, and Ed Ragsdale (Buick general mngr). For a taste of international intrigue, Farina of Italy was charged with constructing the bodies.

Initially a non-running mockup was built, and wore the name "Skylark II". An interesting feature of the car was the sculpted side panels that were a precursor of the 1960 Buick styling. After the mockup met with approval, two--that's right, TWO--running cars were built in late 1957 or early 1958. One was silver, the other white.

By mid-1958, internal correspondence refers to both running cars as "Skylark III". Like other concept cars that were fortunate enough to survive, the XP-75 cars were constantly revised and updated. For example, the canted 1959-style headlights were replaced with more contemporary Lucas units.

For some unknown reason, both cars continued to be periodically displayed and loaned out for actual driving. (I have contacted the son of one of the executives that had the car on loan. Unfortunately, he had no recollection of it.)

Authorization to scrap the white car was given in July 1964, but the silver car was specifically excluded from this. As late as mid-1967, nearly ten years after its original construction, the silver XP-75 had not been scrapped but was instead transferred from Styling to Buick Motor Division. To date, I have been unsuccessful in documenting when or IF the silver car was scrapped."</span>

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Thanks Greg for your excellent post. Now I will add this great car to my list to find along side the list of Motorama cars to find. Wouldn't it be great to find the silver XP-75 sitting next to the 1959 Buick Texan Estate Wagon? Oh well a guy can dream can't he? Last weekend, I attended the Petit Jean annual Father's Day Car Show near Morrilton, Arkansas. Some of the most beautiful country-side in the world is found here which is at the foot of the Ozark Mountains with Petit Jean being a "mountain". At the show was a red 2 door 53 Buick "Three Holer". Carla will post my pictures of same. The year 1953 was a great year for Buick at the beginning of the 50s decade. The XP-75 in my mind represents the transition from the 50s to the 60s. During the fifties there were three personalities in the entertainment business that defined the decade. A 50 Mercury at the show contined portraits of all three in its external paint job. Carla will post pictures of same to get us all in the mood to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 59 Buick taking place in 10 days from now. A word to the wise is that the 59 Buick event will be a photographer's paradise-don't forget your cameras! Charles D. Barnette

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Here are Elvis, James, and Marilyn saying "Colorado Springs or Bust" from a 50 Merc - they really wish they were painted on a Buick!

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I am soory I cannot attend the nationals with any of my 59's but I may fly in for a few days.

I would seriously consider building the XP-75; But would need more pics if available.

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Dear 40 Series, the mere thought of this car living again blows my mind. I would suggest looking closely at the site created by Greg Cockerill listed above. Good luck! Charles D. Barnette

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While waiting the remaining 9 days until the B59 party in Colorado Springs, I discovered that Rawhide, Bonanza, and Twilight Zone all had their TV debuts in 1959. Buddy Holley, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper were killed together in a plane crash in 1959. Plus Johnny Mathis recorded "Misty" in the year 1959. Now since I have already put a 53 Buick on this site to represent the beginning of the 50s decade and since I have tied the XP-75 into the Skylark, how about some pictures of the 1953 Buick Skylark (first year for the Skylark)? Two years ago at Petit Jean I was fortunate to be able to take pictures of one both at my motel in Russellville, AR, and on Petit Jean Mountain. Carla will post the results. The 1953 Buick Skylark could be considered a "six seat sports car"! The car was described as "scintillating life on wheels"! This limited production vehicle was built on a Roadmaster chassis, had cut-down doors, and hunkered-tight top. It was brilliantly lively, and I hope to see some examples of it at Colorado Springs next week. Meanwhile check out this "burgundy" one coming up shortly. Charles D. Barnette

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Charles D. Barnette</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Dear 40 Series, the mere thought of this car living again blows my mind. I would suggest looking closely at the site created by Greg Cockerill listed above. Good luck! Charles D. Barnette </div></div>

I did some research last night and have seen several different versions of the same car. My favorite and most likely to recreate is the black version with the canted headlights that did make it to the 59 model. I believe it was the first XP-75 from 1957?

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40series,

I took note of your mention of parts and parts cars in the '57 to '66 range. I am currently working on a '66 LeSabre convertible and also pursuing a '59 Invicta 2dr hardtop. What do you have in that area. I live on Crooked River Ranch in central Oregon.

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