1941 Buick 91 Limited Touring Sedan - SOLD
     
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If there’s one to own because you like to drive, this is it.

There’s one very important fact you need to know about Buick’s 1941 Limited models: every single person I’ve ever known who has driven one has bought one, myself included. These are arguably the very best-driving pre-war cars of all, with speed, comfort, reliability, and great looks, all rolled into a state-of-the-art package. If you have not driven one, consider this your invitation. But be warned—if someone else shows up first and takes the wheel, this gorgeous Model 91 probably won’t be available for long.

Buick’s 90 Series Limited models were all-new in 1941, a clean sheet of paper redesign of the older car, and it was so good that the guys over at Cadillac promptly grabbed it and called it the Series 67 before deciding that it made their Series 75 look dated and killed it after just 16 months. Imagine that—a car so good that its competition demanded that it be eliminated. That is the 1941 Buick Limited. It packs the most powerful production engine you could buy in 1941. It has the most sophisticated suspension, with coil springs all around. The brakes are bigger than those found on comparable heavy trucks. And the luxury features and materials used inside are the best available anywhere. Although they’ve been overlooked for decades, it seems that people are finally noticing that these are spectacular cars.

And yes, it’s true, I own one. I bought a 1941 Model 90L limousine two years ago with the intent to flip it. I thought they were criminally under-valued (an opinion I still hold) and knew that they don’t remain on the market very long, so it seemed like a smart buy. But once I drove that car I was smitten and it became a permanent part of the Harwood family collection; I don’t think I could be talked into selling it today—that’s how special these cars are. Of course, mine is nowhere near as nice as this spectacular “Sixter” Touring Sedan, and if I had a choice, I would much prefer this Model 91 to my limousine. Externally, they’re identical, but the limousine has a fixed front seat and a divider window, which really hurts front seat space for taller drivers. Not so with this Model 91 Touring Sedan, which has plenty of space and a conventional seating position that makes it a joy to drive. If there’s one to own because you like to drive, this is it.

This Touring Sedan shows about 48,000 miles and we believe that’s an authentic reading. It certainly looks and feels like a low-mileage car: tight, smooth, and confident. The body tag suggests this car was originally code 569 Ridge Green, a very dark green that would look right on a formal car like this. Today it wears correct Lancaster Gray over Carlsbad Black, another available combination, and the factory-style two-tone paint really accentuates the all-new body design, making it look even longer and lower than it already is. All the Limited models used the same body shell, so externally they’re identical, and this might just be the sleekest Art-Deco limousine ever built. Seriously, park it next to a Cadillac or Packard of the same era and the look downright frumpy compared to this low, sleek behemoth. The paint is probably 10 or 15 years old at this point, but we gave it a deep buffing that really brought out the shine and aside from one or two marks that are all but invisible, it looks fantastic. It was obviously a full disassembly, because there’s no trace of the original green paint anywhere that’s visible, including the engine bay and trunk. Likewise, the trim was removed so there’s no overspray, and all the various body parts fit beautifully. Gaps are excellent, the doors close with ease, and even Buick’s massive side-opening hood snugs down tightly. It also appears that as long as the trim was off, it was important to restore it, so the chrome was re-plated and the stainless was polished. The grille, hood ornament, and parking light fixtures are excellent, which is not easy because of the pot metal used in their construction, but this car shows you what you get by using good base stock. It appears that the rocker panel moldings were made from sets from a small series car and welded together (not surprising because the original trim pieces are unobtainium), but otherwise everything is original and intact. Someone, somewhere invested a lot of money in the cosmetics on this car.

