1955 Buick Century Riviera Hardtop - $49,900
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We can’t find anything on this car that suggests cost-cutting or half-hearted work.

High-quality restoration of a western car. Loaded with almost every option including A/C, power windows, power seat, power antenna, and more. Lovely period color combination. Powerful, easy cruiser that might still win some trophies.

As far as we can tell, this beautiful Century Riviera spent most of its life in Arizona and it shows—it’s clean! About 10 years ago, it received a comprehensive body-off restoration and thanks to proper care, it’s still in fantastic condition today. The trim tag says it was originally black, but during the restoration it was switched to 1955-correct Galway Green over Dover White for a wonderful ‘50s look that works great on the dramatic Riviera hardtop bodywork. The century was still Buick’s hot rod, not quite as big as the Roadmaster but packing the top-of-the-line 322 cubic inch “Nailhead” V8 and plenty of horsepower. Styling was crisp and evolved slightly over 1954, still featuring the dramatic “sweep spear” trim that divides the two paint colors as well as the famous Buick “venti-ports” in the front fender. Finish quality is excellent, with good gaps and a nice fit to all the bodywork, with the only possible demerit being that the hood sits a little proud at the cowl. There’s also tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of chrome and stainless trim, all of which is in excellent shape. We can’t find anything on this car that suggests cost-cutting or half-hearted work. Someone really was sweating the details.

The two-tone green and white interior is pure 1950s cool and it almost feels refreshing to climb inside. Dark green carpets provide an anchor to the interior to keep it from being pastel overload, and there’s a dark green steering wheel that adds the right amount of contrast. You’ll note that this car is loaded with options, including power windows, a power seat, and factory A/C, which is in the trunk and feeds the interior via those two plastic tubes in the rear window. Instrumentation is fairly comprehensive and all the gauges work, although we never really trust vintage gas gauges. The clock ticks away and the radio powers up and makes static, but we have not been able to tune a station. Toggle switches under the dash are subtly labeled for the power antenna and the electric fuel pump, which is used for priming but otherwise the engine runs fine on the factory mechanical pump. The A/C system is operational but is low on refrigerant and since it takes FIVE POUNDS of the stuff, we have not recharged it—it’s more than we have the ability to do in our shop. Seat belts were added for safety and use GM buckles, which is a nice touch, and all four windows power up and down like they should. In back, there’s a massive trunk with correct burlap upholstery, that massive A/C unit, and a full-sized spare tire with jack assembly.

The 322 cubic inch V8 was in its third year and was quickly getting attention as the torquiest powerplant on the street. A 1955 Century coupe like this was probably one of the hottest cars you could buy in 1955, and there’s no question the guy who filled out the order form knew what he was doing. The Nailhead wears correct turquoise green engine enamel, a heavy-duty air cleaner up top, and has been restored with correct finishes and hardware throughout. The big A/C compressor dominates the right side of the engine bay, with the power steering pump on the left and the air cleaner in the middle, so it’s all business under the hood. It starts easily with the accelerator pedal-mounted starter switch and settles into a muscular V8 idle that must have been quite exciting in 1955. The Dynaflow automatic transmission works properly, too, and if you’ve never driven a Buick with Dynaflow, it’ll take some acclimation. There are no gears to shift, it just accelerates smoothly so don’t be alarmed when you don’t feel any of the usual automatic transmission gear swaps. You’ll note that the undercarriage was highly detailed at the time of restoration and still looks awesome, complete with correct red oxide primer on the floors, satin black hardware, and a burbling dual exhaust system with slightly racy-sounding mufflers. Lines and hoses are new, there’s a fresh gas tank out back, and even the A/C lines running along the rocker panels appear to have been correctly restored. There are a few signs of use, but no evidence that this was ever a rusty car. The heavy-duty rear end features 3.40 gears that make this a fantastic highway cruiser and the ride is, of course, Buick plush. Dante red wheels wear correct hubcaps and newer 205/75/15 whitewall radials that look right and handle great.

This gorgeous Buick has clearly led a good life. Lots of options, a high-quality restoration, and built-in quality that you can feel from the moment you slam the door (gently, of course). Buicks were known for their combination of performance and luxury and this car delivers on both counts. If you’ve been looking for an unusual ‘50s cruiser in great period colors with the kind of ease-of-use that makes it feel quite modern, take a closer look at this Century. Call us today!

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

Vehicle: 1955 Buick Century Riviera Hardtop
Price: $49,900
Stock Number: 120092
Odometer Reading: 67,063
VIN: 6B2083160
Engine: 322 cubic inch V8
Transmission: Dyanflow Automatic
Gear Ratio: 3.42
Wheelbase: 120054
Wheels: 15-inch steel wheels with hubcaps
Tires: 205/75/15 whitewall radials
Exterior Color: Galway Green over Dover White
Interior Color: Green and Ivory vinyl
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