Buick_daughter

1939 Buick Limousine - Model 90L

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1939 Buick 8 Limo

Model 90L

VIN: 93653241

 

Looking to sell, serious inquiries only.  Is currently stored in a garage in Southern California.  Interior is in great shape.  Also interested in the history of this vehicle.  What would it be worth in mint condition?  Current condition worth?  is it rare, desirable?

 

Thanks in advance for any info.

 

--SK

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Wonderful cars and pound-for-pound the biggest bang for the buck in the old car world. They have great road manners and superlative luxury. That one looks like it'll clean up nicely and be a good driver, but it'll cost a fortune to make it mint and you'll never recover it. Prices are extremely flat on them and I don't understand why they aren't appreciating more than they are. Obviously I'm a bit biased since I own a '41 Limited 90L, but even I have to admit that they aren't worth very much.

 

My advice would be to pull it out, clean it up, get it running, and expect to get $15,000 or so for it. Some might tell you it's worth more, you might think it's worth more because it is so big or because the interior is so nice, but it really isn't. A reasonably nice and usable '41 Limited just sold on eBay for about that much and the '41s are arguably more desirable than the '39s, although each have their supporters and ardent fans. 


Don't over-reach on price, focus on getting it a good home. I wish I could say it's a gold mine or that it's worth restoring, but it's not. Clean it up, make it run, sell it to the first guy who shows up with more than $15,000 in his hands. 

 

Good luck!

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The only thing you can do that is guaranteed to raise its value is wash it, pull it out of the garage, and take a bunch of good pictures.  You may or may not break even on getting it to the point you can drive it onto a trailer.  If it doesn't run, don't bother with anything else; you'll never get the investment back.

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I would say if you have some knowledge and ability or a friend with some and can spend one day,  not more to get it running,  it will be worth the return. I'm not talking on the road,  just running enough so it will move under it's own power off an auxillary tank.  Even bypassing the fuel pump if necessary.   Not running at all is a big gamble to a potential buyer and more and more want them to run before they commit.  

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You did not ask how many were made..........just is it rare..........most will agree that all Limited cars were rare.   Here are the production numbers from the BCA Roster

90 = 650

90x = exported 36

90L =423

90L =exported 120

900 = (stripped chassis) 2

900x = exported chassis 6

91 =378

91x = 4

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It's rare, but not widely desirable in the sense that a convertible coupe is desirable. They're hard to garage, body parts can be scarce and expensive, and the partition-window cars are uncomfortable for non-average-size drivers to drive due to the fixed front seat. OP has been given good advice by previous posters.

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It appears to be a beautiful car under the dust.  Put some air in the tires and clean it, and hope she runs.  It may or may not be worth getting it to drive, but it likely would be worth getting it to start and run.

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The fabric on the interior is non original, I believe.  That will be an issue for value.  Can someone confirm it's not original?  I don't want to give bad information  but it appears incorrect.  I see damage to the drivers front fender.  With all due respect to the seller, I see few sellers of these long stored cars want to go to any trouble with them.   The commonly used phrase is "I just want it gone."  In that regard, it would be sold as is, where is, in non running condition, I would think $6000 or so would be it's value.  To a local buyer at that. 

 

To get it running is likely going to require a drop and replacement of the gas tank, the fuel and brake lines, carb rebuild, tinkering, tinkering, tinkering.  If you want to do that and like doing that or hearing of it being done by a qualified mechanic, then I have no issue with Matt's comments. 

 

We all love 90 series Limiteds.  They seem to be one of the cars most Buick fans agree on, as timeless examples of Buick greatness.  But they are long.  Thank you for posting!

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Jake,

Good eye--you are correct; the seat fabric and door panels are not original. Still, a very rare car and a certified Classic.

Pete Phillips

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Thank you for all of this info, very much appreciated.  I'll see if I can't give the old gal a good bath and maybe let her see the light of day.  She is for sale, so if anyone is itching for a project.....

 

Also, I have a garage full of NOS Buick parts, memorabilia, owners manuals, Buick car literature, Buick paper ephemera, etc.....

 

I'll try and get pictures of those and post on another thread.

 

--SK

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Agree with Jake and Pete on the interior. Also agree with other posters to get it cleaned up and running if possible. Values are not great; but cleaned up and running will broaden its appeal. 

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6 grand seems low.  It would end up as parts for that kind of money.    Watching the 41' that has been on ebay at 15k makes it a little steep for this car.  It was  a much nicer car and running and driving.  

 

If it was local to me I might give 10 for it but I wouldn't pounce and I'd inspect it.    I've been following these limiteds since I bought our 41' Cad 67' series a few years ago.  I fully agree with Matt that they are a fantastic car and fully undervalued.  The problem is they don't have a following with money guys since it's "just a Buick" to them.   That means their isn't a line of guys with fists full of dollars to give you after you've fixed it up.   

 

 

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For reference (you may not agree) Old Cars Price Guide gives pricing for 6 different conditions.

#6 a parts car = $2,000

#5 Restorable, hopefully all there but need everything restored = $6,000

#4 Good...driveable, little or no work to be functional = $10,000

#3 Very Good  = $22,000

If it were cleand up and running,  it might approach #4 catagory

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Price really depends on who has to have it.  Its limited interest due to Buick, size, difficulty of resto, etc....

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I may be off on this comment, but I believe the dashboard has been incorrectly repainted, also taking away from originality, as well as value.

 

I concur with the #5 value of $6,000 as she sits. An interesting car, but BIG, difficult to garage, immoveable front seat which may be a problem for many drivers (like my 1937 Buick 80C, and my 1930 Packard 7-passenger Touring, and 1915 Hudson 6-40 Phaeton).

