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98% Original 1941 Buick Super 56C Convertible Coupe *SOLD*


Matt Harwood
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*SOLD* You already know I'm a 1941 Buick fan and I love original, unmolested cars, so this '41 Super hits all the right buttons with me. There was (is?) a temptation to keep it for myself since I miss my green '41 56C so much, but there are other projects and other cars that need the money first and I can't keep them all. This handsome code 566 Chenanga Gray 1941 Super convertible was discovered in a museum by Doug Seybold, who acquired it and went through it mechanically to get it in shape. It had apparently been in the museum since the late 1960s, so he went through the fuel system (tank, pump, carbs), brakes (master cylinder, wheel cylinders, hoses, shoes), cooling system, ignition system (plugs, points, condenser, wires, cap, rotor), and all the other things you do when you bring a car out of hibernation. Here at our shop, we also serviced the shocks and gave it a very deep clean and buff to really bring out the shine in the vintage lacquer. Chenanga Gray is the car's original color (obviously) and there's a hint of green to it that is tough to capture with the camera. I find it handsome and unusual and it works rather well with the black top and red wheels. Michael, my detailer, suspects that the left rear fender has been repainted and there are a few touch-ups here and there, but everything else appears to be 1941 GM lacquer. There's a nice shine, no signs of rust bubbles, no checking or cracking, and aside from a few bare spots where the paint has buffed through (not by Michael!) it's quite nice and you can see a before/after shot in the array below. It's not perfect, but it would be a mistake to repaint this car. In fact, it would be a mistake to do anything to this car other than tires, maybe the top, and then just drive the heck out of it.

 

Chrome is extremely good, including the pot metal. Very little pitting in the critical parts, excellent grille and trunk emblem, all the lenses are in place, including the focusing lenses in the parking lights. I suspect the bumpers were re-chromed at some point, but they don't stand out as too nice. All the trim on this car is better than all the trim on my Limited. It's NICE!

 

The original red leather interior is beautifully preserved. There's some cracking on the driver's seat but none of it has split the leather and everything else remains excellent. It's firm, comfortable, and extremely attractive. The plastics are a combination of replacement and original pieces--the gauges are just too nice to be original but I suspect the steering wheel is simply because it's not quite the same color and it's a bit skinnier than my Limited's wheel, which has been re-cast. The engine-turned dash panels are also in very good condition with only one or two areas with some very, very minor surface rust that might buff off but I'm always afraid of erasing the pattern. It looks fine and again, I think it would be a mistake to touch it. Gauges all work except the fuel gauge and clock, radio powers up and hums but does not tune. Horn, lights, turn signals, etc. all work properly. Black canvas convertible top is surely original and fairly brittle, which is why we did not put it down for photos. It might survive, it might not, but that's not my call to make. For this same reason, I did not test whether the vacuum power assist for the top is operational, so that's an unknown. Weather seals are original and a bit hard, but present and usable. Trunk is quite nice and includes a full-sized spare that's probably pretty old.

 

Doug S. spent some time with the 248 cubic inch straight-8 and it runs beautifully. Starts quickly and easily using the accelerator pedal starter switch and idles smoothly even when it's cold. No fussiness at all. These are Stromberg carbs, which are typically easier to tune, and I tweaked them a bit to sharpen throttle response. Doug also did some light detailing under the hood and we gave it a deep cleaning so it all looks pretty much like it should. Correct hardware, fittings, hose clamps, etc. are used throughout and the original wiring is in quite good condition with no issues--the storage conditions must have been ideal in the museum. It shifts beautifully with no clutch chatter and a very tight shifter, so it's wonderful to drive. It cruises easily at an indicated 60 MPH without seeming too busy, so my gut thinks there might be 3.90 gears in there--it's considerably better on the road than my AACA First Prize green 56C. Plenty of power, smooth delivery, no issues, and it will cruise all day at 60 MPH so forget the BS about small series Buicks not being roadworthy. Brakes are excellent, including the E-brake, and with the freshened shocks it rides beautifully. Shockingly, it has no exhaust leaks and is almost silent on the road. Chassis is obviously grimy and there's surface scale on the heavy metal parts. Inner rockers have some perforation, which is typical, but none of it demands repair--leave it alone and drive it, it's like my '41 Limited and it will never get any worse. The only possible issue are those ancient tires which do have some flat spots from being in stasis for decades, but a fresh set of WWW radials would make this car a spectacular tour vehicle.

 

This isn't a show vehicle and it isn't for the guy who needs everything perfect. It IS for the guy who loves to drive and appreciates a car that has a few bumps and bruises already in place so he doesn't have to fret. Bugs, rain, parking lots, whatever, this Super doesn't care. If you are the kind of guy who can't live with imperfections or rust, don't waste anyone's time with this car, including mine. But I will say it's incredibly liberating to have a car that doesn't need any fussing or mothering when you use it and it drives like a million bucks. This is a superior tour car that still shows quite well and the originality is extremely appealing. Price is $42,900, which is about $15,000 less than the price for which I sold my green one two years ago. Put on some tires, maybe replace the top, and go have some low-stress fun. This is a great little Buick. Thanks for looking!

 

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Before and after buff:

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Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...
11 minutes ago, qbansmokr said:

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that the rear seats in the 1941 56C models were smooth. They did not have the same pattern/design as the front seats.

Am I correct on this??

 

I don't have a good answer for that. I was under the same impression, and my personal 1941 56C did have a smooth back seat. However, when I asked Doug S. about it, he said that he had seen more than several 41 Buick convertibles, both Supers and Roadmasters, with pleated rear seats and even restored one that way for a customer that went on to win all the big awards. Maybe it was an option, the same way some open cars came with cloth and some closed cars came with leather. There were standard choices but perhaps you could order things a little different like this without extra cost as long as it was already available somewhere in the line. The best answers I have are "I don't know" and "use your own judgement before you buy anything."

 

That said, doing some automotive archaeology, this certainly looks and feels like 1941 leather in there. It's hard and somewhat inflexible, both due to age but that's also how it was in 1941. Not soft and supple like today. The hides are not over-processed like today. There are plenty of details throughout that suggest it's original and nothing that says it has been replaced. I pulled the rear seat cushion and there are period materials (no modern foam) and ancient hog rings that have surface rust on them, so they've been there for a very long time. If this car was sitting in a museum since 1969, the interior has to be at least that old, but sitting in a museum probably wouldn't have caused it to age the way it has (there have been plenty of butts in that driver's seat), so the interior has to pre-date that by a significant period of time. Would someone have put an all-new mostly correct interior in this car in, say, 1958 when it was just a 17-year-old used car? That would allow it to get the visible wear and tear it shows now before going into the museum in the '60s. Occam's Razor suggests originality, but I would never be able to claim it with 100% certainty.

 

As with many things in the old car world, it's hard to be 100% about anything. But everything I know and can see in this car says it's probably original. I don't know if it affects value on a thing like this one way or the other, this is a driver-grade car at best, not a show car or something with a pedigree. Get in and drive the thing and don't worry about it, that's my motto.

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3 hours ago, Hans1965 said:

Is that the one still on ebay? 🤔

 

It takes about 24 hours for the database to cycle through and mark the cars sold. It is not instantaneous. It will drop off eBay sometime today. No scandal, no tricks, no scam, just the limitations of database-driven technology in used car advertising.

 

Why? Were you a buyer?

 

 

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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