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Introduction and a Question about Spare Tire Cutouts on 1940 Model 41 Special

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I've been lurking on the forum for awhile and thank you for all the wisdom. I figured I should introduce myself, and I have a question about a new to me 1940 Special. I am new to pre-War cars, but am really enjoying the learning process. So first a quick story. I had been on the hunt for a project car for awhile. I was mainly looking at trucks from the 50's and early 60's. Over the past year I been casually on the hunt and had gone and looked at a lot of machines. The truck market has gone nuts with serious junk going for dumb money. I had come close on a couple but never pulled the trigger. 


So in the irony of life, as I am coming home from looking at a yet another car I passed on I see an old Plymouth parked in front of my neighbors with a for sale sign. I stop and look and it was a decent looking 41 but was missing all the trim and the motor was locked. Despite my better judgement I give him a call. He quickly talks me out of the Plymouth, too far gone for anything other than a body swap, but he's got something he wants me to come look at. I knew this guy had a few cars, but he'd never been interested in selling and I hadn't pestered him. 


So I go back to his barn and he take me to the back. There's a 1940 Special in black. We roll it out and I give it a once over. It's partially disassembled, but all the big stuff is there, and he quickly shows me everything else it needs is in various spots around the barn. The car is really solid. Surprisingly so for an upper-midwest machine. There's a little rust behind the fender mounts (all the fenders are off) but the floors, pillars, and body exterior are solid. The interior is worn, but complete. It's titled and he swore it ran well when parked.


He gives me a story then about the history of the car. He was the third owner. He had gotten it from his father when he died, and his father had purchased it from the original owner, a local pizza joint/bar owner, named Red Savoy. Red was a pretty well known character in St Paul, MN rumored to have won his bar in a card game. At this point I'm very intrigued, so I ask for a number and he throws out a price I couldn't pass. Crap, I just joined the world of Pre-War Buicks. 


He's a trucker and was headed out later that day so we work out a time for us to do the deal. We meet up at the appointed day exchange a little cash and as I'm loading the car on to his car trailer (yes it was that easy of a deal). He asks would I be interested in a second 1940 Special 4 door. I hesitate for a moment, and he says he'll make a real sweet deal and throw in a pile of parts (fenders, hoods, a couple motors, transmissions, etc.). Okay, how much I ask. He throws out another number which was far too low to pass. Crap, now I'm fully committed to the Pre-War Buick life!


He'd didn't lie. I set to work on the black one and after cleaning the carb, dropping the oil pan, and checking the points, I was able to get it running and driving. It needs plenty, but it does run and drive. 


So for those for those who have hung in here this far, here's my question. In the pile of parts for the black car were the front fenders. They have the spare tire cutouts in them. The guy I bought it from claimed it this was it was factory and very rare for a Special to have the cutouts. I have not seen and reference to those cutouts for Specials anywhere. The fenders look factory, not like a shortened Roadmaster front fender. But just curious if anyone knows. Happy to post a picture of the fender if it helps.



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Welcome to Pre War Buick ownership ☺️

Both cars look OK. Common rust points are at the bottom of the C pillar (rear door) and rear valence where the bumper brackets come out.


Have you got the wheel covers and all the hardware that holds the wheel in place?

Photo are from an auction site of 2012 (not mine)

1940 model 41 Special Front.jpg

1940 model 41 Special Side.jpg


Edited by 1939_Buick (see edit history)
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Thanks for the insight. I'm actually glad it isn't rare. I intend to make the car driver, but leave it unrestored. If it was a real rare bird I'd feel more compelled to do a full resto.


I do have the wheel covers (3 actually, can't remember if its two rights or lefts), but don't have the hold down hardware yet. The neighbor and I have slowly working through the barn (and a 48' trailer!) finding parts and pieces. He's convinced he has them and I'm fairly confident we'll locate them at some point. 


I have poured over the car and haven't found any real rust or even weak spots except the flanges where the fenders meet the body and some pinholes in the rear valance below the rear deck lid. Those few spots look reasonably simple to weld in patches. The rear valance may be a bit of challenge, but the curve is simple enough.


Amongst the small miracles on this car is I have yet to break a bolt. Everything has freed up with relative ease. I know I just jinxed myself but I could resist. Even got the heat riser freed and working correctly. Just penetrating oil and gentle tapping side to side.  Thanks to whomever posted that tip. 


Next up is a new fuel pump (the current one squirts out the vents and wasn't corn gas ready) and a new water pump. 



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