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1908 Buick Model S - the last survivor


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I love this new forum, and have already enjoyed reading the stories posted here, and seeing the pictures. Like most of the rest of you, I have always loved the 1959-1960 ?Spaceship? Buicks; and remember as a kid marveling at all the wonderful, inspiring, exciting machines on the road - now sadly replaced by generic, sterile (albeit reliable) ?transportation units.? Blah.

Although I own a diverse handful of old cars, I thought maybe this new forum could use a truly OLD Buick. So, below is my 1908 Buick Model ?S? which is the only surviving example of this model. It is finished in its original French Gray, with dark red leather and pinstriping.

The Model S designation means that it is a Roadster. If it were fitted with a Touring body, it would be a Model D. My particular car has the optional double mother-in-law seat, a windshield, and a top, all of which were available options from Buick. There are also 3 Model D Tourings known to remain, one in the Sloan Museum in Flint that I had the pleasure of looking at last week in some detail, with the Director of the Museum. I was delighted to see that it was exactly like my car, confirming that mine is all original and ?correct.?

The Model S was built in 1907-1908, about 400 cars each year; and was Buick?s large car for those years, being much larger and more powerful than the more popular little 2 cylinder Model F and G (Buick also built just a handful of the Model 5, an even larger car). In 1908, Buick introduced the highly successful Model 10, the small 4 cylinder car that became their bread-and-butter for a few years. This is the car that you usually see painted white, which is its correct color. By the way, it was thanks to the widespread success of the little Model 10 that Buick, in 1908, was the largest producer of automobiles IN THE WORLD, the only year that was achieved.

The Models S and D were Buick?s very first 4 cylinder cars, and were quite unusual for Buick, in that it is a ?T-Head? engine design. It was also the first car they produced with a selective, 3 speed transmission, versus the earlier 2 speed planetary. These models were succeeded in 1909 by the awesome Model 16 and Model 17, which utilized the more usual Overhead Valve design engine.

I DRIVE this car. In October, we successfully toured over 300 miles over 4 days in Cape Cod, Mass, along with 24 other pre-1913 cars. Also in May last spring, we toured over 200 trouble-free miles in the mountains of NE Georgia. Around home, I regularly take it out and crank it up for short runs, or even to go on the occasional errand, where it always draws a curious crowd.

It will run away from a Model A Ford, especially uphill. But it should, as it has more horsepower at 35 hp, and is somewhat lighter. People think it is slow, but are surprised to learn that it cruises happily at 35 to 40 mph, which is about one-third throttle. It?ll go a lot faster, but I seldom do. It gets to be quite a handful at higher speeds. Like a gigantic go-kart....

When everything is properly set up, it always starts on the first crank, whether it is 10 degrees out (like now!) or 100 degrees (like it was in Georgia).


Hey! I did it! The photo is there! There is Hope, for Old Dogs!

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Guest imported_MrEarl


I too am really enjoying this new forum. In fact it is the first one of the BCA forums I click onto now , usually followed by General Discussion, Collectable Tech and Resto, Buy/Sell in that order.

And thanks for submitting an "older" year for our viewing and appreciation.I really appreciate the early Roadsters and your's is one of the nicest.Fact is I will be using your picture as my computer background for awhile. I am enjoying this forum because it is so educational while at the same time being very enjoyable. It's sorta like a daily magazine.

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Don, yours is a very special Buick, and I hope that we see photos in this forum of many of the earlier cars.

Thank you for providing the technical details of this particular model. It's great to understand the role that each model played in Buick's long history.

Do you have any details of your car's history?

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I have tried to reconstruct the history of the car, but have hit a Dead End. I have traced it back through the past 4 or 5 collectors, to an auction that was held in Upstate NY in 1981 or 1982. It was sold at that auction, which was the dissolution of a museum in the area. Unfortunately, the fellow who bought it there cannot remember the name of the museum, or even the town, where this auction took place; nor does he have any paperwork remaining. So, I have a significant Gap, from "built in Flint, MI early 1908" until the 1970's (60's? 50's?) when it went into an unknown museum in upstate NY. New York State does not have any records of registration of the car by VIN or engine number. It may well have come from out-of-state to the museum. I have searched old AACA Directories back through the 50's and 60's, and cannot find the car listed. I am at a loss as to how to proceed any further with the research.

