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On The Trail of the Wells Fargo


Guest BJM
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Hello,

I am still trying to track down the 1958 Buick Wells Fargo show car. It has been about one year since my last request and thought maybe someone has heard a rumor or something.

I have already sent an inquiry letter to Joe Bortz and I am hoping to interview Dale Robertson - who is (obviously) still alive and living in Yukon, Oklahoma. I should be able to interview him later this year thanks to my Wells Fargo employment

I work for Wells Fargo - and their archivist had nothing on the Wells Fargo show car. I sure hope this one wasn't crushed.

ANY leads are welcome. PM if needed.

Edited by BJM (see edit history)
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Also what is the status of the 1/18 scale model of this car by Sun Star as to the production stage? We were promised delivery by Sun Star on our orders long before now! While looking for the real car, please ask Dale what happened to the one off 1959 Buick Invicta Estate Wagon named "Texan" with a sun roof seen only at the 1959 Chicago Auto Show! Charles D. Barnette

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Thanks Charles. I had no idea there was a scale model being readied. This is an important "clue" since perhaps the model manufacturer had access to the original.

I can ask Dale about the 59 car, espcially since the article I want to write is intended to reflect on the "romantic" love affair America had with the (image of) the west, which showed up in movies, TV Shows and more specifically to our interest - car ads of the day.

Thanks for the tip.

I was told by our Archivist that Mr Robertson would more then likely sit for an interview so I am hopeful.

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The model by Sun Star first was shown with chrome strips being the brown color of the rear quarter panel with the strips extending across the sides and to the headlight "eyebrows". Now the current pictures of the model on the "Sun Star" website shows the strips being the regular silver color of chrome. This may account for the delay in releasing the model. It also makes me believe that their primary source for the model is old photographs-but they could still have access to the original car. I also note on the current pictures of the model marked as "Coming Soon", that the V8 emblem between the headlights is replaced with a "Longhorn Steer Head". Of particular interest to me are the pictures of the model with two simulated rifles in place between the front bucket seats. These toy rifles are removable from the model. However the space they take up when in place seems similar to the space comprised of the long coverered console of the 1959 Buick Texan Wagon Show Car. We do have a picture of the Texan with a rifle leaning up against it outside the car while on display at the 1959 Chicago Auto Show. Charles-see the photos of the model at www.sunstartoys.com/4821/4821.htm.

Edited by Charles_Barnette (see edit history)
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BJM, I know that this is probably old information, but I believe that forum member 70Electra indicated that he had seen the Wells Fargo at the Auburn, Indiana auction sometime in the late-1990's or early-2000's. I think that we can be certain that the car does still exist.

This is yet another Buick that I would love to see in the hands of the Sloan Museum or the Buick Heritage Alliance or a BCA member who would actively show the car.

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Brian, I was at that auction and saw the car in person. I may still have photos of it and the auction catalogue, but I will have to do some digging. I was not into Limiteds at the time, so I liked it but did not go nuts over it.

I am sure it is still around, but in some private collection. Kruse auction records may have it listed, but not sure if it will list it as the Wells-Fargo car, rather just as a '1958 Limited convertible'.

Matt

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Thanks. I will try Kruse but as I understand auction houses are pretty mum about buyers.

I will also wait to hear from Mr Bortz. Last year I inquired of some high up retailers who led me to a source in Missouri who said he did not know.

The search continues. And I would certainly appreciate any photos of the Buick Wells Fargo however, ultimately I would like current photos to compare to the old ones.

The postcard is pretty neat, I recommend it. It shows up on ebay quite a bit

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Brian, I was at that auction and saw the car in person. I may still have photos of it and the auction catalogue, but I will have to do some digging. I was not into Limiteds at the time, so I liked it but did not go nuts over it.

I am sure it is still around, but in some private collection. Kruse auction records may have it listed, but not sure if it will list it as the Wells-Fargo car, rather just as a '1958 Limited convertible'.

Matt

Matt, thanks for jumping in here. Cool that you got to see the car. If you ever have opportunity to post scans of your photos and the auction catalog, I know that we'd all love to see them.

