Auctions and Brokerage
Reportedly acquired new for use as a US military staff carMax Zellers (acquired circa 1963)Paul Buckwalter, Santa Cruz, California (acquired from the above circa 1993)Myron Golden, Brattleboro, Vermont (acquired from the above circa 1994)Current Owner
Castle Hill Concours d’Elegance, Ipswich, Massachusetts, September 2001 (Second Place, Significant Pre-WWII)Greenwich Concours d’Elegance, Greenwich, Connecticut, June 2002Concours d’Elegance of the Eastern US, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, 2002AACA Westchester Region Fall Meet, August 2002
The inspiration for Buick to produce an estate wagon is said to have come at the urging of Hollywood film director Norman McLeod’s wife, who mentioned to visiting company president Harlow Curtice that the reason she did not have a Buick in her garage was that she required a station wagon – which the company did not build. The first Buick estate wagon subsequently appeared soon thereafter, in mid-1940, and quickly sold out.
For 1942, Buick introduced bold new styling changes throughout its range that were inspired by Harvey Earl’s 1938 groundbreaking “Buick Y-Job” concept car. Available in several body styles, the estate wagon was the rarest variant. Powered by a Fireball DynaFlash straight-eight engine producing 115 hp, power was transmitted to the rear axle via a three-on-the-tree manual gearbox. The comfortable and practical wood-paneled body was produced for Buick by Hercules of Evansville, Indiana, and, for the 1942 model year, featured fenders that extended deep into the front doors. A mere 327 wagons rolled off the assembly line before General Motors’ facilities were abruptly converted to wartime production in February 1942.
While many of these wagons found homes with families in the US, it is believed approximately half were acquired by the government and used for the war effort, as is believed to be the case for the example offered here. According to a story passed down among previous owners, this 1942 Buick Special Series 40B Estate Wagon was assigned to a General Arnold Milhop as a staff car, and was returned to the US after the war for use as the general’s personal car for a number of years. After a series of subsequent ownerships, the wagon would come into the possession of collector Myron Golden of Brattleboro, Vermont, in 1994.
In 1996, Mr. Golden initiated a meticulous, no-expense-spared restoration. The wagon was completely disassembled and refinished in the pleasing color combination of seafoam green with a dark green leather interior. The Buick’s mechanical systems and wood body were also rebuilt and restored to factory condition. Completed in 2001, a number of concours awards attest to the restoration’s high quality, including First Junior (2001), Senior (2002), and Preservation Awards at AACA shows. A set of owner’s manuals and a folder of exhaustive restoration documentation accompany the sale.
The Buick’s restoration has continued to hold up well and still presents beautifully. In addition to the model’s extremely limited production, their wooden coachwork requires regular maintenance to remain protected from the elements, and most have been lost to the ravages of time. As such, only three 1942 examples are reportedly known to survive. This supremely rare Buick Estate Wagon, with its intriguing history, will likely be the star attraction of any woodie or AACA event at which it might appear.