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1941 Roadmaster coupe


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Hi Folks,

Thinking of purchasing a 1941 Roadmaster coupe an aquaintance of mine has and am doing a bit of research. Seeking informed opinions of the car, particularly the twin carb set up, and anything else informative like desirabilty, how it compares to other years and models, what to look for when assessing condition, etc.  There are also a couple of beautiful '41 sedanettes for sale (46S) in Hemmings so I am torn between all three!

Valk

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Take a look at the '41 Buick Buyer's Guide that Matt Harwood put together -- it's a little out of date on valuation (2005), but there's a lot of great information there:

 

http://www.harwoodperformance.bizland.com/1941buick/1941_buick_buyers_guide.htm

 

I have a Super rather than a Roadmaster, but I am very happy with my '41.  The dual carb set up supposedly had some problems accounting for Buick's decision to discontinue it after only two years ('41 and '42), but I have had zero issues with mine.  The Roadmaster, of course, will get you the larger engine, which is very smooth and powerful -- the most powerful engine, I believe, to come out of Detroit in 1941 with 165 hp.  For me, one of the most important considerations on a '41 is the condition of the dash panels.  The original factory "engine turned" finish is beautiful, and panels in good original condition are a big plus.  If they are rusted or the "engine turned" finish has been polished or sanded off (quite common), you will never get it back quite the way it was, even if you spend the $1500 or so to have them redone.

 

The bottom line on buying a car of any year, of course, comes down to what you are willing to pay and the condition of the car you are buying.  Matt's guide has good information on particular things to look out for in a '41.  Good luck!

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Thanks Neil. I've been told '41 Roadmaster coupes are far and few between. Are they considered rare and what would you pay for a good one? 

valk 

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Did you look at Part 4 (Values) of Matt's guide?  He gives pretty good ballpark figures for values, but I think they have increased slightly since 2005.  Yes, the Roadie coupes are rare, which Matt acknowledges, saying "When was the last time you saw one?"  He uses three grades: restorable, driver, and perfect.  By a "good" one, I'm guessing you mean somewhere between "driver" and "perfect," depending on the condition.  So using Matt's figures, I'd say you are talking about $20K to $30K for a "good" one.

 

What would I pay?  That's pretty much impossible for me to say without seeing the car.  If you're thinking of getting a '41 Buick non-convertible, you are buying a "hobby" car, not making an investment.  What it's worth to you will depend completely on your emotional attachment to it, in my opinion.  If you are expecting to make money on it, you are looking at the wrong category of car.

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Thanks again, Neil. Yes, I have read Matt's guide - very helpful. While I am not in it for the investment, I am trying hard not to loose money as  I've done many times in the past! Here are a few pics...

 

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Wow, I'll say it works!  What a gorgeous car!  I see a lot of things I like.  Number One: Factory skirts, including the little piece of stainless trim joining the trim on the rocker panels to the bottom trim on the skirt.  These little pieces are basically impossible to find and are missing from many cars.  Number Two: The dash panels (which I mentioned earlier) look great.  They are either well-preserved originals or they have been restored very nicely, and the gauges look to be in great shape, too.  Sometimes, the ivory colored plastic pieces are badly discolored or melted from the sun.  Number Three: Wood graining on the dash -- also either original or restored very nicely.  Number Four: Steering wheel looks to be in excellent shape.

 

It's hard to tell about the paint (which commonly looks better in photos than it is), but it looks good.  Do you know if that's a correct factory color scheme?  Post a pic of the data plate if you have it.

 

So let's put it this way: I don't know what the asking price is, but I sure don't see any reason NOT to buy this car from the three photos you have posted.  Other questions, of course, concern what kind of mechanical shape it's in, what the engine compartment looks like, etc.

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Thanks Neil. Does $30k seem about right? We haven't really gotten into asking price ye (gulp). The engine I've been told is very strong but don't know yet if it has been totally rebuilt . New interior and older repaint in factory color combo but not originally this color. 

 

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I don't know what the asking price is or what your budget is so I'll refrain from naming what I think it's worth so the process isn't tainted. That said, my advice is that if you can get it for $30,000, do it and don't hesitate. That's a $10,000 interior, easy. Plus these cars were just named CCCA Full Classics, and if the guy selling it hasn't noticed the 20% bounce because of it, don't remind him. 

 

The color combination is close to Lancaster Gray over Monterey Blue--not quite exact but quite attractive. That's the color combination I plan to paint my Century.

 

Be prepared to reach if the car is as good as it appears. People regret the one that got away. They rarely regret paying extra for a car they love. If the price is something you can afford, go for it.

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I've said my piece, and with Matt involved, you are getting the best advice about '41 Buicks you can get, so I will bow out at this point.  I hope you get the car -- I would love to have it myself!

