1936 Buick Century Sedan / Specs, Model History

Featured in this article is a finely restored 1936 Buick Century. This was the first year that the Century model was introduced. Century was produced by Buick in 1936 as a full size automobile. This first generation of the Century model stopped production in February 1942 when all civilian auto production was stopped due to World War Two. At the time that production ceased in 1942 the Buick Century production output was just about ten percent of Buick's total.

1936 buick century

1936 Buick Century Sedan

The Buick Century was reintroduced in 1954 and ran to 1958. After that the model was built from 1973 to 2005.

Interesting story about how the Century model name came to be. According to legend, the British who had tested the automobile referred to the car as "doing the century" when it reached 100 MPH. Buick management liked the phrase and decided to name the model "Century".

Buick and General Motors

David Dunbar Buick started the Buick Motor Company in 1903 in Detroit, Michigan.. Later that same year the company was acquired by James Whiting who moved the Buick operation to Flint. The story is that David Buick really didn't see the opportunities presented by building cars and therefore sold his company soon after starting it. Whiting meanwhile hired William C. Durant to manage his new auto company. The first Buick that was offered to sale to the public was the 1904 Buick Model B.

The Buick badge was considered by many to be the first real automobile success. In fact, at that time it was the largest automaker in America. The brand had an excellent reputation for engineering and quality production at a time when buyers were getting acquainted with automobiles. Durant, with the success of Buick, went on and acquired more companies and in 1908 gave them the name General Motors.

old buick centuryWilliam Durant took Buick to the racing venues. The racing team was put together with Louis Chevrolet and Wild Bob Burman and others. The team won a some 500 trophies just from 1908 to 1910. Buick was a huge success and by by 1908 it had become the country's leading automobile producer with 8,820 cars produced. A very high number of vehicles built during what was the early days of the industry.

Now a part of General Motors, Buick made a very significant statement in 1911 when they produced the first completely enclosed American automobile beating Ford to that major achievement.

The 1936 Buick Century

During it's time in production which accounted for four generations, the Buick Century at various times was offered in coupe, sedan and station wagon body styles. For the first two generations, from 1936 to 1942 and from 1954 to 1958 the Buick Century was classified as a full-size car. When Buick reintroduced the Century for 1973 ,it replaced the Skylark as the brand's midsize car. During the third generation there was a total restyling for 1997, thus the fourth generation.

The 1936 Buick came out of course during the Great Depression years which forced many automakers, especially upscale car makers, out of business. Buick, with it's powerful engine reputation along with it being a part of a larger corporation in the name of GM made it through just fine. The 1936 Buick Century was able to reach 100 MPH which caught the eye of many performance minded buyers.

For the 1936 model year Buick renamed it's entire line-up. This was done because of engineering advancements and more streamlined designs coming out that year.

1936 Buick Century Specifications

The 1936 Buick Century was produced with a 320 cubic inch straight eight engine. The engine delivered 165 HP and as mentioned above, the car could reach a top speed of 100 MPH.

Brakes were four wheel hydraulic.

Front suspension were independent coil springs and rear consisted of semi-elliptic leaf springs.

1936 buick century specificationsWheelbase was 122.0 inches..length 197.0 inches...width 70.62 inches...height 70.25 inches. Weight was 3,780 lbs.

Total production for the 1936 Century Sedan was 17,800.

The serial number for this model can be found on the right side of the frame behind the front wheel.

Please see these additional Auto Museum Online articles found on the links below...

1937 Buick Special

1955 Buick Special

1957 Buick Century

References used include...The Buick: A Complete History (90th Anniversary Edition) by authors Terry B. Dunham and Lawrence R. Gustin. Also, David Buick's Marvelous Motor Car: The Men and the Automobile that Launched General Motors (Updated 2013) by author Lawrence R. Gustin. Also GM Buick Archives.

history of buick century1936 Buick Century Collector Values

The automobile featured in this article is an original model in great condition. In addition to the, the 1936 Buick Century was the first of that model produced.

You may find retail values in the neighborhood of $28,000 to $32,000. These are prices for a running and very good condition models.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)

The 1937 Buick Special / Specs, Photos, More

Featured in this article is a great looking 1937 Buick Special. Production of the Buick Special ran from 1926-1958 and from 1961-1969. During it's years of production the Buick Special changed from a full size model to a compact model and then to a mid-size model.

