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Landau's Prom Night Theft Corrected


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I wanted to be the first to spread the word that the magnificent 1954 Buick Landau has its corrected wheel covers in place similar to its original wheel covers that were stolen on the high school prom night of Robert K. Blair (son of the GM executive who saved the Landau from extinction). Sir Bob Coker just sent me a picture of the new wheel covers in place on the Landau. What a difference it makes! It is like putting on the correct pair of shoes to match a tuxedo. These replicated wheel covers were fashioned in 2008 for the Landau in the Texarkana area when the Landau was on display here. Thanks to Bob, they are now in place rectifying that theft so many years ago that robbed the Landau of her complete Motorama look as originally intended. Charles D. Barnette

Edited by Charles_Barnette (see edit history)
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It is a Motorama miracle! One gets the feeling that the prestige of the entire Buick Club of America is riding on these new, correct turbine style wheel covers as the Landau enters the 2011 show season. Do not weep for the now replaced wire wheel covers that Bill Warner put on the Landau. It is my understanding that our Buick hero Bob Coker will now correctly use these beautiful wire wheel covers on his fabulous white over red 1955 Motorama Buick currently under restoration. As a student of Motorama, I am so excited about all of this that I am literally running into walls! Charles D. Barnette

Edited by Charles_Barnette (see edit history)
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Noted Motorama author David Temple upon seeing the photo of the Landau with its new wheel covers wrote me an email giving the car "The Supreme Compliment". He wrote: "She looks like she is ready (in 2011) for the Motorama!". Of all 5 divisions of GM during the Motorama days, I believe Buick has the largest number of Motorama Show Cars still in existence today. They are as follows: 1951 LeSabre (however the name Buick did not appear externally on the completed car), 1951 XP 300, 1953 Wildcat I (owned by Joe Bortz), 1954 Wildcat II, 1956 Centurion, and of course the 1954 Landau and the 1955 Motorama Buick (with a Shop Order number) both owned by BCA member Bob Coker. Remember that of all of the Motorama creations the Landau was the Motorama car used by the then first family of GM- the Harlow Curtice family. The Landau is drenched in the DNA of Mr. Curtice. Charles D. Barnette

Edited by Charles_Barnette (see edit history)
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The Landau Motorama Gods have coughed up another Landau Motorama treasure into the hands of our hero Bob Coker. Aside from having already obtained three precious notebooks on the Landau which incude a list of what the GM CEO wanted changed on the car, Bob has informed me that he has found and obtained the original custom made jack for the car. Does the club realize that by Bob now owning two Motorama Buicks, he now has the largest collection of privately owned Motorama Buicks in the world (Joe Bortz owns one and the Sloan Museum displays three)? Buick of course is the oldest USA automobile manufacturer still in existence I am told. Bob's efforts with the Landau is making great Buick history! The Landau has been invited back to Amelia Island for show in 2012! Charles D. Barnette

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That was my point...

Just got finished reading about the high judging standards, you know the ones that hold all to the "as it left the factory standard" and here we see a beautiful and historical show car with fitment issues.

Thank you Bob again for being a great custodian for this piece of history.

I can only hope to see it soon myself...maybe show the kids one day.

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Her Majesty, the incomparable 1954 Buick Landau, informs me she was not having a bad "sweep spear" day (as some have suggested) in the picture of her with the fashionable lady and stately looking chauffeur aboard. Rather she was having a bad "professional photographer's" day. Her Majesty humbly offers this riddle in answer thereto: "When is a door not a door? When it is aJAR!!!" In other words the photographer forgot to close the front door all the way before he took the photo-he accidentally left the door ajar!!! However, Her Majesty grants forgiveness and a full pardon to the absent minded photographer and to those that thought ill of her heavenly, perfect, flawless, and eternal Buick construction!!! Her Majesty's most loyal subject, Charles D. Barnette, Esquire

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The colors of red, white, and blue connote patriotism of our country, because those are the colors of our flag. The Motorama Gods used these colors on at least 8 "Dream Cars" of GM's Motoramas (1949-1961). These colors were first used on the wheel covers of the 1951 LeSabre, then the emblem on the trunk of the 1954 Buick Landau and its original wheel covers, the 1954 Wildcat II front and back emblems, then the wheel covers of the 1955 LaSalle II sedan and roadster, and finally the three Firebirds (1954 Firebird I, 1956 Firebird II, and the 1958 Firebird III). For the Firebirds, Harley Earl used his designed red, white, and blue tri-color GM Air Transport logo (this was his personal stamp on much of his modern work according to David Temple's Motorama book). So when you approach Her Majesty (the Landau) while she is on display and see her now prominent red, white, and blue logo on her new wheel covers, do not be surprised if you get that warm oozy feeling to salute her or put your hand over your heart! She will love it and also realize that you are really thinking of patriotism of our country-the USA. Charles D. Barnette

Edited by Charles_Barnette (see edit history)
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I also like how those colours also merge into the 54 line....

1954-buick-riviera-roadmaster-rear.jpg

...but this says it all to me:

41624d1258669283-buicks-love-old-glory-landau_emblem.jpg

Then there is this....a slide show of all angles, with the lead 1954 Buick nut! (He has the ink on his arm to prove it folks!) Bob, the Landau's caretaker is in there but was camera shy....MrEarl was most definitely not! LOL

<iframe title="YouTube video player" width="640" height="390" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/0RZY7KeVFqM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Edited by stealthbob (see edit history)
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The red, white, and blue logo appearing on some GM Motorama cars was the logo for GMAT or General Motors Air Transport. GMAT was used to fly executives around the country as needed. Sometimes it was used to fly repair parts to auto shows if a dream car received any damage. Someone asked the name of the model sitting in the Landau in the colorized photo of the car. I have no idea who she was, but I do have a short list of names of some models who were hired by GM for their Motorama shows. By the way, the photo was taken near the Diner Key Auditorium in Miami. The building still stands, is evidently still used, and has been renamed the Coconut Grove Convention Center. Many of the GM publicity photos of the dream cars were taken near this site. As for the apparent flaw in the trim alignment on the Landau in this photo... the door must not have been fully closed. Other period photos of the car show no misalignment of this trim. It certainly does not have a misaligned sweepspear now.

Edited by 1953_LeMans (see edit history)
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The face of the Landau appears to be the same as every other 54 Buick and that is a good thing. I counted the chrome vertical strips that make up the grille of the 54 Buick and have a number in mind. How many should there be? Let me hear from the 54 Buick experts on this? Meanwhile my reaction to seeing the face of the Landau for the first time was to break out into this song: "The first time ever I saw your face. I felt the earth move, and I knew I'd love you until the end of time! Your face, your face, your face!" Charles D. Barnette-how can one not love that face?

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

BOB, thank you for those photos of one of the most "Classic" cars of the '50s. The rest of the world was trying to make everything from vacuum cleaners to DeSotos look they were ready to escape Earth's orbit. Buick instead took a long step back - although only twenty years, really - to show us how the coachbuilders would have done it, had they survived the Depression.

One of my favourite coachbuilt cars was a Lincoln Model K that I saw at Hershey in 1984. It had a laundaulette body by Brunn, somewhat similar to the Buick Landau. At the time Brunn had another signature trick - tinted "skylight" windows in the roof header over the windshield. They called it "Clear Vision". I'll see if I can rustle up a photo on the 'net.

Nope, can't find a Lincoln but here's a Packard by Brunn with that special roof. Sorry, it's on Flickr, so I can't copy and upload it. Cabriolet | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Edited by Rob McDonald (see edit history)
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