Lot 10

2016   |   Amelia Island Auctions 2016

1940 Buick Super Estate Wagon


$275,000 - $325,000



Car Highlights

Earliest Known Surviving Example of Buick’s First Wood-Bodied Production Station Wagon
One of Very Few Surviving from the 495 Units Built for US Sale
Impeccable 5,000-Hour Restoration at Doug Seybold Restorations
Winner of Multiple AACA and Buick Club of America Awards
Accompanied by Period-Correct Tools and Jack

Technical Specs

248 CID Dynaflash OHV Inline-8
Single Stromberg Model AAV-16 2-Barrel Carburetor
107 BHP at 3,400 RPM
3-Speed Manual Gearbox
4-Wheel Hydraulic Drum Brakes
Independent Front Suspension with Coil Springs
Live Rear Axle with Coil Springs
Register to Bid

John Sweeney, Homer City, PennsylvaniaCurrent Owner (acquired from the above by 1993)

Charlotte AutoFair, Charlotte, North Carolina, April 2010 (Best in Show)AACA 75th Anniversary Meet, Louisville, Kentucky, July 2010 (First in Class, Preservation, and Repeat Preservation)Buick Club of America, Ames, Iowa, July 2010 (Senior Award, Gold Award, BCA Award for the Highest-Scoring Car at a National Meet)AACA (First Place, Junior)AACA (First Place, Senior)AACA, Shelbyville, Tennessee, June 2012 (First Grand National)Glenmoor Gathering, Canton, Ohio, September 2012 (Best Woodie)AACA, Moline, Illinois, June 2013 (Senior Grand National)AACA National Award for Best of the Best, 2013Arthritis Foundation Classic Auto Show, Dublin, Ohio, July 2013 (Top Prewar Car)VMCCA National Award, 2014Concours d’Elegance at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, Akron, Ohio, September 2014 (First in Class, Spectators Choice and Judges Choice)

It has been decades since US automakers sold real wood-bodied cars, but the fascination with these models lingers like a fond childhood memory. A gleaming wood-paneled automobile is a splendid anachronism, a beautifully finished piece of fine furniture on wheels.

The Buick Super Estate Wagon was introduced in 1940. According to Buick authorities Terry Dunham and Larry Gustin, Mrs. Bunny McLeod – the wife of Hollywood film director Norman McLeod – was asked by Buick chief Harlow Curtice why she didn’t have a Buick in her garage. “You don’t build a station wagon,” she reportedly replied. On the train back to Michigan, Curtice and GM design chief Harley Earl sketched what became Buick’s first production station wagon. Buick’s ad man Arthur Kudner called it an “Estate Wagon.” Fittingly, Mrs. McLeod was given the prototype in a surprise presentation at the Cocoanut Grove in Hollywood. She was so delighted she cried.

Buick built just 495 examples starting in mid-1940, and they quickly sold out. Proudly placed on a 121" wheelbase, the Model 59 could carry six passengers and their luggage in style. The one-piece stamped front fenders were an engineering and production marvel; a period Buick ad read, “When you pilot this richly finished Buick Estate Wagon around, you’re riding with the crème de la crème of the entire country, coast to coast.”

Thought to have been used by movie studios in California early in its life, this 1940 Buick Super Estate Wagon was acquired by the consignor, a marque expert and restorer, approximately 25 years ago from John Sweeney of Homer City, Pennsylvania. The consignor’s restoration shop then lavished over 5,000 hours of care on this Royal Maroon beauty. The Northern Ash and African mahogany wood body is entirely new and was strengthened with modern glues and techniques, then finished with 40 coats of clear lacquer. The rebuilt engine has been upgraded with insert rod bearings. This Woodie is equipped with the optional under-seat heater and under-dash defroster. The attention to detail is simply superb, and not long after restoration was completed, this elegant Buick Super Estate Wagon won Best of Show against 2,000 other cars at the 2010 Charlotte AutoFair. The wagon also has garnered AACA First Junior and Senior awards, AACA Grand National and Senior Grand National badges, and the AACA National Award in 2013. In addition, the Buick Club of America recognized this outstanding restoration with its Senior and Gold Awards.

It is estimated by the consignor that only 12 1940 Buick Super Estate Wagons have survived. This example, accompanied by an album of photos chronicling its restoration, a tool kit, jack, and jack stand, is arguably the best example extant and deserves your careful consideration.