1940 Buick Century 61C Convertible Sedan - $44,900
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  • Overview & History
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The Century is widely regarded as the fastest pre-war car you could buy, combining the 141-horsepower straight-8 with a mid-sized body and the combination really works here.

One of only 194 built in 1940, the final year for the Century phaeton. Attractive older restoration in original colors. Powerful, smooth, fast 320 cubic inch straight-8. A great tour car that will always run at the head of the pack.

Bandalier Blue is this car’s original color, and when it was restored back in the 1990s, they used a finish that was a close to the original as they could get it. That means the smallest hint of metallic in the finish to make it shine but not enough to make it look modern. “Phaeton” is what Buick called their convertible sedans and the 4-door convertible looks sporting from any angle thanks to great proportions. The Century is widely regarded as the fastest pre-war car you could buy, combining the 141-horsepower straight-8 with a mid-sized body and the combination really works here. Proportions are just right, and it’s spacious without being big and bulky. Dual sidemounts add to the car’s exclusivity, as only a small number of Centurys were built with sidemounts, and it makes this look like a much more imposing, expensive car. The paint is in good condition, showing a few minor signs of use and age and with some touch-ups here and there, but nothing that requires attention. It is not a show car by any means, but for tours and casual shows it is ideal and will always attract more than its fair share of attention. Most of the chrome is nicely done, with only some minor pitting in the pot metal grille, a situation that’s all but unavoidable with cars of this era. Fog lights, sidemount mirrors, and turn signals built into the trunk emblem are all nice details that make the Buicks of this era really stand out.

The blue leather interior was nicely restored at the same time, following the original patterns. It’s spacious for four and comfortable for five, and anyone other than a starting forward in the NBA will find there’s plenty of room. The plastic steering wheel and various knobs have been recently restored and the engine-turned dash panels are in great shape, showing a correct pattern that’s hard to replicate. All the factory gauges are operational, although some of their faces are a little tired (reproductions are readily available). The radio and clock are not working due to the 12-volt electrical system, but things like the wipers, heaters, and other items are working like they should. Correct short-nap carpets feel durable and look great with contrasting tan bindings and even the rear seat courtesy lights work properly. The top is pretty old, and while it will fold, it feels fragile. However, it shows no rips or tears and the bows are in excellent condition and move without much effort. There’s also a spacious trunk that makes this a fantastic tour car that can handle the entire family.

But the real reason you want a Century is under that long, pointed hood: Buick’s famous 320 cubic inch “Dynaflash” straight-8. With 141 horsepower, it was one of the most powerful engines in America in 1940 and it offers the kind of effortless torque that makes these cars perennial favorites. This one has been recently detailed and serviced, including a rebuilt carburetor and fresh fluids, so it’s ready to go. And go it does! The combination of the mediumweight bodywork and heavyweight engine means that the Century can keep up with modern traffic easily and cruises on the highway at 65 MPH without breaking a sweat. With the aforementioned 12-volt electrical system, it spins to life quickly and easily and idles nicely with a muscular hum. You’ll note they used a 12-volt generator, so it looks completely stock under the hood and a recent detailing with correct finishes and decals makes it look great. Oh, and the manifolds have been freshly sealed and are not cracked, so no annoying exhaust leaks!

A 3-speed manual transmission with the shifter on the column was your only choice, but with all that torque on tap, shifting is optional for anything but a dead stop. Thanks to 3.90 gears in the rear end, high gear will pull you from about 10 MPH to more than 100 if you’re brave enough to keep your foot on the floor. Used more reasonably, you’ll find that there’s fantastic flexibility from the engine, a capable suspension (tuned a little soft but with great ride quality), and powerful brakes. This has never been a rusty car and all the floor reinforcements and welds are clearly visible underneath. The brakes have been recently rebuilt and there’s a mellow-sounding exhaust system that’s quite appropriate for a big Buick. 15-inch whitewall radials are a great addition to a car built to drive, and the bright red wheels are correctly striped for the perfect finishing touch.

This is not a perfect car, but if you’re the sort of person who judges a car by how it works as a car, you’ll never think twice about jumping in and hitting the road. It’s also quite attractive, rare, and perfect for the enthusiast with a family. If that sounds like your kind of fun, this is a great car to enjoy without any worries. Call today!

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

Vehicle: 1940 Buick Century 61C Convertible Sedan
Price: $44,900
Stock Number: 118041
Odometer Reading: 74,744
VIN: 13645087
Engine: 320 cubic inch straight-8
Transmission: 3-speed manual
Gear Ratio: 3.9
Wheelbase: 126 inches
Wheels: 15-inch steel wheels with hubcaps
Tires: 225/75/15 whitewall radials
Exterior Color: Bandelier Blue
Interior Color: Blue leather
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