Matt Harwood

1940 Buick Super 56C Convertible Coupe

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Lovely restoration in late 1990s by Lewis Jenkins. Original colors of Yosemite Gray over red leather and it's just beautiful. BCA prizewinner in 1998 and driven very little since. Laser-straight bodywork with reconstructed rockers, as is typical on these cars. Floors are original and in excellent condition. NOS chrome and trim used whenever possible and still in excellent condition throughout with very little evidence of use. Interior is correct, as was Jenkins' style. Seats are firm and comfortable, carpets trim, and door panels accurately replicate the originals. Beautiful woodgrained dash and engine-turned panels. All gauges functional except the temperature gauge. Clock and dealer-installed AM radio fully operational. Black canvas convertible top shows a few scuffs from being folded but seals up nicely and fits very well. Vacuum power assist is partially operational on one cylinder, we're investigating the other one and the top goes down on its own but needs assistance to go up. It's a simple system and hopefully we'll get it solved. Trunk neatly finished with complete jack assembly and full-sized spare of indeterminate age. 248 cubic inch straight-8 starts quickly, idles smoothly, and is actually quite lively around town--this '40 feels quicker than my '41 Super convertible. Tight and smooth on the road with the only noise being the E-brake cable rattling in its bracket on the torque tube, but I've already purchased a new grommet to cure it. Tracks straight, stops true, I ran it up to 55 MPH without any issues, so I presume it has 4.11 gears instead of 4.44, but they may even be 3.90s given how easily it cruises at that speed. Hard to say, but it's really nice to drive. Proper wide whitewall tires on painted wheels with red pinstripes look suitably flashy and show very little use.

 

I understand this is a small series car, but it is just delightful to drive and it could still be reasonably competitive on the show field with some deep cleaning and little details. I'm a '41 guy but I have to admit that as much as I miss my '41 Super convertible, this one talks to me as a viable replacement. Price is $54,900 which is a fraction of the cost to restore one to this level and considerably less than a large series convertible would be. If you want a professionally-finished car to drive that's bulletproof reliable, competent on the road, pretty to look at, and ready to enjoy, this is a fantastic choice. Thanks for looking!

 

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Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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Just now, Jack Welch said:

To see it in person is to love it.

 

Thank you, Jack, in every sense of the word!

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One has no idea how nice these cars drive, ride, "go", until you have been able to spend some time behind the wheel of one. Truly magnificent cars.

My first experience was 35+ years ago with a friends totally original 1940 Century conv coupe. . I recalled that when I started to look for a 1936-41 era GM

conv sedan over a decade ago. I wanted and 8 cylinder car - either a Caddy or a Buick - no V12 or V16 - to many movin parts.  The car I bought I did not see until

it eventually arrived here on long island from California where it had remained since being sold new. My friend Terry Boyce sent me photos of it he had taken many

many years ago when he wanted to buy it . Car was cosmetically redone ca. 1970 reasonably well for the time, and my friend and Buick guru Doug Seybold checked

it out for me at his shop on its way here. I have enjoyed my 1940 Roadmaster conv sedan for some time now.

This Buick Super that Matt has will make someone very very happy.

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Matt -- Any theories as to why this '40 seems peppier your '41?  Could it be that the '41 had taller gears, say, 3.90s?  If the '41 had the compound carburetion setup (optional on 50 series), is it possible that operating in front-carb-only mode (as presumably would be the case around town) is noticeably less optimal than would be the case with the standard single, centrally located, larger CFM carb?

 

Beautiful car, nicely and believably presented, as usual.

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Standard rear 4.40/1 1940 Super. I beleive 4.11/1 on 1941 Supers. 1941 Factory manual states 70 mph b4 rear carb kicked in, so since dual front carb had smaller venturies than single carb 1940 prolley slight advantage on take off?

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It's more than carburetion, since my '41 had been converted to a single carb at some point in the past. It's not a HUGE difference, but this car feels lighter on its feet. Were the '40s appreciably lighter? I don't know. This one just feels a bit zippier around town. Perhaps part of it is that this car is REALLY quiet whereas I could hear the engine working and the exhaust note on my '41. Not better or worse, just different. I was driving on a marked 35 MPH stretch of road and glanced down and the speedometer in this '40 was reading about 50. I checked it against the GPS speedometer on my phone and it was actually 52. So this is a good all-around cruiser although probably not a 65 MPH car like a  large series 320 would be.

 

Some cars just work better than others. Even two otherwise identical cars often have different personalities. Why can say exactly why that happens, especially after 80 years?

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Lewis Jenkins did an outstanding job on this car!  Love the restored engine turned dash panels, too.  They have the right offset between rows and the proper angle across the face of the panel. I could spend an entire afternoon with this car and a camera checking out the details.  Mail me a key to your shop Matt, I might still be there after closing hours!

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4 hours ago, kgreen said:

Lewis Jenkins did an outstanding job on this car!  Love the restored engine turned dash panels, too.  They have the right offset between rows and the proper angle across the face of the panel. I could spend an entire afternoon with this car and a camera checking out the details.  Mail me a key to your shop Matt, I might still be there after closing hours!

 

If you need any detail photos, just let me know. I'm happy to get you anything that will help with your restoration, Ken.

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23 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

It's more than carburetion, since my '41 had been converted to a single carb at some point in the past. It's not a HUGE difference, but this car feels lighter on its feet. Were the '40s appreciably lighter? I don't know. This one just feels a bit zippier around town. Perhaps part of it is that this car is REALLY quiet whereas I could hear the engine working and the exhaust note on my '41. Not better or worse, just different. I was driving on a marked 35 MPH stretch of road and glanced down and the speedometer in this '40 was reading about 50. I checked it against the GPS speedometer on my phone and it was actually 52. So this is a good all-around cruiser although probably not a 65 MPH car like a  large series 320 would be.

 

Some cars just work better than others. Even two otherwise identical cars often have different personalities. Why can say exactly why that happens, especially after 80 years?

 

I have a 1941 Buick sales brochure that claims that the high-suds '41 dual-carb setup increases fuel economy by running a smaller carb (compared with that used in the single-carb application) most of the time while engaging the second carb only occasionally.

 

Ri-i-i-ight . . . that's why so many compound-carb Buicks were retrofitted with a single carb during the gas-short years of WWII. 

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