The automobile featured in this article is a 1948 Buick Super 2-Door Sedanette Fastback. The 48 Buick Sedanette is a rare car today and is popular among collectors. Only a total of 20,649 Buick Sedanettes were built that model year. Some sources however show a higher production number of over 30,000. With this in mind, we're not entirely sure which figure is accurate. Buick's Sedanette eye catching design offered a sharp flowing coupe look with sedan seating.
The War Ends For General Motors and the Strike Comes
When World War Two ended, the car long known for style and manufacturing quality, Buick, was more than ready to pick up where it left off. Buick was a best seller for GM after it's budget priced Chevrolet.
Although 1945 saw peace come to the world it was another thing at home. By the end of 1945 pent up demand for new civilian automobiles meant that America's automakers would be able to sell new cars as fast as they could build them.
This was not lost on the union leaders. The United Auto Workers under president Walter Reuther demanded immediate pay increases for GM auto workers totaling some 30%. This demand was refused as well as Reuther's request to see their books. What resulted was a strike hit General Motors in November of 1945. This of course put a roadblock up for Buick which wanted to resume where it left off in February 1942.
The 1948 Buick Sedanette Design and Styling
Harley J. Earl managed the Styling Staff of General Motors from its inception as the Art and Colour Section in 1927 until his retirement in 1959. He is known as one of the few legendary designers and his design influence can be seen in all GM automobiles during his several decade tenure.
The 1948 Buick Super was a full sized automobile. Some might say, design-wise, its the final example of looking back to streamlining and prewar styling ideas and it serves as an excellent example of GM's postwar Torpedo styling.
You could call this 48 Buick Sedanette big, sleek and stunning and it took on the fastback style of Buick's 1941 and 1942 Century and Special. The car was designed wider and lower.
1948 Buick Super Sedanette Specifications
The 48 Buick Super Sedanette was built with a 248 cubic inch straight eight engine. Horsepower was rated at 115. This engine dates to 1931 when Buick developed it in three different displacements. These engines had some similarities over it's 23 year period, but development and refinement marched forward. This particular 248 cubic inch straight 8 produced serious torque and smooth power.
Buick gave it's engines some colorful names which was good marketing. This Buick straight eight was known as the "Fireball 8" starting in 1941 just prior to the war. Later there was the " Fireball 8 Dynaflash" whose name seems to allude power and speed. The "Fireball 8 Dynaflash" engine appeared in 1949, the same time that Buick introduced it's Dynaflow automatic transmission.
Transmission was a three speed manual and brakes on this car were hydraulic drums.
Electrical was 6 volts.
Car dimensions included a 124.0 inch wheelbase, an overall length of 209.4 inches, a width of 78.5 inches, a height of 65.4 inches and a curb weight of 4,000 lbs.
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1948 Buick Collector Cars
Classic and vintage Buick's have always been popular collector automobiles. Buick's had a history of good quality and creative designing. The 1948 Buick Super was as big as a Roadmaster model although the Roadmaster had a larger engine.
If you were to categorize postwar Buicks that they looked quite good to the eye, were practical and were spacious and comfortable. For the car collector, the sedans and sedanettes are found to be affordable and representative of 1940s American automobiles.
A car collector may put a premium on milestone automobiles. After World War Two it took the American automakers some time to lay out a new design and actually put it into production. For Buick it's been said that all newly postwar design models appeared at dealerships beginning in 1949. There is also an argument to be made that 1947 and 1948 were transitional years as well.
Asking prices for 1948 Buick's will vary greatly due to degree of restoration and originality. As of this writing and to offer you an example of some current prices for 48 Buick's we've assembled some offerings.
We have seen 1948 Buick's generally priced form the teens to over $100,000. The higher priced models typically are frame off restored convertibles. Some of these have only a few thousand miles after their frame off restorations. On the flip side you may also run across non-restored 48 sedans priced at about $10,000 which could make excellent project cars.
An excellent reference book regarding Buicks is...Motor News Book of Buicks (Hemmings Motor News Collector-Car Books)
(Article and photos copyright AutoMuseumOnline)