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First Post, First Pre-War Buick- a 1938 Special Business Coupe

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Hi all,


First post, I recognize some of the names on here from other Buick forums I frequent. If you want to skip ahead and just hear more about the ‘38, feel free to bypass my introduction, as I can be long winded.


My dad and I just picked up two new projects to go along with our current stable of Buicks. I am primarily a 70-72 GS guy, and also have an ‘87 Grand National, but the two new projects both have sentimental value to our family’s history with cars. 

The first is a 1938 series 40 Special Business Coupe. This car is special to me because my grandfather had a love of 37-39 Buicks. He was married in a ‘39, and always told stories about the 38’s he would buy and sell. I have a photo of him posing with one of his ‘38s from the sixties. He started our auto repair business in 1953, that we still operate today. We are a Buick family because of his passion for the cars. When I was younger (28 now), he had a ‘41 sedan with twin carbs. 


For the car itself, it is a single side mount that last registered in 1971 in New York. I believe it is either original paint, or a very old respray in its original color. It has 15” wheels (not sure if they are century wheels, haven’t looked into it much yet) and is rock solid. Someone welded galvanized metal as door patches long ago. The guy I bought it from owned it roughly a year and had plans to restore it with his friend. Unfortunately, his friend passed away and he decided to focus on other projects. It came with a lot of parts. Multiple sets of running boards, NOS headlight lenses, NOS master cylinder and clutch, generators, 2 correct clocks, an extra 20+ hubcaps (mostly repro, including a set of 37 hubcaps). I haven’t been able to go through it all yet, but I know a lot of it is mixed in 36-37 as well. It is currently locked up, but came with a recently rebuilt 38’ motor and trans. Our plan is to swap in the drivetrain and get it road worthy, leaving the body as-is. We intend on it to appear as a survivor car with new interior and a clean engine bay. It will need a complete interior, but I have the seat. The headliner and door panels are in surprisingly good shape, but I am missing all of the rear interior pieces. So far, I’ve bought brake lines and a chassis manual. This project will be documented on our YouTube channel beginning at the end of the month. 

The second car is a ‘53 Roadmaster riviera. Significant because my dad, grandfather, and uncles restored a ‘53 in 1975. This will be a longer term complete restoration project. It is complete with a majority of the metal work done, but there is a lot left to do body wise before paint. The interior is in decent shape to drive as is, and the previous owner polished most of the trim. It came with rechromed bumpers, and a lot of quality parts. 

Thanks for letting me join. I will be lurking as a reader and searching forums, as this car is totally out of my wheelhouse. I will also plan on updating the thread as we make progress.



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additional photos and trim tag. The wheels do not look to be correct for a '38 century based on other photos I found. I also found some light overspray on the rear window seal and passenger door seal, so I am going to venture and guess this is not original paint. 

1938MOD. 40(?) 

STYLE No 38-4427B

BODY No 6610

TRIM No 400

PAINT No 516







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1938 MOD 46  - This is Special Business Coupe

Style Number 38-4427B - 1938 model Series 40, Special, body type - Business coupe , plain back

Body # 6610 is the 6,610th body produced of this style of which 11,337 were made

Trim 400: Tan Bedford Cord

Paint 516 Gainsborough Blue (as I suspected)

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Thank you! I’m assuming it’s going to be difficult to source the rear interior panels? It’s currently gutted outside of the headliner and door panels (which have been modified at some point with custom work)

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That I am less qualified to answer. I have big series 38's so anything upholstery wise interior had to be made from scratch. I believe the smaller series cars had some availability of panels and kits that were done and complete from Lebarron Bonney / Hampton Coach but they went out of business and I'm not sure if anyone took it up. 

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Welcome to the AACA Discussion Forum. If anybody has the LeBaron Bonney patterns for the interior pieces, I would suspect it to be SMS Fabrics. It is my understanding that they obtained some of the assets of LeBaron Bonney, but not all of the assets. 


It will probably be easier to find someone with a 1938 Model 46 to get you detailed interior photos that will enable a good local upholstery shop to replicate the interior pieces, as it is unlikely that SMS or anybody else will be reproducing those interiors in the near future. I should be able to help you find someone who can help with some photos. I would also suggest you check out the 36-38 Buick Club and consider joining. 




If you send me an email at the webmaster's listed email address on the site or through the contact the webmaster link on the site, I will be happy to also send you a sample .pdf copy of a recent 36-38 Buick Club newsletter and can also email you a membership form. There are a couple of restoration stories on this site for 1937 and 1938 Buicks that might be helpful to you, but both of the ones that I am aware of are for sedans, so they won't be much help on the coupe interior questions. 


I will also be happy to help you with some guidance on how to free up the stuck motor. Most likely it can be broken free relatively easily, but it would be easier to explain with a phone call. 

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