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1955 Buick Century - fiberglas


progoofoff
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Surprisingly, the guy took me up on my offer and will be delivered the first week of January.

Any information, pictures or literature about it would be appreciated.

VIN

6 BI069194

Trim tag

1955 Mod 55-66R

Style No 55-4637

Body No G 8795

Trim 64

Paint KBK

Acc BI

I especially need help with the body # G 8795

Bob

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Edited by progoofoff (see edit history)
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In other reading, I've seen where,in the early 60's, J.C. Whitney offered fiberglass fenders for some GM products of the 50's, including the '55 Buick. Don't think anyone made the rest of the body, though, unless it was GM....so this is an interesting car for sure.

How do you restore it so that it doesn't just look like a regular 55 Buick? Maybe leave a bare patch of fiberglass on the fenders? Or just restore it completely and explain how special it is?

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Congrats Robert E!!!! Maybe I'll come up next month and see it and also the progress on the other Motorama car. And just knowing you must be needing some room for all them nice fittyfives I'll bring my trailer and bring that homely lookin big ol long '54 back home with me. :D

I'll take a stab at it Bob. Probably nothin you don already know.

VIN

6 BI069194 6 = Century series B = 1955 1 = Flint 069194 = sequence of build

TRIM TAG

1955 Mod 55-66R = it's a 1955 Century Riviera duhh

Style No 55-4637 55 = model year 1955 4 = Buick Motor Div 6 = Century series 37 = two door hard top

Body No G 8795 G = Flint 8795 = Sequence of build (looks pretty early)

Trim 64 Light Blue Pattern Nylon w/Blue Cordaveen

Paint KBK Stafford Blue over Dover White over Stafford Blue

Acc BI B = Heater and Defroster I = EZEYE glass (is that an I or a 1)

Edited by MrEarl (see edit history)
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Thanks Speedo.... I mean Mr Earl. That clears it up. I see nothing odd about the numbers.

David,

I was told there`s no side mouldings, just painted and where the blue and white meet isn`t under where the mouldings would normally be. The picture verifies this.

The body including the floor/ trunk pan is fiberglas except the firewall/cowl, dash and roof.

Bob

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I see the painted sweepspear appears to be higher than norm 55. More like the later 56 Roadmaster. A clue that this may have indeed been a styling model.

The car may be a Cowl Job, which is a car with a body only back to instrument panel and the windshield. These cars went to companies that turned them into ambulances and hearses. (And maybe race cars) there is typically a number signifying that.

Does the engine appear to be any different than standard. Got that number?

So what do ya say about me haulin that ol 54 away for ya Robert E.

Edited by MrEarl (see edit history)
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Great Find & Purchase !

I cannot wait to hear more about this great Fiberglas Buick's original history ?

Is there anyone at GM/Buick or the old GM Design Center who my be able fill in any of it's past history ?

In your opinions how does this body compare to the standard production steel 1955 Buick Century body , interior, and drive-line ?

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My congrats also, Bob.

If I recall seeing some of the fotos of the Fireball Roberts NASCAR race cars, did they not have the same color scheme. Do you think someone was trying to develop a lighter bodied car for racing without declaring the lighter weight? But even then, were not the cars weighed to qualify before they were qualified to run.

Just a thought!

John

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Lamar,

How much are you going to charge me to take it away?

Brad,

I have some high powered help looking into it. I`ll drop a few names...Charles Barnette, David Temple, Joe Bortz and this forum.

I won`t know the differences in body or drive train until it gets here. I do know the frame has damage and will have to be changed.

The front seat appears to be from a `59 or `60 Chevrolet or similar vehicle. The center of front bumper is similar to a `55 but the ends are different. The`56 tail light housing were most likely added after it left GM. I have parts cars that will provide most of what will be needed.

The extra gas tank in the trunk was also added later is my guess.

Bob

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Those are some high powered folks. I wish Gustin and Dunham were on this forum as well, at least active. I spoke with Joe Bortz last week on a different car. He should be helpful.

