Here is a 1929 Buick Series 129 Sedan that really gives you good glimpse of a luxury car prior to the 1930's. The year 1929 was special for Buick as it was the marquees Silver Anniversary. Not only was the first Buick for sale manufactured in 1904 but the marquee is considered the oldest American car brand still in production today. After all the car brands discontinued over the decades, this is significant.
The Buick 129 Series
In 1929 there were three series of cars offered by Buick. These were the 116, 121 and 129 Series. Each one of these series reflected the wheelbase length. The 129 Series, which includes the featured automobile in this article, came in a variety of models. These included the Sedan, Convertible Coupe, Standard Coupe, Phaeton, Limousine, both five and seven passenger Sedans and Touring models.
1929 Buick Styling
Buick was positioned by General Motors to be a luxury car ranked under the Cadillac and above the Pontiac. Chevrolet the the lowest and least costly brand.
The style of the 1929 Buick is a story in itself and takes us back to the early days of Harley Earl, one of the most well known of the twentieth century auto designers. Essentially, it was a difference of opinion between Earl and the Fisher Body people. Harley Earl designed a Buick which in 1929 meant mostly a lot of straight lines.
When Fisher Body got a hold of the design they made a few alterations that resulted in a slight bulge just below the middle. The car was thus referred to as the "pregnant Buick" although noticing this difference from Earl's design was not easily seen by the average observer.
The end result of this dust up was that Harley Earl obtained the support of Alfred Sloan, GM President, and in the future Earl's design team would be consulted of any design changes prior to them being implemented. This was a big victory for Earl and helped his career quite a bit.
Many collectors know that Harley Earl has been called the father of the Chevrolet Corvette. From the 1920's Buick to the introduction of the Corvette and beyond gives you a good idea of Earl's career.
1929 Buick Series 129 Sedan Specifications
The 129 Series Buick, the long model, was available with a choice of two engines. These were either a 239 or 308 cubic inch inline six cylinder engine. The 239 delivered 74 horsepower and the 308 delivered 91. Both engines employed a single downdraft carburetor.
As a comparison of engines in 1929, Henry Ford's Tudor Model A had a four cylinder 200 cubic inch engine, the Chevrolet Sedan had a 171 cubic inch inline six and the 1929 Plymouth Sedan had a four cylinder 175 cubic inch power plant. The two six cylinder 1929 Buick engines packed good power for the era.
Transmissions for all three 1929 Buick models was a three speed manual.
All 1929 Buick models featured four wheel mechanical brakes.
The 1929 Series 129 had a 129 inch wheelbase as mentioned above. vehicle weight averaged about 3,800 lbs.
Front suspension were semi-elliptic leaf springs with the rear having cantilever springs.
The original base price of the 1929 Buick Series 129 Sedan was about $1,900.
1929 Buick 129 Series production totals were 26,390. The highest selling model was the smallest 116 Series with 84,119 produced. This was not surprising. Phaetons and Limousines were built but a relatively few were built. Phaetons totaled about 1,400 and Limousines just under 1,000.
If you're inspecting an original 1929 Buick and searching for the engine number it will be stamped on the engine block. This is the number generally used for registration in many states. The 1929 Buick Serial Number should be either a six or seven digit serial number depending on the model. Since many of these cars had engines switched over the years identifying the serial number and indexing it with the manufacturer's records is important.
Links below are to additional AutoMuseumOnline articles featuring cars from the late 1920's...
1929 Buick Collector Cars
Any vintage automobiles from this era are collectible. The 1929 Buick was a milestone car commemorating Buick's Silver Anniversary which is a plus. There are also several Buick clubs which work to preserve these vintage vehicles. They include the Buick Club of America with several chapters, the 1929 Silver Anniversary Buick Club, the Buick Car Club of Australia, the Buick Club of Norway and the Buick Club of Germany.
If you are planning on restoring a 1929 Buick I would check out the Buick Club of America forums where you can get a lot of questions answered by vintage Buick owners and possibly find sources for old parts. Bill McLaughlin's Newsletter from the 1929 Silver Anniversary Buick Club is also an excellent source of information.
As of this writing, 1929 Buick auction prices for fully restored models range in the mid to high $20,000 range. These would be for 129 Series four door sedans however don't be surprised to see some come on the market below $20,000. We've also seen a Buick 121 Series coupe with an asking price in the high twenties. Also a 1929 Buick Business Coupe with the smaller engine with a $15,000 price tag.
(Article and photos copyright 2013 AutoMuseumOnline)