I was waiting to respond on this string until some more photos got "cleared," so I could post them as well. So, here is the Model S (far right) along with some of the other cars on the Cape Cod "Snappers Frosty Tour" in October; and also a shot of me and the Bride, on an earlier HCCA Tour in Georgia this past May. It is a blessing to have a wife that loves old cars!

By the way, for those who are unfamiliar, "Snappers" is a non-geographic Region of AACA, a touring-only region for pre-1914 cars.

It is quite a feeling of accomplishment, as you wipe the oil mist, the antifreeze spray, the road grime, and the dead bugs from your face, after completing a few hundred miles of very focused, full-time driving, in a 96 year old Buick, and can say - "I made it!"

People ask if I grew the mustache for the Tour. I tell 'em - "Nope, it came with the car!"



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Don, thanks so much for sharing these great photos with us! As I've listened to others with the brass-era Buicks talk about their participation in driving events, I think that this must be tremendous fun.

I think it's important for those with the early cars to keep them accessible to the public in the way that you are. I'm confident that these tours are inspiring the next generation of caretakers for these early automotive treasures.

Don, I'm hoping that the photos of your Buick on this forum and on the Collectible Automobile Photo Post will prompt someone's recollection about your car's earlier days. It would be wonderful to someday fill in the missing gaps in your Buick's history.

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  • 1 year later...
Guest my3buicks

you probably recognize some these cars

1911 - model 21

1909 - model 16

1906 - Modle G

also he has a freshly restored 1908 - model 10 that isn't shown


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It is nice to see this string pop up. There was an upstate New York auto museum in Bridgewater, New York that was dispersred around the time mentioned.

I got to visit it twice. The cars were stuffed into a building with chicken wire fenced walk ways. It was a real jumble. Most of the cars looked like back row specials from used car lots of the 1940's and 1950's. Only a few of them were "restored". Some had screwed on sheet metal patched and brush paint jobs.

I think I liked it because most of the cars seemed attainable to a mid 20's aged person, well close to attainable.

I remember a small gift shop, mostly reprinted literature. Remember all those Floyd Clymer publications? I bought the 1939 Buick Roadmaster brochure reprint. I still have it.

Some time later, around 1980, my father and I drove up there and found the museum gone and a body shop in its place. We were sad to see that old collection of unrestored cars go. Maybe the 1908 Buick was one of them.


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Dear Don:

You mentioned in an earlier post that you knew of 3 Buick Model D's that have also survived. Could you post information on where they might be? I've got a copy of the actual Buick production records from Jackson for 1907, so if any are 1907's I can ID them.

Regards, Dave Corbin

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  • 1 month later...


My Uncle owns one of the 3 surviving 1908 Buick Model D's. I have been searching for information on the car but have not been too successful. You said you were able to obtain the 1907 Production Information from the Buick Motor Company and I was wondering if you could suggest any places I could go to try to find information on the Buick. IF you would like, I can check the Engine Serial # and let you know so you can see if it is actually a 1907.


Curtis Saunders

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  • 3 months later...

I have just purchased a 1907 Model f 2 cyl at Hershey , the unrestored car was taken apart in 1967 and never put back together , it seems all complete .

I am looking to find other people with a 1907 Model F ,

This car has 6244 on the flywheel and 341 on the rear of the body , it has a selden patent 549.160.

I am afer as much information as i can find , a hand book of a manual if someone has written one.

Ian kerr

21 serpentine road ,

selly Park,

Birmingham , B29 7HU +44 121 472 1258 awentsbury@aol.com

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi im doing a project for my class and got this topic mclaughlin buick...im wondering if anyone can help me who does the mclaughling appeak to today...id be really thankful if any replied...if can sand me in email so i can get the information faster thank you.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Dear Curtis:

If you post the numbers of the 1908 D models, I could look to see if any are actually 1907's. Both engine and frame numbers are useful. I think the same information must have existed at one time for all real early Buicks, but sadly, only the 1907 Jackson Plant production book has survived.

Regards, Dave Corbin

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  • 13 years later...

there are over 10 known Model S to my knowledge in the world 


the nicest one I saw was at the 2012 bonhams auction 




the 2 seater ( I know the owner who is restoring one in the UK to look like the below pic)


5 of them here 




and another photo of a Blue one that sold for $22,500 USD in 2015 





Buick 1907 Model S Litho.png



Edited by pc7
photo delete (see edit history)
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