1940 Buick Super 51C Phaeton - $124,900
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If you’re the kind of buyer who understands the relationship between quality and value rather than just seeking the lowest possible price, this is the car for you.

Unquestionably the finest of its kind in the world. Frame-off restoration by noted expert Doug Seybold. Multiple award winner including AACA Grand National First Prize. Show-quality throughout. If you insist on the best, this is it.

We’ve learned in this business that most people shop price and price alone. We get phone calls and without even asking anything about the car’s condition, people go right to, “What’s the least you’ll take?” We’ve also learned that buying someone else’s finished car is always cheaper than restoring it yourself, regardless of cost, and that remains true with this stunning 1940 Buick Super 51C convertible phaeton. If you’re the kind of buyer who understands the relationship between quality and value rather than just seeking the lowest possible price, this is the car for you. The restoration cost nearly twice the asking price, so if you wanted to duplicate it, plan on five years of payments adding up to the cost of a pretty decent house—perhaps that puts things in perspective. The finish is show-quality throughout, with exemplary finish work and Royal Maroon paint that’s a mile deep. The doors close better than many closed car doors and panel fit is excellent. Unlikely that Buick was building them this well in 1940. The chrome and stainless trim sparkles and that detail alone probably cost more than entire cars. Add in the little details like the delicate arrows on the trunk lid that say “BUICK EIGHT,” the crisp hood latches that read “SUPER” and the bright lenses that house the turn signals, and you get a car that gets everything right, as it should at this price.

The interior was likewise restored to show standards using correct leather that was specially cut and tanned to replicate the original 1940 hides. No modern glove-soft leather here, just the right stuff that the Seybold team created from scratch to make their cars stand above the rest. All the plastics were re-cast in the correct cigarette cream color and the lovely instrument panels were engine-turned in-house, a Seybold specialty. Everything works properly: the clock ticks, the gauges spring to attention when you turn the key, and the little knobs under the left side of the dash activate the heater, defroster, and instrument lights. The carpets are beautifully fitted and all the weather seals are new, so this convertible seals up reasonably well given that there are four doors to manage. It isn’t quite like a closed car, but it’s better than most convertible sedans. You’ll note that the odometer reads just 69 miles, which is since the restoration was completed, so it remains extremely fresh. No marks on the seats, no stains on the carpets, and everything has a precise, well-assembled feel. The only demerit is a missing seat adjustment handle, but we have one coming from Seybold that will make the car complete. The tan canvas convertible top is beautifully fitted and while it takes a friend to lower it, it does indeed fold properly and stows under a matching tan boot. And with the convertible sedan, you get a spacious trunk that includes a full-sized spare tire assembly.

The Super was new for 1940 and was based on the Special, offering a lot of car for the money. The engine is the same reliable and torquey 248 cubic inch straight-8 that had been powering Buicks since 1936, and by 1940 it had been perfected. It starts quickly and easily, idles smoothly, and pulls the convertible around with enthusiasm, not to mention a great 8-cylinder exhaust note. It hums away under the hood like a sewing machine, and you’ll note that it’s highly detailed—that’s what it takes to win awards at the highest levels. Correct factory gray engine enamel, proper hardware, reproduction decals, and a new wiring harness all make it as exact as possible. These are reliable engines, so if you do decide to take it on tour, you will surely enjoy the performance that made Buick famous in the 1930s and early ‘40s. The 3-speed manual transmission shifts cleanly and it’s happy to cruise at 50-55 MPH all day. The undercarriage shows off Buick’s torque tube rear suspension, which uses coil springs and a panhard rod for superior ride quality (even Cadillac was still using leaf springs in 1940) and the factory drum brakes are powerful enough for the car’s performance. There’s an auxiliary electric fuel pump for priming, but that’s the lone modification. Everything else is finished the way the factory intended. Factory steel wheels are outfitted with trim rings and hubcaps, along with a set of correct 6.50-16 BFGoodrich Silvertown wide whitewall tires.

Seybold cars win awards at every level and there’s a reason why they’ve become the standard by which others are measured. If you’re ready to step up to a special car, this is a fantastic choice. If not, well, I’m reminded of a favorite saying: “The bargain hunter usually screws himself.” Buying quality instead of price typically leads to a better ownership experience in the long run. Call today!

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

Vehicle: 1940 Buick Super 51C Phaeton
Price: $124,900
Stock Number: 120002
Odometer Reading: 69 (since restoration)
VIN: 13812897
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 BFGoodrich wide whitewalls
Exterior Color: Royal Maroon
Interior Color: Tan leather
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