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Wish there was some registry of cars of significance in museums and/or collections. Securing the location of the Landau is a great example. We still live in America and a person who privately purchases a vehicle can certainly store it away or do whatever, but these are the old car hobby's version of a "Van Gogh" painting and most of those are accounted for.

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Brian, I was at that auction and saw the car in person.

Matt

Matt,

Do you know the year you were there?

I have sent an inquiry letter to Kruse but used the "early 2000" as period so they will prbably roll their eyes and laugh.

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I had a nice response from Joe Bortz. He owned the car in the late 1990's and provided 3 photos of it with him standing next to it (top up). He said that Dale Robertson was able to sit in it with him.

I will call Joe soon to see if he can advise where it went. I suspect he was the owner that submitted it at the Kruse Auction.

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Brian,

I'll try. I am hoping Joe has better photos and I can use him for the owners information going back to 1958.

I should get confirmation from Dale Robertson about an interview opportunity this week as well.

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i just went to kruse.com and typed in the info and it gave a list of '58 limiteds sold and it said "scottsdale 1998, lot 1135, wells fargo, final bid $26000" and previous to that auction "auburn fall 1996, lot 3785, wells fargo, sold $62000"....but no info on owner....

Edited by mrspeedyt (see edit history)
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i just went to kruse.com and typed in the info and it gave a list of '58 limiteds sold and it said "scottsdale 1998, lot 1135, wells fargo, final bid $26000" and previous to that auction "auburn fall 1996, lot 3785, wells fargo, sold $62000"....but no info on owner....

Very interesting. Thank you for that information.

Well.. since I know Joe owned it late in the 1990's either he is the $26,000 buyer or ... seller. $26,000 would be a bargain!

On a seperate note for anyone following this thread - the letter I mailed to Dale Robertson requesting an interview came back UNOPENED.

On the front, in nice cursive, was a note - sorry unable to sign, so sorry -and seperately "Refused". My Aunt pointed out that the writing was very nice for someone not able to 'sign'.

I surmise that the writing is female - as mentioned - very nice cursive and done by an assistant but - there must have been the assumption that I was seeking an autograph and Dale is unable to provide autographs any more.

As I recall, my grandparents handwriting suffered in old age and perhaps Mr. Robertson's signature is not recognizable however I have no interest in his signature so I need to creatively resend the letter and hope it is not refused again.

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  • 1 month later...

After placing my order for the Sun Star 1/18 scale model of the 1958 Wells Fargo Buick back in July of 2009, it finally arrived today, which means it is now available! It was well worth the wait! It is beautiful with the "longhorn steer head emblem" on the front of the hood and pistols in their holsters on the inside of the doors and two removable rifles mounted into the console between the seats. Also you get with the model a brochure containing pictures I have never seen before of the real interior. The two cowgirls shooting at each other near the real car remind me of the 59 Buick Texan pictures. The length of the console in the Wells Fargo pictures where the rifles are housed remind me of the length of the enclosed console of the Texan (we have one picture of a rifle leaning up against the Texan while on display). Carla will scan the pictures of the brochure and post same and will also post pictures taken by me of this great model shortly. Let's find the real cars-both the Texan and the Wells Fargo! Charles D. Barnette

Edited by Charles_Barnette (see edit history)
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If you look back at the original artist drawing from the brochure, 2 posts back, the car was originally to be called the 1958 Buick Limited Westerner! You can see the letters of the word almost spelled out on the back quarter panel: "WESTE". Further originally on the interior is a letter "R" like a Riviera "R" above the pistol handle on the inside passenger door that didn't make it to the original. Finally in the back side material next to the seat is a steerhead that did not make it to the original! Charles-remember the Texan had steerheads on the inside of each door. Also all the pictures in the brochure show the car with combination spotlight/mirror units on the doors. The model has only single mirrors on the doors. The brochure says the upholstery was in natural Danish calf, and the carpet was natural Jersey hide also used on the lower areas of the doors.

Edited by Charles_Barnette (see edit history)
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  • 1 month later...

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