1948 Buick Super Convertible - $59,900
     
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Long, low, and rakish, it perfectly embodies Buick’s combination of performance and sophistication.

Buick was well positioned after World War II, having given their models a full redesign in 1942. When showrooms reopened in 1946, a bunch of fresh-looking Buicks were available for eager car buyers. Sweeping fenders, wide toothy grilles that would become a trademark for years to come, and the famous “bombsight” hood ornament all made the Buicks the most modern-looking cars on the road. The overhead valve straight-8 engines were still some of the most powerful on the market and if you needed big comfort and style, few cars could match the flashy Buicks. 1948 would be the final year of the pre-war design before all-new Buicks debuted in 1949, but they remain among the most popular years for collectors thanks to their ideal combination of styling, great road manners, and quality.

Sequoia Cream had been on the Buick color chart since 1940, but rarely does it look better than on the sweeping bodywork of this 1948 Buick Super convertible. Long, low, and rakish, it perfectly embodies Buick’s combination of performance and sophistication. This car is a fresh frame-off restoration by a skilled restorer who is known for his work with a large private collection here in Ohio, and his attention to detail shows throughout. The foundation was a clean Super ragtop sourced from the west coast where the sheetmetal is unharmed by harsh weather, and it was a complete running, driving car when work started. Full disassembly and several years of work have resulted in one of the most attention-grabbing ‘40s cars we’ve ever seen. The paint is just the right shade of cream, bright but not quite yellow. Bodywork is excellent throughout, with good panel alignment that’s so critical on those sweeping fenders and a deep shine to the final finish. The giant hood, which can be opened from either side, is often problematic to fit properly but this one snugs down easily and fits about as well as can be expected given the design. Proportions are just about ideal on the Super, which is at its best around town where it’s easy to maneuver, and from any angle the car looks expensive.

Obviously on a car like this, one of the biggest expenses is plating, and every piece of chrome and stainless trim on this car has been restored to an very high standard. The cost of the plating alone was more than $20,000, but the final result is worth it because it gleams like jewelry against the cream paint. Accessories include twin fog lights, spot lights, and even two back-up lights in back, all of which are functional. The ornaments on the sides of the hood double as the latches (watch out for the spotlights before you open the hood!) and the awesome “BUICK EIGHT” emblem on the trunk leaves no mistake as to what kind of car this is.

The handsome two-tone interior was refinished using correct patterns, and while the materials aren’t quite the same as Buick was using in 1948, it looks great and should last for many years to come. The seats are firm and comfortable and matching door panels give it a neatly tailored look. The big black steering wheel makes it easy for anyone to maneuver the big ragtop around town and the big, round gauges are a variation on a theme that Buick used since 1940. Other details include a factory Sonomatic AM radio in the dash and a clock in the glove box lid which ticks away reliably. It shows 77,123 miles on the odometer, but we don’t really have any way of knowing whether that’s an accurate reading; we do know, however, that the car has less than 50 miles on it since the restoration was completed, so it’s quite fresh. 1948 Buick convertibles also featured power windows as standard equipment, and the hydraulic system has been fully rebuilt so they work properly, zipping up an down without hesitation. Note that all the interior courtesy lights work and the carpets are properly bound for a finished look. Overhead there’s a new tan canvas convertible top, which is also power-actuated and stows itself neatly behind the back seat. The trunk is upholstered in matching brown carpet, which extends even to the spare tire cover.

The 1948 Buick Super continued to use a 248 cubic inch straight-8 engine with overhead valves and 115 horsepower. It may not seem like much today, but the straight-8’s torque and good gearing makes the Super feel lively around town and the engine never feels like it’s working very hard. The engine bay is exceptionally well detailed, with proper Buick Turquoise paint on the block, red Fireball decals on the valve cover, and an oil bath air cleaner for the Stromberg downdraft carburetor. You’ll note an accessory oil filter on the passenger’s side, as well as correct duct work for the heater and defroster units behind the dash. A new wiring harness uses correct cloth-covered wires and cost more than $1600 all by itself! A generator still makes 6 volts’ worth of electricity, and the glass jar just behind is for the accessory windshield washer system (not currently filled but complete). It’s only a few small details like hose clamps away from the show field.

It also runs great, starting quickly and easily with the accelerator-mounted starter switch and settling into an easy idle almost instantly. The 248 still used solid lifters in 1948, so there’s a pleasing mechanical sound that’s unique to Buicks and the single exhaust system uses an appropriately quiet muffler to give it just a soft burble out back. On the road, it pulls easily up to 50 MPH and zips through traffic without much effort, and you’ll be glad to have the standard 3-speed manual gearbox rather than the all-new DynaFlow automatic transmission, which was only available in the Roadmaster.

Underneath, you can see that this was definitely a frame-off restoration, with a satin black frame and floors that provide a great background for the hardware. Everything has been rebuilt and refinished, including the front suspension, brakes, steering, and even the under-seat heater box. All four shocks have been rebuilt, which is critical to that big Buick ride, and the original rear end carries 4.44 gears that are part of why this car feels so peppy around town. Note that the rockers are completely solid, the floors are in excellent order, and a new gas tank hangs out back so no worries about old problems coming back to haunt you. Spectacular chrome wire wheels aren’t quite correct for 1948, but they look so beautiful that it seems like it’s a mistake on Buick’s part not to offer them at least as an option. Brand new 235/75/15 wide whitewall radials help make this a first-class driver on the road.

This lovely Super isn’t quite a show car for points judging, but it’s flat-out one of the most beautiful restorations we’ve seen. There’s obviously an astronomical amount of money invested here and the results are simply gorgeous. The fact that it works so well as a car is a testament to the restorer’s talent and we can guarantee that few shows will have many cars that can top this Buick’s eyeball appeal. The very reasonable price is about half of the cost of the restoration, making this something of a bargain as well. If you’re a Buick guy, this is surely a favorite design and if you’re into flashy, nothing from the ‘40s can do it better than this. Call today!

Vehicle: 1948 Buick Super Convertible
Price: $59,900
Stock Number: 116064
Mileage: 77,123
VIN: 50065078
Engine: 248 cubic inch straight-8
Transmission: 3-speed manual
Gear Ratio: 4.4400000000000004
Wheelbase: 124 inches
Wheels: 15-inch chrome wire wheels
Tires: 225/75/15 wide whitewall radial
Exterior Color: Cream
Interior Color: Tan leather
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