1937 buick special

1937 Buick Special

The Buick Special was introduced in 1936 and was Buick’s full size entry level car. Some might say that the 1937 and 1938 Buick Specials were the best looking automobiles during those two years.

Big Innovations at Buick During the 1930's

Setting aside the fact that the 1930's are known for the Great Depression which placed millions of people out of work and caused car prices and production to decrease significantly, the were big changes on the design and mechanical departments. Prior to the 1930's, car design coach works were very angular. The 1930's saw an emphasis placed on streamlining and graceful curves.

Competition was obviously intense during the difficult 30's and innovation could help sell cars. The year 1933 was particularly disastrous and is often recognized as the worst of the Great Depression. As an example, Buick sold a bit over 250,000 vehicle in 1927. For the 1933 model year Buick sold just under 50,000 units. The Buick division was hurting but General Motors was determined to keep Buick afloat and the fact the Buick was a part of GM helped save the day.

1930's buick

New grille on the 37 Buick

The innovations brought into the market from Buick during the 1930's included the introduction of the famous 320 cubic inch, straight eight engine that was put into their big series cars. This occurred in 1936. This new designed engine would continue to be used through 1952. Also in 1936, Buick emploted hydraulic braking for the first time.

To mention a few more innovations brought out by Buick in the 1930's, these included a self shifting automatic transmission, aerobat carburetors, turbulator pistons and knee action independent front suspension.

The 1937 Buick Advantage

Buick promoted many advantages of their 1937 models. This included a powerful engine in it's OHV Straight Eight. Also, a Uni-Steel body by Fisher...Anolite pistons...a sealed chassis...hydraulic brakes...large trunk space...safety glass and more.

Buick also touted the fact that prices were some of the lowest in the automaker's history. The country of course was still caught up in the Great Depression which put some automakers into bankruptcy.

Styling Changes

There were styling changes for the 1937 Buick Special. Most notable was the change in grilles. The 36 Special sported a single grille and vertical bars. The 37 model had horizontal bars and a vertical divider bar down the middle.

Fenders were altered to have squared off ends and the height was lowered almost two inches along with the floor. As a result the space in the passenger compartment remained the same.

The 1937 Buick Special was available in eight different styles. These included a convertible phaeton, sport coupe, business coupe, convertible coupe, a two and four door touring sedan with an optional trunk

1937 Buick Special Specifications

The 37 Buick Special was built with a Overhead Valve 248 Cubic Inch Straight 8. The engine delivered 100 HP.

buick special late 1930'sThe gear box was a three speed manual floor shift.

Brakes were four wheel hydraulic drums.

Some of the options available on the 1937 Buick Special included a heater, dual side mounted tires, defroster, white side wall tires plus a grille guard. A buyer could also pay for a  dash installed radio with a built-in speaker.

Additional Auto Museum Online articles can be found on the links below...

The 1955 Buick Special

The 1960 Buick Invicta Wagon

The 1948 Buick Super Sedanette Fastback

The 1937 Buick Special Collector Car and Values

The kind of innovations that Buick introduced during the latter half of the 1930's make these automobiles highly desirable among antique auto enthusiasts.

The years of 1936, 1937 and 1938 and the innovations from Buick during those times represent  the division’s return to being a real market leader. These were new designs and new engineering that were truly progressive. More innovation was seen in 1939 but those three years from 36 through 38 helped keep Buick popular for many years to come. As a result of the progress that Buick made during those years, the division in 1938 moved up to fourth place among American production cars with about 174,000 vehicles.

buick special historyThe 1936-38 Buicks are relatively rare. Values and asking prices for those for sale differ greatly due to overall condition and degree of originality and restoration. As of this date we see a 1937 Buick Special Model 49 with an asking price of $19,000. A 1937 Buick Special Restomod at $35,000 and a 1937 Buick Roadmaster at $27,500. All vehicles mentioned have been restored to varying degrees. Also a 37 Buick Coupe at $26,000.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)

The 401 Cubic Inch 1960 Buick Invicta Wagon / Specs, Photos

The automobile featured in this article is a 1960 Buick Invicta Four Door Wagon.

1960 buick invicta wagons

1960 Buick Invicta Wagon

The Buick Invicta model (also referred to as the Buick 4600 Series) was introduced in 1959 replacing the Buick Century.

