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For Sale : 1949 Buick Riviera, $15,500


richie3
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The one Buick I've always wanted and never owned and I've had a whole lot of straight 8 Buicks.  Problem is I'm 82 now, have had a bunch of issues in the last few years and I don't think I could finish this one out.  If I could, or even went crazy and changed my mind, I don't see any of the rare sidemoldings for the doors, quarters or rear fenders.  Each of those is imperative to finish this car.

 

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3 hours ago, Dynaflash8 said:

The one Buick I've always wanted and never owned and I've had a whole lot of straight 8 Buicks.  Problem is I'm 82 now, have had a bunch of issues in the last few years and I don't think I could finish this one out.  If I could, or even went crazy and changed my mind, I don't see any of the rare sidemoldings for the doors, quarters or rear fenders.  Each of those is imperative to finish this car.

 

Earl, I was thinking the same thing--I don't see the long, rear quarter panel moldings nor the door moldings and those are 1949 76-R only. I also don't see any wiring in place or new wiring harness, although the ad does say the car is complete--well, then show us the complete parts!

I also guarantee you that those two rear quarter windows shown in the photo do not match--they are from different cars--compare their lengths! I don't see any rear fender stainless gravel guards. And there are several mechanical items missing from the engine.

Yes, it is an intriguing car, and a rare one.

Pete Phillips, BCA #7338

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Pete: You are completely correct except for one important statement.  Originally the '49 Roadmaster convertible had long straight line stainless molding down the side.  However, after the Riviera was introduced they changed the 76-C Roadmaster convertible to include the sweepspear molding like the 49 Riviera. I dated a girl once whose father had one of those second style Roadmaster convertibles.

 

Earl Beauchamp BCA #55

Edited by Dynaflash8 (see edit history)
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4 hours ago, Pete Phillips said:

 

I also guarantee you that those two rear quarter windows shown in the photo do not match--they are from different cars--compare their lengths! 

The windows are turned different directions so this may just be an optical illusion...

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This is what I got for 15 grand a year ago. Super smooth engine and really complete. Interior shot though, currently in the making. Bumpers excellent, side chrome slightly pitted. But if the guy had spent 7 on the chrome alone, then you could say the car costs only 8.5.... That's the way I would convince myself it is a great deal and in fact a steal. 😂👍😊 Do you use similar strategies? But the rear fender chrome is a must, totally agree. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Man, you've got a pile of nice cars.  It had to cost a lot to get the 49 Riviera shipped.  I'd be afraid to ask.  I saw it and thought about how to get it, but I wouldn't do what you were willing to do, buy sight unseen.  You got a good car and a good deal by being willing to take a chance.

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8 hours ago, Dynaflash8 said:

Man, you've got a pile of nice cars.  It had to cost a lot to get the 49 Riviera shipped.  I'd be afraid to ask.  I saw it and thought about how to get it, but I wouldn't do what you were willing to do, buy sight unseen.  You got a good car and a good deal by being willing to take a chance.

Hi there, here are my costs.... 

In the US:

- Enclosed pick-up Kentucky New York USD 695

- Ocean freight USD 895

- Insurance USD 225

= ca. 1800 USD

 

In Europe:

-Handling charges (Unloading, customs clearance documents, ecotax) 500 EUR

-Vat 7% 1568 EUR

-pick-up Rotterdam port to my garage 250 EUR

= ca. 2300 EUR = ca 2500 USD 

 

Total 4300 USD (ca. 3900 EUR) on top of sales price. VAT hurts me most, is on car price and transport. 

 

I always follow my gut feeling after I have talked to the seller and my expectation is low. But you are right, to buy sight unseen is just crazy. The car looks better on photos then in reality, but so far I have not found any rust. Currently I have removed the whole interior, seats, door panels, carpets, insulation, to redo everything over the winter. No rust through at all in the floors or rockers. Really a good buy. And the engine sound is fantastic .....  Last winter I started to work on the 49 Super convertible that I had bought from the same shop in Kentucky, worked on that 6 months, every evening for 2 to 5 hours. Lockdown? Why not?..... 

 

Yesterday I watched a 1941 Pontiac Streamliner fastback just 10 miles  away from me. Sitting in a garage for 8 years. A young guy had imported it from Minnesota in 2012. Total rust bucket. But unmolested totally original car. Absolutely fascinating! And nice people selling it. That's the best in this hobby, the people. 

