17 June 2000
This Lot has no reserve
1949 BUICK ROADMASTER ESTATE WAGON
COACHWORK BY IONIA
Chassis No. 535
Engine No. 55003307
Maroon with tan interior and white ash and mahogany woodwork
Engine: in-line eight cylinder, 320.2ci, 150bhp at 3,600rpm; Gearbox: Dynaflow automatic; Suspension: independent front with coil springs and shocks, rear live axle with coil springs and shocks; Brakes: four wheel drums. Left hand drive.
Up until the end of World War II the Buick Motor Car division of General Motors had not given Station Wagons much attention, as only the 1941-42 Special Line featured a Wagon version. Immediately following the war Buick began placing greater emphasis on wood bodied station wagons. In 1946 they introduced the Woody on the Super Series model line and in 1947 they diversified the line-up by adding a Roadmaster version as well. The new Buick Woodys offered potential buyers a highly stylized example of the normally mundane bodied cars. They were very tastefully designed; the white ash and mahogany wagon bodies were smoothly integrated with the graceful metal bodies.
In 1949 Buick introduced a refreshed and newly restyled Woody Station Wagon. The large pontoon fenders were now incorporated into the long body line of the car giving the new Buick a highly streamlined look. Two separate versions were available, the Super and the Roadmaster. The two cars were easily distinguished as the Super line featured three portholes in the front fender while the top of the line Roadmaster featured four portholes. The 1949 model is considered by many to be one of the most attractive wood bodied cars built, due largely to the combination of the stylish chrome grille (which was changed the following year to a less attractive design) and the simple yet elegant combination of white ash woodwork and smooth bodywork. Additionally, the chrome trim, hubcaps and interior detail work contributed to the car's overall well-thought-out and designed appearance.
Total production of the 1949 Buick Woody Station Wagons reached 2,500 units. However, of the total 2,500, only 653 were Roadmasters. It is believed that there are less than 15 Roadmasters in existence. Other differences between the two included the powerplant choices. The Roadmaster featured an upgraded 320.2 cubic inch engine that offered an ample 150bhp at 3,600rpm. These lovely examples are indeed desirable and are some of the very last wood bodied cars produced.
This lovely example was purchased by the current owner from a Chicago area collector in 1992. The vendor submitted the car to a thorough mechanical updating of the vehicle, and a complete restoration of the Ionia-built wooden body was executed by J.B. Donaldson of Phoenix. We understand that the restoration utilized over 60 of the original wood and this has given the car a fine original feel today. This wood bodied Buick wagon represents one of the last true American woodys that combined excellent mechanical engineering and superior styling. Whether cruising to the beach, swap meet or Friday night cruise-in, this head turner will always be one of the most stylish ways to arrive.
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This lot has no reserve.
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