The interior appears to be mostly original, and here you can see the reflection of the original color scheme, as it is code 908 tan and green Bedford cord. Still, it works well with the neutral back and silver paint job and there’s really nothing that’s quite as nice as a factory interior. We believe the woodgrained dash and window sills have been restored, the headliner is newer, and seat belts were added, but it certainly looks like the rest dates to 1941 and remains in outstanding condition. You’ll note that the front seat has considerable adjustment and unlike my limousine, the steering wheel isn’t in your chest, so long-distance drives are comfortable. The front seat of the Model 91 also received the same detailed garnish moldings and luxurious upholstery as the back seat, something lacking in the all-business limousine’s driver compartment. Beautiful engine-turned dash panels were used throughout the 1941 Buick line and all the beautiful cream-faced gauges are fully operational and show bright markings with no cracks. The steering wheel has a few minor stress cracks but is otherwise excellent, and it appears that everything but the clock works—even the Sonomatic AM radio pulls in stations loud and clear! Back seat occupants are treated to a living room on wheels, perhaps the very best place to be in this car, offering a foot rest, robe rail, a separate heating system, and custom ashtrays built into the armrests. Seat belts were added for touring safety and the spacious trunk is big enough for a week’s worth of luggage for the whole family. This car also includes a full-sized spare and jack assembly with original wheel chocks, something you don’t see all that often anymore.

There was a quiet horsepower race in the 1930s, but in 1941, Buick’s 320 cubic inch straight-8 engine was the king of the horsepower hill. Thanks to innovative “Compound Carburetion” and overhead valves, it was fairly high-tech for its age and with 165 horsepower on tap, it out-muscled just about anything else you could buy. Now 165 horsepower doesn’t seem like a lot, but Fords were making 85 horsepower in 1941, so it is not an insignificant figure. It’s also accompanied by a burly eight-cylinder swell of torque that moves the big Limited with ease, never seeming to work very hard. The dual Stromberg carburetors work in series, using the front carburetor at idle and low speeds, and the rear carburetor coming online as more throttle is applied, much like a modern 4-barrel carburetor. That makes tuning easy and this car always starts quickly and idles well, even when it’s ice cold. Some of that is thanks to recent rebuilds on both carburetors, as well as a full tune-up and the addition of a switchable electric fuel pump (it runs just fine without it). The engine wears correct Dante Red paint and reproduction decals calling out the “Fireball Dynaflash Eight” of which Buick was justifiably proud. Experts have already noted that there should be an air hose feeding the unique air cleaner, and we have the correct part on order, it just wasn’t available in time for the photo shoot. You’ll also see that there’s a brand new radiator up front, a custom unit that neatly replicates the original and blends invisibly with the rest of the engine bay and keeps this big engine nice and cool under all conditions.

The transmission is a standard 3-speed manual with steering-column-mounted shifter that offers light shift action for such a big car. Likewise, the clutch is light and easy to modulate and with 4.20 gears out back, this car eases away from a stop with effortless ease. Around town, shifts are superfluous as the engine’s torque will use those gears to pull it around from very low speeds. Even more remarkable is what an awesome high-speed cruiser this is, capable of running at 60 MPH all day in surprising silence. Buick’s all-coil suspension working with a torque tube for the driveshaft means that it’s unflappable and thanks to the massive 139-inch wheelbase, it just ignores pavement irregularities. Bumps sound far away and with a recent set of 750R16 Diamondback Classic wide whitewall radials on the original 16-inch wheels, it’s just a fantastic road car.

These extraordinary cars have been hugely under-valued in the past, but I think that‘s changing today, particularly given that restoring one of these cars is an astronomically expensive undertaking. This is a beautifully finished example of the most desirable body style and it is 100% ready to tour. 90 Series Buicks are also CCCA Full Classics, so it is eligible for all the big events, and if my experience is any barometer, you’ll be very pleasantly surprised to find that they attract a lot of attention at events because they’re so rare (only 1231 Model 91s were built). So please, before you tell me that the price is too high or that you’d rather have a Packard or something more “exclusive,” come drive this incredible Buick. I’ll bet that you, like just about everyone else who has climbed behind the wheel, will fall in love and insist on taking it home. At the very least, I can promise you will be impressed by just how well it drives.

Vehicle: 1941 Buick 91 Limited Touring Sedan
Price: SOLD
Stock Number: 113122
Mileage: 48,434
VIN: 13985923
Engine: 320 cubic inch OHV straight-8
Transmission: 3-speed manual
Gear Ratio: 4.2
Wheelbase: 139 inches
Wheels: 16-inch steel wheels with hubcaps
Tires: 750R16 wide whitewall radial
Exterior Color: Lancaster Gray over Carlsbad Black
Interior Color: Tan cloth
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