 

Do not attemp to get it running from the existing fuel tank, but rather, use a separate can and gravity, or a separate electric pump - and be ready with a fire extinguisher near the carburetor. Dump the existing oil and add fresh, and source a fresh 6-VOLT BATTERY. Be sure that the battery cables are the heavy original style - not the modern 12-volt skinny ones which will not carry enough current to spin it over properly

 

If a bit of tinkering gets it running, leave it as-is.

The more time and effort you expend will diminish any potential profit.

Having the carburetor and fuel pump rebuilt and installed will set you back, .... and there are still the steel and rubber portions of the old fuel lines.

The gas tank itself will otherwise need to be removed, professionally cleaned, sealed, and reinstalled, etc, etc, etc

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This is all very useful information and I am very much appreciative for all of it.  The family is looking to sell so, hit me up with an offer if you're interested.  I will be home next weekend and should be able to provide more info on what parts are there, better condition of the motor, etc.

 

--SK

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Did Buick run leatherette or leather for the seats/door panels/headliner for the front on window division cars.    I know Cadillac ran the broadcloth in the rear with leather door panels/seats and leatherette headliner.    I am just curious how Buick did it.  

 

I still think 6k seems a bit low even though I know how much it costs to restore a car like this and it includes my free labor.   If I could blink my eyes and have the car sitting in front of me with a clean title and 6 grand removed from my bank account I might be in trouble.  If it was a 41' I'd even splurge for shipping.   The Mrs. has never liked the 39' nose job so I'd be told how ugly it is for the rest of my life.   

 

I've seen a lot of garbage muscle car projects sell for a lot more money. These big cars are great but just hard to move.  

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Yes, a 90L should have leather up front for the driver. The interior isn't correct on this car. I don't hate it, but it isn't right. Will that be a factor for a buyer? Maybe.

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The only way to truly value something is well advertised auction. Put it on eBay at a very low reserve and let the auction run as long as possible. Take the maximum number of pics in the largest format you can post. Have all the data available including body tags, engine number and any documentation for prior work done. A painted engine does not equal a rebuilt engine with no proof. It sounds like you have inherited the life's work of an enthusiast. 

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It may be only me out of the whole world, but I tune out as soon as I see an ad stating "Serious buyers only". It is right up there with "Don't waste my time".

 

I'm with the $6,000 group. How long would you leave 60 one hundred dollar bills lying on the garage floor without brushing the dirt off the ones on top?

Bernie

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Posted (edited)

I've been collecting and looking at 1939 Buicks since I was 16 and now I'm 80.  Before that, my parents had one from 1941-1951.  I noticed right off that there was no design in the door panels and the material was not correct on the seats.  For Marty Roth, the dash looks black or very dark in poor light and after it is weathered....you can't really see the grain in those instances.  So, I am not sure you are correct that it has been painted.  Everything in the running gear is very exclusive to the 80-90 series and some the 90 series only.  Much bigger brake drums, shoes, cylinders and bearings than other Buicks.  The clutch, pressure plate, thowout bearing are bigger than other Buick models; although again shared with Century.  All of that stuff is harder to find than for a Special model.  Likewise, the carb is shared with Century and Roadmster as is the fuel pump, so not as difficult to find as 90 series only.  People are building gas tanks although I don't know who they are....but in CA it may not be rusted out and can be cleaned.  Read the latest Bugle about a '33 Buick 90 found in a NY garage, parked since 1966 I believe, maybe 1963.  You would also have to address the radiator.....'39s were known to be hot runners even when new.  But, a man in Arkansas is reproducing the mid-year introduced over the radiator baffles and the fan shrouds.  If there is a mouse in the area, watch out for the wiring, and maybe watch out for it anyway, but that is with all old cars that have been sitting.  The basic car looks good, and in this day and time with so may street-rod and resto-rod people out there none of the above matters, right?  Golly, I'd sure hate to see that.  The car has a 140 inch wheelbase, off the top of my head, so yes,  the buyer would definitely need a long garage but a 24 foot deep garage would do.  If the car was in Florida I could get the interior redone, correctly for $8750-10-11,000.  I was quoted $8750 for the '41 Limited that was on eBay....the one in Kansas.  I'm not sure Matt Harwood was talking about the same car because I didn't think the one in Kansas ever did sell ($17,500 last asking price I saw).  All that said, if you don't live in California or maybe Nevada, the cost of shipping would kill you.  All of that said, I believe $6,000 local $4,500 far off is about right for somebody not really desperately in love with a '39 Buick.  For somebody who just has to have one, who is a great mechanic himself or has a very close friend who is, maybe I'd go to $10,000...but I'd have to be desperate in love with one.  One last thing to remember is that this car is a CCCA FULL CLASSIC.  In my younger years that would have added a lot of value.  Maybe it still does, but since given that status around 1974 by the club, there is still a pretty low number of Buicks in the CCCA Roster.  Excuse my spelling.

Edited by Dynaflash8 (see edit history)
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Sweet car.  Happily (?), it is simply too far away for it to be feasible, and the US government has added a step / cost in getting a car across the 49th.

 

I’m happy to have come across this thread.  Good luck with the car.

 

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7 hours ago, Thriller said:

Sweet car.  Happily (?), it is simply too far away for it to be feasible, and the US government has added a step / cost in getting a car across the 49th.

 

I’m happy to have come across this thread.  Good luck with the car.

 

What is "step/cost"?

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