I just noticed-no portholes. It would be hard for me not to add sweepspears. Looks kinda naked without them.

Edited by BJM (see edit history)
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This Fiberglas 1954 Buick Century could really turn-out to be the ~~~~~

THE BUICK FIND OF THE CENTURY !

What a great Mystery !

The lightweight fiberglas body along with the "Extra" gas tank and cut-out hood could indicate a Buick/GM race car experiment~~~

Who is to say that that drive-line was not swapped at some time in the car's past life ?

This could explain the automatic transmission it now has ! ?

Edited by Silverghost (see edit history)
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Here's a quote from an article about the 1953 Wildcat. It looks like Buick was really perusing fiberglass bodies.

Buick, of course, was not about to be left out. Its contribution was the Wildcat, a two-passenger convertible that Buick referred to as a "Trial flight in Fiberglass and steel." It was also billed as a "Prototype of future cars." And, indeed, it was both.

A special brochure handed out at the Motorama explained the philosophy behind the Wildcat: "Buick by-passes time and tradition to bring your 'dream car' closer. Buick's progressive search for finer styling and better cars for America's motorists enters a new era with presentation of the revolutionary new sports convertible -- the Wildcat -- featuring a Fiberglass body.

"Adoption of easily-molded Fiberglass for the bodies of Buick experimental models shortens the time between new styling ideas and their incorporation in cars that can be tried and tested. And presentation of these futuristic models for public view -- as in the case of the Wildcat and XP-300 -- affords an opportunity to 'pre-test' the motorists' reaction to various styling features incorporated in those cars."

HowStuffWorks "1953 Buick Wildcat"

I would love to hear more about the construction of the body once you get the car. Things like.... are the rockers steel? How about the inner quarters & door frames?

Good luck with it!

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The series 68 is at Honest Charley Garage in Chattanooga. The restoration of the body will start after the first of the year. They will take progress picture and I`ll post them later.

The engine and transmission are being rebuilt locally. I have or have on order everything needed the complete the restoration, hopefully by September.

Laudau update....Finally worked out a way to make the wheel covers fit Charles Barnette had fabricated.

Interior restoration will be completed by the end of Feburary.

It will be in Charlotte in April and try for the senior award.

It was nominated for a AACA National Award but didn`t win.

I got too many things going,

Bob

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Bob's newest acquisition defies all traditional logic! Is it just a 1955 "Buick Styling Buck"? Even so, I agree that this 1955 Buick could well be one of the most interesting "archeological" finds in Buick's history thus far in the 21st century! This is probably another miracle saga of an experimental car escaping "destruction orders" of GM. Was it meant to race by GM on the racetrack or was it meant to run from the law with that extra gas tank (a "Dukes of Hazard" type vehicle if you will)? Surely with the cutout portion of the hood, it was meant to be displayed somewhere. In 2010 with Buick's past records nonexistent at GM, who can say? All can theorize and perhaps be right. That is why I think that when this car appears at its first show after restoration, no other entrant will stand a chance to eclipse it. Bob, with the 1954 Buick Landau Motorama car and the 1955 Motorama Buick car you have touched the face of "Buick Immortality". With the new acquisition you have given "Buick Immortality" a full body contact! I cannot wait to see it in person (I mean in the fiberglas)! I now dub it affectionately as the "Twilight Zone" Buick. It certainly falls into a category that may forever escape being fully defined! Charles D. Barnette

Edited by Charles_Barnette (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...

After two days on the road, the fiberglas car arrived last night.

Cold and dark, we rolled it off the trailer and will get it in the garage when it gets a little warmer.

The short time I looked at it, I found the opening in the hood isn`t factory.

The transmission bell housing appears to be aluminum and the engine is 2 to 3" foward of that of production model.

Lot of investigating to do to figure out if the drive train is original or has been changed.

