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1936 Buick 91 Limited

Phil Bowen

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I recently came into possession of a 1936 Buick 91 Limited after my father passed away late last year.  It has been sitting in his garage in Southern California for the last 20+ years and I would like to sell it.  I have the title and a lot of spare parts. 

The Buick isn’t running, but I believe it will with gas and a battery.  The interior is somewhat disassembled as my father was restoring it (door panels, roof liner, seats, etc.)—one of his many simultaneous projects!  Attached are some recent photos of the car.  It is in rough shape, but I'm told the engine (Straight 8) is okay.  Wood also looks good, as does the body--no rust.  Everything else seems intact.  

I'm not totally sure on the value, but I figured I'd start at $5,500.

If you are interested, let me know and I'll give you my contact information.




























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Phil, I apologize in advance for what I believe to be sad advice.


Your father's 1936 Buick Limited appears to be a solid, but total restoration project car - worthy of restoration, but a major project. While you "believe" the engine to be OK, having sat 20 years unused and not even turned over, nothing can be assured. What you actually have is a totally disassembled collection of parts with essentially no road map toward completion of a torturous, hazardous, expensive, labor-intensive, overwhelming journey. 


Unfortunately, the cost to restore the parts, buy tires and tubes, upholstery, glass, rubber, and labor to do all of this work, and then spend months to assemble, test fit, paint and reassemble, will by far exceed the eventual value of even the best restored example of this 90 Series '36 Buick.


While I will not venture a guess as to a "fair" price, it will likely have to go to someone young enough to invest years, and skilled enough to do the overwhelming share of restoration, paint, upholstery, and mechanical work him/herself - and even then, just the extreme cost of chrome plating alone could approach the ultimate value of this potentially elegant, sedan.


The end result would be a delight, but financially upside-down for almost anybody.

Where satisfaction and a labor of love, and not financial matters are the primary issue, this may not be a concern . 


I certainly wish you the best, and regret that your father was not able to continue his quest.

Edited by Marty Roth
additional note (see edit history)
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I agree with what Marty said above. On the positive side, the car is a full Classic as recognized by the Classic Car Club of America; it was rare even when new (1,713 built); and according to the latest BCA Roster (which is somewhat flawed in the list of cars owned) there are only four of these 1936 model 91s known in the entire BCA. It is the first year for the 320 engine which is easy to get parts for, and the first year for modern, hydraulic brakes in a Buick. Unfortunately, when a car is disassembled, it loses most of its value due to the high cost of restoration and the difficulty of putting it back together when the new owner wasn't the one who took it apart.

Yes it will cost more than it is worth to restore it, but there may be somebody out there who doesn't care about the financial returns and just wants to own a very rare, jaw-dropping car that will draw crowds of admirers at the Hershey October car show (to give one example) when it is done.

Pete Phillips, BCA #7338

Leonard, Texas

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Sorry for the loss of your father. I think that it is unlikely that you will find anyone willing to offer anything near $5,500 for the car in that condition. I think that your best chance to sell it will be someone who already owns one and wants a parts car, or someone who is already in the process of restoring one (I sent a link to this discussion to the one guy that I know who is in that category), or to Dave Tacheny. Dave is in the business of selling 1936-1941 Buick Parts. I have also made Dave aware of it. If you don't have any luck with any of those folks, please check out the 36-38 Buick Club:

 http://www.3638buickclub.org/  (You can contact me through the contact us link on that website, or by private message on this site.)

As the newsletter editor for the club, I would be willing to advertise it for you in the next club newsletter if you wish. 

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I think the car is imminently restorable.  For me, its $2000 to ship it back to Iowa.  Joel knows this is my dream car. This and a 1940 Limited.  To the seller, although you probably don't know it there is a 1940 Limited in nice condition on this forum for sale below your ad for $28,000. On ebay it reached $14,000 unsold.  Even at $28,000 your asking price of your Limited is 25% of a beautiful road ready car.  That is the reality. I would consider the car for $1000. Put as many of the parts in it you can. I know from memory we saw a couple of rough Limited projects go for up to $3000  a few years ago.  This will likely go lo al due to shipping costs. 

Edited by B Jake Moran (see edit history)
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If indeed the wood is solid, this car has lots of promise. But, I’ve seen so much wood that looks solid but isn’t that I am skeptical. When the seller says there are spare parts I have to wonder if they are actually spare parts or parts that have been removed and shelved or boxed.  These limiteds have some unique parts - almost impossible to source.   

I hope this car finds someone with the passion and resources to see this one through.

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Thank you for all of your comments.  Much appreciated!  I'm putting it in the Buick Club's National Magazine with Pete Phillips and will reach out to MCHinson about the 36-38 Newsletter.  I really don't want it to be a parts car--it would be nice to see it restored by someone.  Will see what happens....

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2 hours ago, B Jake Moran said:

I doubt it but you are entitled to your opinion. Rodders favor 2 door models 

Of course you’re going to disagree with my statement, you always do, I don’t know what shows your going to but I’ve seen dozens and dozens of four-door street rods of all makes, now major customs they tend to favor coupes but even those it’s not uncommon to set 4 doors.  Or you can read the description of a street ride, broaden your knowledgehttps://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwiHhZnF_vLsAhWko1kKHYsrC2YQFjAJegQIBhAC&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.rodauthority.com%2Ffeatures%2Fask-the-experts%2Fask-the-experts-what-is-a-street-rod%2F&usg=AOvVaw1hHJmAqq8tHodpC6ZV1LEk


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I've seen quite a few sedan/4-door convertible rods, but a lot more coupes/2-door convertibles. I think it reflects the same bias towards coupes seen in the restoration crowd. I personally feel some designs look better as sedans (e.g., '38 Buicks), but it's subjective.

Sedans cost more to restore/rod (unless someone's building a rat rod and neglecting the interior), somewhat balanced by typically lower purchase prices.

This car would be magnificent restored, but the interior would be insanely expensive, and resale is hardly as good as a Century. That leaves parts car or rod.

Kudos to the seller for his flexibility.

Best wishes for a good result!


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On 11/2/2020 at 4:38 PM, Pete Phillips said:

Yes it will cost more than it is worth to restore it, but there may be somebody out there who doesn't care about the financial returns and just wants to own a very rare, jaw-dropping car


and with that in mind and considering the seller is the son of the deceased owner,  the asking price in this case, whether some think it high or low,  is not going to be a major factor in the end, so I hope the seller got every penny of what he was asking.

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