 

 

 

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        Re: buying sight un-seen . . .

        Since I do not live in a populous area, interesting cars for sale are invariably located at a considerable distance from me -- leaving me with the choice of costly travel, as well as considerable time and trouble, in order to investigate the item. . . or to (as prudently as possible) purchase sight-unseen and hope for the best.

         Having used both approaches, I find my results with the sight-unseens to have been acceptable while saving me considerable time and money over personal inspection trips.  Further, I've found that traveling significantly to check out a vehicle puts the buyer at a major psychological disadvantage, for two general reasons: it puts the buyer in the position of having made an "investment" in the deal from the get-go, leaving him/her vulnerable to the might-as-wells; and it signals to the seller a high level of motivation on the part of the buyer -- never a good bargaining position for a buyer to land in.  

           In other words, negotiating sight-unseen is a relatively inexpensive, optimal-leverage approach which saves money that can offset possible disappointments.  On the other hand, if you travel to look over a vehicle, then (to use a time-honored phrase) they can see you comin' . . .  

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I've had very bad luck buying sight unseen.  A 64 Buick Wildcat was terrible as was a 56 Buick 46-R.  The problem with the oh-well is, when you see you've bought a junker, your investment pushes you to try and fix it.  Invariably that goes down a road to spending horrible sums of money trying to make it good and often it never suits you because the mechanic's let you down.  That 41 Pontiac let that man down and because he was so let down he just let it sit, I'll bet, which is what I should have done with that Wildcat.  I lost about $20,000 trying to make it right and it never got all the way there.  We're not talking $300 for an in-the-field 1941 Buick Limited now, we're talking thousands just to get started.  The worst are dealers who put lipstick on a pig and even if you look at it, in the end you find they were smarter with the cover-up than you were with the investigation.  I knew that 49 Riviera had good bones, because the owner was sick for six years, yet was a longtime member of the Buick Club of America.  Rodent cleanup is pretty horrible to deal with, but nothing like rust.  If you can find it, there is always a lot more hidden.  Hans you got a rare car and one good enough to make a good car, but no way can you ever recover that shipping number.  You are right, the best thing about the old car hobby is the average people that you meet, from lawyers and doctors to carpenters and truck drivers.  Some dealers hide as collectors, tho, and they are all in it for the money, hook or crook.

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         Dynaflash  -- In spite of my previous post, you make a very valid point, one that correlates with my own experiences.  In particular, some years ago I bought sight-unseen, for a low eBay price, a '41 Cadillac that turned out to have been badly misrepresented and therefore not the bargain I thought it was.  But that car wasn't as bad as one that I purchased after a personal inspection, only to find later on that it was a masterpiece of deceit in the form of some very skillful Bondo-applied rust concealment.

          Sometimes I've thought that the best strategy to avoid getting stung is to examine the character of the seller as intently as the characteristics of the car.  Problem is, frequently, problems ensue as much from innocent seller ignorance as from intentional deception.  Case in point is my very nice, sight-unseen-purchased, '54 76R, restored by a young-ish seller who unwittingly painted the engine in '53 straight-eight turquoise and spent a lot of money having the car's incorrect 1953 (!!!) steering wheel restored -- following which he installed incorrect, low-profile, letter-series whitewalls.

           Geesh -- seems like they'll get to you one way or another . . .

             

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         Hmm -- I think my earlier post about the unexpected marginally incorrect restoration of my '54 76R needs some elaboration as to how I was caught unawares in that respect in the course of buying the car sight-unseen.  That is, the purchase occurred 22 years ago, when internet photography was generally fuzzy and of poor quality.  So, rather than undertake a 6000-mile round trip to examine the car, I hired a well-recommended collector-car judge to do the job for me.  But, because he was not a Buick guy, he failed to notice the car's incorrect aspects.  

           Further, in some respects, he and I weren't speaking the same language.  For example, after I asked him to focus on possible valve lifter noise, he reported such noise upon starting but indicated that it subsided after a few minutes' running time.  Well, maybe -- if "subside" means diminishing from a teeth-gnashing clatter to the softer sound of an engine full of castanets.

            Still, the expense I saved by using an appraiser as opposed to making the trip was considerable -- not that I'm likely to repeat that approach in the future.

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