1941 Buick Super 56C Convertible - $42,900
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The slogan was “When better cars are built, Buick will build them,” and it’s hard to argue against it when you’re behind the wheel of this remarkably original 1941 Buick Super convertible coupe.

Buick was hitting on all eight cylinders in 1941. Styling was a continuation of the theme that started in 1939, but smoother and sleeker and arguably the most successful design of the immediate pre-war period. Horsepower was up thanks to innovative “Compound Carburetion” that pretty much used two 2-barrel carburetors to act like a modern 4-barrel. And thanks to Harlow Curtice’s unrelenting push for superior quality at a reasonable price, Buicks represented exceptional quality, both in 1941 and today. The slogan was “When better cars are built, Buick will build them,” and it’s hard to argue against it when you’re behind the wheel of this remarkably original 1941 Buick Super convertible coupe.

A few years ago, Doug Seybold disinterred this handsome Chenanga Gray Super from a museum where it had apparently lived since the 1960s. Doug is the world’s leading expert on these cars and bought it for his personal collection, where it has resided ever since. That’s a good thing, because if it needed anything, it got it, and it’s in excellent mechanical health today with a lot of recent work (we’ll get to all that in a moment). Cosmetically, it carries unusual code 566 Chenanga Gray paint, which even I haven’t seen in person before. It’s gray with a hint of green and we find it very attractive. The overall finish is very nicely preserved and we strongly believe that most of the paint is original. There are a few areas that appear to have been touched up, including the right rear fender and left door, but nothing looks out of place or too new or too old. Harwood Motors gave it a deep buff and polish to bring up the shine on the vintage acrylic lacquer, and it does have that soft gloss that only time can create. Yes, there are a few thin spots, a few chips, but nothing major and it fits together extremely well overall, indicative of a car that has never suffered trauma or been completely disassembled. It’s also worth noting that the chrome and brightwork is in exceptionally good shape for being 80 years old, particularly the grille and other “pot metal” bits, which show very little pitting. We suspect the bumpers have been re-chromed at some point—they’re a bit shinier than the rest of the trim, although given that it was in a museum since the ‘60s, even that chrome is now more than five decades old. None of it is show quality, but it presents extremely well and anyone would be proud to drive this car on tours.

The interior appears to be original code 919 red leather and it, too, is in excellent condition. There are a few signs of use on the driver’s seat, but there are not splits or tears in the hides. Someone has done a great job of blending in color to repair a few thin spots and overall it remains inviting and stylish. There’s a correct rubber front floor mat and the door panels are just beautifully preserved. All 1941 Buicks received those lovely engine-turned instrument panels, and on the convertibles the dash itself was typically painted body color instead of woodgrained like the closed cars. The dash panels show a bit of discoloration (although they did come from the factory with a green/gold tone) but the pattern remains crisp and bright. All the gauges are operational except the fuel gauge, which powers up but doesn’t move making us suspect it’s no more than a sending unit problem—an easy fix. The gauge faces are probably too nice to be original and they’re just a little brighter than the steering wheel, which we do believe is original and in remarkable condition. The radio powers up and hums, but does not tune and, of course, the clock is off-line. That also appears to be the original black canvas convertible top overhead, and it’s obviously old and brittle, but not damaged or torn. We did not attempt to fold it for fear that we would damage it. For that same reason, we were also unable to test the power vacuum top mechanism, but it’s so simple and easy to service that we wouldn’t expect substantial issues there. But a new owner might experiment a bit with the top and perhaps consider a replacement, although it would be a shame to lose the originality. It also includes a nicely trimmed trunk with correct burlap lining material plus an ancient Goodyear spare tire that almost looks like it’s never been used.

Buick’s real claim to fame in 1941 was the most powerful range of engines on the market. The Super received a 248 cubic inch version of the “Fireball” overhead-valve straight-8 and Compound Carburetion was standard equipment (don’t let the other guys tell you it’s some rare option—it’s not). With 125 horsepower on tap, performance is energetic and there’s a smooth flow of torque at virtually any speed. Doug spent some time under the hood and you can see plenty of evidence of his work, including a fresh tune up, new belts and hoses, correct hose clamps, bright Dante Red engine enamel with correct decals, and other details to make it look bright and clean. Mechanically, we’re thrilled with the way this Super runs and drives—it starts quickly using the accelerator pedal-mounted starting system, it idles smoothly, and it pulls the good-looking ragtop around without ever seeming to work very hard. It stays nice and cool and seems to have exactly zero bad habits on the road. There’s a nice swell of acceleration when you dip into the second carburetor and it’s content to cruise at 60 MPH without sounding too busy at all. Nice!

Underneath, it’s clearly an original car. There’s plenty of dirt and grunge and a bit of rust (floors and trunk are excellent), but nothing that keeps it from being a great car to drive. The 3-speed manual transmission has been serviced, clutch action is light and smooth, and it has the tightest shifter linkage I’ve experienced on a ’41 Buick (and I have personally owned more than a few). Doug serviced the brakes, including a new master cylinder, new wheel cylinders, new shoes, and new hoses, so braking is smooth and confident with a firm pedal, and the E-brake works extremely well. Harwood Motors serviced the shocks so it rides and handles beautifully, although the tires have likely celebrated their 50th birthday already, so replacements might be in order. You’ll note that the exhaust system is in good condition, the original engine pans are in place, and we suspect that this car might have high-speed 3.90 gears instead of the original 4.10s simply because it whistles along at 60 MPH with so little effort. It’s just a great road car. Bright Dante Red wheels are exactly the right choice, and they are correctly striped and fitted with factory hubcaps and trim rings.

This is not a perfect car, it is not a show car, but it is a fun, easy-to-drive, and very attractive car that does all the things you want an old car to do. The low-maintenance originality means you can use it regularly without fears about leaving it unattended or worrying about the weather. Just get in and drive the thing and it’ll put a smile on your face every single time. Parts are plentiful and these are very competent road cars that almost anyone can handle, even the ladies. With a set of new tires, it would be a spectacular tour car that would also be welcome at almost any show, and all the recent work means all you need to do is get in and enjoy. Lots of fun, reasonably priced, and great looks with bulletproof reliability make any 1941 Buick a winner, and this 56C delivers. Call today!

Harwood Motors recommends and welcomes personal or professional inspections of any car in our inventory prior to purchase.

Vehicle: 1941 Buick Super 56C Convertible
Price: $42,900
Stock Number: 116135
Mileage: 694
VIN: 13936270
Engine: 248 cubic inch straight-8
Transmission: 3-speed manual
Gear Ratio: 4.10
Wheelbase: 121 inches
Wheels: 16-inch steel wheels with hubcaps
Tires: 6.50-16 General wide whitewall
Exterior Color: Chenanga Gray
Interior Color: Red leather
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