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30,000 is very reasonable. I am currently restoring a 1940 76S that is Monterey blue and silver French grey, very similar color combo. Everything for these cars are expensive. Cloth alone for the interior was 1700. They are beautiful driving cars. I have only seen two other 1940 roadmaster  coupes in all the shows I have gone to in the last forty years. Buy it and enjoy.

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What a beauty!  That extra Roadmaster length up front really adds something.  I have a '41 Special sedanette and I kinda wish it was just that much longer up front.  Hope you're able to get this one!

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It was a close call, but I managed to get it.  I'm about to pee in my pants...(I'm 65 so I do this anyway)

 

Now to get it from Colorado to Maryland.

Peter 

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If you got it for anywhere close to $30,000, that's a BIG win. My gut said that was a $45,000 car and there's one currently for sale for nearly $70,000. You also got one of the most road-worthy of all pre-war cars. You're going to love it. Welcome to the club!

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1 hour ago, valk said:

It was a close call, but I managed to get it.  I'm about to pee in my pants...(I'm 65 so I do this anyway)

 

Haha -- Congratulations, Peter!  I'm envious, I have to admit.  Welcome to Buick land, you're going to love this car!

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On your way back to Maryland drive by Chambersburg PA. So I can wave at you as you drive by in that Roadmaster....

 Wonderful thought.

 I know when my friend Dave and I were going to go to Michigan to drive back his 1941Special Sedan other considerations came up. They were meant to be driven right? We fully intended on driving it back to Silver Spring MD. considering the evaluation it had. Reality was that we would not have not probably been able to make it. Plus the cost of driving a vehicle up and 2 back with meals and a nights stay etc.

 The cost of a carrier was about 1/2 of our estimate. So the carrier brought it to Dave's door in promised time and in great condition.

 But we missed out on an adventure...

 Best of luck with the Roadmaster! 

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I thought about driving it home  - and the seller suggested it too - but I'll take the safe route and ship it here. This car is not going to be thrashed about but coddled and hugged for as long as I have it.  I'll have to clock into local Buick events now that I have one (I had a '55 Buick Century and a '50 Packard coupe in my 20's but no way near the calibre of this '41).  Car has some good upgrades too like electronic ignition, electric fuel pump (as well as the original set up), new wiring harness and quarts clock internals. 

 

Thanks again all for your encouragement and advice, particularly Neil and Matt. I think I got a good one based on your comments.  Regrettably, I don't have many good pics of it (yet).

 

I'll keep you guys posted. Is there a registry where I can get a sense of how many '41 Roadie coupes are out there? Or how to contact owners of the same car? 

Peter

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You should join the Buick Club of America (BCA) right away.  You can get your answers to your questions through the club, and see a roster that lists the cars that various members own.  On the production figures, "The 1941 Buick Story" by Walt Bruegger has a chart that says that 2,784 were produced domestically, plus 50 more for export.  I don't know how many have survived, but the club will give you at least a partial answer.  Someone else on here may know.

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 I'm a bit late to this party, but I'll give you my 2 cents worth. I own virtually the same car, only mine is Canadian production, and is known as a McLaughlin Buick, though there is almost no difference between the two.

 I've had mine on the road about 6 1/2 years, and it is a great car to drive. Even with the stock 3.9 axle ratio, most of them have that, I think, it still drives nice at 60-65, though I recently installed a 3.4, with speedo correction, and it is an improvement.

 My thoughts, are you won't be disappointed. The only thing that has given me consistent issues are the carbs, I've seen them worked on a few times. Otherwise, it is a comfortable and reliable cruiser. Of course, I'm partial to them! But most feel that the engineering on these cars was ahead of its' time, and for a car pushing 80 years old, driving dynamics are excellent.

 Let us know how it goes when you get it!

 Keith

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 Here's a couple of pictures of my '41 Roadmaster. As for production of Canadian Roadmaster coupes, this is the only one known to still exist, the body number is 8, out of no one know how many, but the chassis number is about 1/2 through the year, or so, maybe there were 10-20 made. Only about 2,750 made of the US model, don't have my BCA roster handy, so I'll look up the numbers when I can to see how many that are registered, but don't think its' very many.

 The colour on mine is a correct '41 shade called Royal Maroon, and was repainted by me during its' restoration. It was a tough car to do, due to living all of its' life here in Ontario. It is also sporting the optional bumper guards, usually called "Elephant Ears", but not fender skirts.

 I love the look of the skirts on your car!

Keith

 

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Man, that car looks great. Love the Looooong hood and maroon color. You are the first I've "met" who has the same car.  Wonder who McLaughlin is...