Bob

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"Hot" was the word for the `55. The new Century I bought would outdrag a jet.

On the other hand, the `54 would have a problem outdragging a Greyhound.

OK `54 guys, let me have it.

Update on the fiberglas car....

Engine is a 401 CI w/automatic transmission and would have to been installed sometime later than production. The electical front seat is from a 4Dr and possibly from the same car the engine came from.

Bob

post-30661-143138400965_thumb.jpg

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"Hot" was the word for the `55. The new Century I bought would outdrag a jet.

On the other hand, the `54 would have a problem outdragging a Greyhound.

OK `54 guys, let me have it.

Update on the fiberglas car....

Engine is a 401 CI w/automatic transmission and would have to been installed sometime later than production. The electical front seat is from a 4Dr and possibly from the same car the engine came from.

Bob

Well Willie was sure impressed when you punched that big ol Landau in the parking lot in Ames. My neck still hurts.

:eek: Dang, I bet that 401 carried that fiberglass body down the track pretty good in its glory days.!

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I was told prior to buying it, there were no keys or title.

Since all locks are keyed alike, I removed a door lock and had the key made.

Still working to get the trunk and passenger door to cooperate.

In the glove box were a stack of receipts to 1975, registrations and the title. Date of title issue was Nov 1955.

Both gas tanks are fiberglas and appear to have been installed originally. How gas is transferred has yet to be determined.

The engine being a 401 that didn`t exist in 1955, it would had to been changed out after production. Anyone need it?

In addition the the frame, other metal parts are the top, inner fenders, cowl, dash and garnish mouldings.

The power front seat is a later addition and is from a 4 door. Anyone recognize it? It`s available.

Bob

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post-30661-143138416232_thumb.jpeg

post-30661-143138416235_thumb.jpeg

post-30661-143138416237_thumb.jpeg

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I was told prior to buying it, there were no keys or title.

Since all locks are keyed alike, I removed a door lock and had the key made.

Still working to get the trunk and passenger door to cooperate.

In the glove box were a stack of receipts to 1975, registrations and the title. Date of title issue was Nov 1955.

Bob

Bob,

This just gets better and better!!

So I take it the glove compartment has been locked since some previous owner lost the keys and the material including title have been there all this time!

This really opens up the possibility of identifying exactly what this car is all about - maybe some relatives of the original owner - Thomas is it, still live in Flint, who knows, there may even be family photos of the car when new or in later years.

Looking forward to what you find out next.

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Bob, the front seat is clearly from a 1959 Electra 4700 series car. I wouldn't be surprised if the front seat came from the same Buick that donated the 401 engine.

Let me put the word out on the '59 Buick forum regarding the 401 and the front seat. I think we can probably find an eager buyer for these items.

Edited by Centurion (see edit history)
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The only thing wrong with this car and thread is that Bob is too slow!!!:D;) Or is it that I am too anxious? Oh well, keep up the good work, Bob. WE will just have to be patient.. BUT HURRY.;);)

Ben

Yes.

That bundle of paperwork Bob found in the glove box really opens up good lines of inquiry to establish the probity of this car. Really exploring the unknown history of this car is pretty exciting when you get a break like that.

Bob, do you need any help from an experienced investigator? Maybe I should fly over and help you track down the cars history - would have to muscle Mr Earl and a few others out of the way I guess.

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I just cannot get the idea out of my mind that somehow Harley Earl or Bill Mitchell might have had some hand in being the driving force behind this Fiberglas Buick's build at GM itself !

Bill Mitchell was constantly pushing GM Styling & Design for the use of more Fiberglass .

Only GM itself could have afforded the cost of putting this mostly fiberglas car together.

The cost of the special fiberglass body panel molds themselves would have be very high.

I doubt this body was built by anyone but GM itself !

The two gas tanks might indicate some sort of racing history !

What an interesting car find indeed !

We shall indeed see ?

This could turn-out to be the Buick find of the decade !

Edited by Silverghost (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

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