When the Buick Invicta Wagon came out in 1959 the vehicle received some positive press. Motor Trend magazine named the 59 Buick Invicta Estate Wagon as "The best looking wagon".

The Invicta model had a five year run. The Buick Invicta was positioned in the middle of the 1960 Buick line up. The Invicta was placed between the LeSabre and Electra. The Invicta was a full size automobile with several body styles including two wagons. These were both two and four door station wagons.

1960 Buick Invicta Wagon Design

There were significant design changes with many cars for the 1960 model year. The latter 1950's saw the modernization of most every model along with the aggressive introduction of rear fins. The fins and designs in a lot of cases reflected the nations fascination with the jet age and this was seen in both designs and model names.

The year 1960, and Buick was included in this, was transitional from the big rear fin era of the late 1950s to the smoother lines of the 1960s. The ‘angry’ angled headlights on the Invicta were changed from diagonal to horizontal. The “Delta Wing” fins were kept but they were less extreme, as were the fins on most General Motors cars for the 1960 model year. Inside, the Invicta was equipped with the same features as the basic LeSabre.

1960 buick wagon specs

Delta Wing rear fins

Buick's Station Wagon production was not of the high volume that other GM brands, both Chevrolet and Pontiac produced. In addition, the 1960 Buick wagon bodies were built by the Ionia Manufacturing Company of Owosso Michigan.

This was an independent company that made bodies and trim for the auto industry. The Ionia Manufacturing Company built Buick Wagon bodies from 1946 through 1964.

1950 Buick Invicta Estate Wagon Specifications

The engine in this model is a Buick Nailhead 401 Cubic Inch V-8 with a four barrel carburetor delivering 325 HP. This engine fit well with Buick's reputation of producing performance oriented automobiles.

The engine was referred to as the Nailhead because of it's long, thin-stemmed valves with small diameter heads that resemble vertical rows of nails. This engine is also referred to as the Wildcat 445 which can be confusing. . The 445 represented it's 445 lbs torque.

Transmission is an Turbine Drive automatic two speed. Buick's Turbine Drive transmission had a variable pitch fluid control mechanism that actually replaced gears. A Buick transmission engineer was quoted as saying..."you don't shift gears, you shift a constantly flowing stream of oil ". As a side note, General Motors developed the Triple-Turbine, but dropped it in 1960 as too expensive to produce.

Brakes were four wheel hydraulic drum

The front suspension included independent coil-spring and wishbone stabilizer bar. The rear had an independent trailing link, stabilizer bar, coil springs as well as ,tubular shock absorbers.

Wheelbase is 123.0 inches with an outside overall length of 217.9 inches, width of 80.0 inches and a height of 57.2 inches. Curb weight is estimated at 4,825 lbs.

1960 buick estate wagonU.S. production numbers for the 1960 Buick Invicta model were 45,400 vehicles. Out of that number there were 3,479 Six Passenger Wagons built and 1,600 Nine Passenger Wagons produced.

To give you a perspective of Invicta's production numbers compared to the LaSabre and Electra, the numbers look like this...total LaSabre 1960 production was 152,200 units and the Electra 56,300 units. Overall, Buick had disappointing sales for the 1960 model year. Sales were less than 1959 numbers but some of this was attributed to a steel strike that caused a significant loss of production time.

New car price for the 1960 Buick Station Wagons averaged $3,950.

You may also enjoy the Auto Museum Online articles found on the links below...

The 1958 Ford Ranch Wagon

The 1955 Buick Special

The 1955 Chevy Nomad Wagon

1960 Buick Invicta Wagon Collector Values

The family station wagons of the 1950's and 1960's are cars some of us experienced sometime during our childhood. The Buick Invicta Wagons are rare finds today simply because not a lot of them were produced as mentioned above. Locating parts for a restoration project are available but may not be easy to find.

60 buick invicta photos

60 Invicta dash

As of this writing the average value of a 60 Buick Invicta Four Door Wagon is about $13,000. For those that have been fully restored to pristine condition or are originals in excellent condition the prices average in the $28,000 to $30,000 range. There are of course examples above and below those figures.

Not surprisingly, the highest valued 1960 Buick Invicta model is the convertible. Current top values on it are in the $55,000 area.

Reference material for this article included GM Archives, Collector Cars of America, Hemmings Motor News, BuickV-8.com

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)