Peter

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To answer, McLaughlin was Sam McLaughlin, who started building cars in 1908 out of his father's {Robert's} carriage business, in Oshawa, Ont. They were planning to build the complete car, engine, trans, and of course the body, as that was were their expertise was. The engineer who had been hired to do the mechanicals became ill, and Sam, already being friends with Billy Durant, struck a deal with him for Buick to supply the running gear, and McLaughlin would do the rest. McLaughlin Motors eventually became GM of Canada. Check out the McLaughlin Buick Club of Canada's website, do a search and it should come up. Also known as the MBCC.

 Interesting differences between the two in the early days, but the cars got very close to their US cousins by 1942, and the McLaughlin name disappeared from the cars after WWII.

 Sam himself had a particularly long and productive life, and died at age 100, and was well through the vast majority of it. Also check out his former home, Parkwood Estates. An amazing mansion and 12 acre estate in Oshawa.

 There is a thread somewhere here in "My and My Buick" called 1941 Buick Roadmaster coupe, I think.

 Just had it out for a 25 mile drive after supper tonight. I posted it in the thread, "Have you driven your Buick this weekend"

 I can post a few of the pictures before, and during its' restoration, if you'd like.

 Peter, its' also nice to meet another '41 Roadmaster Coupe owner! Not too many of us around.

 Keith

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Thanks Keith - look forward to talking Buick with you. And I'd love to see pixcs of your restoration. 

Can anyone recommend a transport company? I got a quote from Reliable that was more than I expected. 

Peter

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I've used passport twice and been happy with both the price and service.  Enclosed coast to Coast. 60 Corvette and 36 Cord Phaeton. 

I will say to avoid heartache go with one of the companies proven to deliver.  Before deciding, Google any shipper (especially private)  that might tell you they are the best.  Often lots of evidence on line proves to the  contrary. 

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 Peter, here are a few pictures of my '41. Not trying to hijack your thread on your car, but you were interested. I added one of my favourites, and this was taken at Parkwood Estates, that I mentioned earlier. Just a colour shot that I converted to B&W, and added the black keyline. That is what used to be the chauffer's home {if memory serves} in the background. The line I have to describe my car, "Its' a Canadian car, with all the rust to prove it!"

 That's my son sitting where the back seat is supposed to be. The exterior pics make it look better than it really was. A lot of prior work had to redone as well.

 Keith

 

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9 hours ago, valk said:

Thanks Keith - look forward to talking Buick with you. And I'd love to see pixcs of your restoration. 

Can anyone recommend a transport company? I got a quote from Reliable that was more than I expected. 

Peter

 

Peter,

 

Reliable requires pre-payment in full with a credit card.

 

Never pre-pay for services in advance.

 

There are also forum members here that don’t like other forum members

and will go out of their way to trash them.

 

For someone to have “ customer feedback “ ......

 

There has to be an actual transaction that occurred.

 

Disinformation is an unfortunate reality on the interweb.

 

 

Jim

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Good Lord, Keith, you are quite an artisan.  

 

Still having trouble finding a carrier that is rated high and doesn't have a bunch of negative reviews. I've checked out Passport, Reliable, Horseless Carriage and others and they all have people mad at them! Either not showing up on time, lousy communication, damaged vehicles, ...damn. I know you can't please everybody but nobody yet rises to the top. 

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You're not going to find any transporter with a blemish-free record. Remember that the happy customers don't say anything but the complainers end up on the internet telling everyone they can find. For every complaint, I bet they have 1000 customers where nothing bad happened.

 

We ship a lot of cars (more than 500 to date) and have used a broker for nearly all of them. Our broker knows what we want: good equipment, good insurance, good record. You pay a little extra for someone who knows what he's doing but it's worth it for the non-hassles. To date, we've had exactly one instance of a problem with a shipper we've used to deliver one of our cars, and it was a dead battery because the driver left the ignition on (1960 Chevrolet, and if you know them, you know it's very difficult to know when it's truly OFF).

 

Anyway, don't get too hung up on it. Any of the big names will do a fine job for you without incident, although you'll probably have to wait. I can give you the name of our broker and you can work with him to get it delivered, usually faster and for less. Many of the independent guys moving our cars use 2-car enclosed trailers so they're a bit more responsive than the big names with 18-wheelers. For a cross-country trip, 18-wheelers are common but rarely one of the big names. There are dozens of others doing the same job just as well.

 

As long as you're not doing a bargain-basement price from U-Ship.com or something like that, the car will be fine. Fears of the drivers taking the cars on joy rides are unfounded and with most smaller shippers, once it's in the box, it stays in the box(except for the big companies, which often use hubs where cars are off-loaded and moved to other trucks). 

 

Don't think too hard about it.

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