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Barney Eaton

Harlow Curtis 1951 Buick limo

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This weeks Old Cars indicated the 1951 Buick Roadmaster sold at the RM auction in Phoenix for $22k and was listed in #5 condition. The photo shown in the previous weeks Old Cars must have been when new as it looked much better than a #5. When I compared the photo with '51's in the Buick History book, the car appears to have '52 trim.

What do you early '52 experts have to say? Has anyone actually seen the car?

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Yes you are right about the 52 Buick trim ! if you go to http://www.rmauctions.com/AuctionResults.cfm?SaleCode=AZ06# and scroll down to lot#168 and click the link you will get the history of the car in a new window.

The chassis no displaid there : 16340056 I would say tells us that its more likely a early 1952 Buick (assembled in 1951) as flint numbers that year started at 1643001 (and the 1951 models built in flint ran from no. 1674001 to 17214106)

the info pages also tells us they had estimated the value to between $60.000 and $80.000 but still sold it at $24.000 confused.gif

The car came from the Joe Bortz Collection, and on his website you can see what I would believe to be a old picture of the car http://bortzautocollection.com/the_collection/cars/51buick.htm , the pictures on the RM site are clearly new pictures, and definatly closer to a #1 condition than a #5

Johnny B. Goode

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Guest my3buicks

What a neat car that would be to own - and at $24K, while not chump change, it's not out of the leque to put you into a one of a kind peice of Buick history. Someday ! ! ! ! ! !

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I first saw this car in a Buick delership in N.W Chicago. somewhere in the early 60's. I was a mess, local mechanics were trying to fix power windows, splicing wiring harnesses, headliner hanging down, at that time would consider about a # 5 car. Dealer knew that is was a special built car.

Didn't have near enough dollars to purchase.

JIm Schilf

palbuick

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Does anyone know who bought this car? I have a later (probably the last) Harlow Curtice personal car, a one-off 1960 Electra 225 convertible done for him by the GM Styling Studio, and would be interested in talking to the new owner of this car.

With regard to the 1951 car, all of the styling cues (deck lid, side chrome, "fin" on top of rear fenders, and wheel covers) suggest 1952 rather than 1951. But, considering who the car was built for, it may very well have been built in 1951 and then "updated" later to resemble the current 1952 model.

Richard

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Guest my3buicks

Richard, I had the pleasure of viewing your car and talking with you a bit a few years ago at Hershey - you are very lucky to own such a magnificent car!!!!

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Here are some photos of the 1960 Harlow Curtice convertible -- now owned by Richard Sills -- taken by Bob Alberini at a regional meet in Indianapolis in the early 1980's.

20360_Harlow_Curtice-med.JPG

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Thanks for posting the pictures, and for the kind note. I saw this car for the first time at the BCA National Meet in Flint in 1972. Although the car was only 12 years old then, I spent quite some time talking with the owner because I was so impressed with it, but it was not for sale, and I never expected to see it again. I couldn't believe the coincidence of seeing it again in 1988, when it was for sale.

I have been told that the car was pictured in one of the 1960 issues of BUICK magazine, with various GM execs (including Mr. Curtice) standing around it. I would like to get a copy of that issue of BUICK magazine, or at least find out which month's magazine I should look for.

Growing up in a Buick family, I looked forward to seeing the BUICK magazine each month. It was great PR for the marque, and helped to instill a sense of brand loyalty. Buick always had its own unique features, such as the Dynaflow transmission, the portholed fenders and the gas-pedal starter. You got the feeling that the people who drove Buicks did not aspire to any other car, except perhaps a higher series of Buick. That was a great era for Buick, and I am glad to have experienced it first-hand.

Richard

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Guest BJM

Curious what is customized on this car and maybe can we get Pete to do a feature on this and others like this. I was at Plano when I saw the 42 Buick "truck" and that was pretty cool. Also, can you ever show this Buick at a National for points? or is it just for viewing?

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The entire rear end of the body is unique -- the fins, the taillights, the deck lid, and the rear quarter panels. It appears that fiberglass or some similar material was used. The rear deck lid emblem shows a Buick heritage but is one-of-a-kind -- not the tri-shield emblem used in 1960, nor the '59 emblem. The ventiports in the front fenders are rectangles, not the "flattened-C" design used on the stock '60 Buick. There is a "GM STYLING" insignia at the bottom of each front fender. The interior is also unique, with vertical pleats on the seat upholstery, and what looks like Cadillac-style hardware on the doors. The armrests in the front doors open up on hinges to reveal concealed storage compartments.

I do not know how judging rules would apply to a one-off car. If I were to bring the car to a BCA National Meet, it would probably make sense to enter it as a display car.

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Guest my3buicks

Richard, I think as long as the car has a certifiable history (which yours does) it would be judged for exactly what it is, not to regular standards except for condition.

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I hope nobody minds me bringing up an old post, but I came across some pictures of the Curtice car taken at the '78 nationals and thought I would share.

I don't remember noticing it at the time, but I see now the car had a trailer hitch in 78. Hard to imagine a one-off car like this did trailer pulling duty at one point. Wonder if there is a story there?

post-37076-143137968602_thumb.jpg

post-37076-143137968605_thumb.jpg

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Shorttimer, thank you for posting the photos of this 1960 car from the 1978 Buick 75th anniversary in Flint. When I saw this car arrive at the show field next to the Buick administration building, I assumed that the car was someone's personal custom and failed to realize the significance of the car.

Interestingly, Gary Klecka loaned me his slides a few years ago from some of the early Flint meets, and, among his excellent photos are shots of the 1978 75th anniversary parade through Flint. This car is clearly seen in the photos of that event, which still stands as the greatest Buick spectacle I've ever seen.

I see that the photo link has failed in my post showing the photos that Bob Alberini shot of this car at a regional meet in Indianapolis during the early 1980's. I'm unable to edit that old topic, so I'm relinking it here. The car had returned to its correct Arctic White by the time of these photos:

20360_Harlow_Curtice.JPG

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The frame number of 1 6,340,056 is a frame number that would have been built around the last week of August 1951 or the first week of September, 1951. It is a 1951 model frame number.

It wouldn't be unusual for the car to go to Buick Engineering for some "updating" if it was Harley Earl's car, as this sort of thing happened fairly regularly.

It also isn't unknown for a frame number to be carved out for Buick Engineering to "Hand Build" a car. Tracking these Engineering-built vehicles was a complex part of trying to account for all the Buicks produced from 1904 thru 1958.

Regards, Dave Corbin

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I'm fortunate enough to own a '51 Buick Roadmaster. It doesn't have the custom roof or rear window but it looks very much like the car pictured. I love my Roadmaster and the '51-'52 models are the bees knees.

Rod

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In the top picture taken in '78 at the Buick Main Office, one of the guys in the photo is Greg Prior who had just hired in to Buick Product Engineering across the street.

The (yellow brick) Buick Engineering Building can be seen in the upper left corner of the second picture.

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OK Richard: I have a picture of your 60 Buick at the 1960 Chicago Auto Show with Ed Rollert. I can't find it but I will look some more. Mitch

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OK Shorttimer: I remember your Father coming over to the car lot one Saturday and PROUDLY showing me this exact picture as well as many others. When I reminisce about old Buick events I always try to mention his name! Mitch

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Any one know the vin # locations on a 1950 super 50 conv

the door jam plate is missing?

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The original owner Mr Marlow added the trailer hitch to prevent people from hitting the bumper - as for the color ? the original color is a really pretty metallic turquoise - I have pic of his Grandson Doug Marlow standing by his Grandfathers car (which he inherited )

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