The Corpus Christi Old Car Museum Auction

Lot 109
1955 Buick Century Riviera Hardtop

Selling on Saturday

1955 Buick  Century Riviera Hardtop

CHASSIS NO: 6B2036815

• Attractive Harley Earl-era hardtop body style
• Equipped with extremely rare factory A/C system
• Formerly part of the Ed Hicks Collection
• Older complete “body off” restoration

322 cid OHV V-8 engine, 236 HP, automatic transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, hydraulic four-wheel drum brakes; wheelbase: 122”

Buick traditionally occupied an enviable position within the GM hierarchy by selling prestigious, well-equipped, and profitable mid-to-upper level cars. By 1954, record calendar-year production and strong model-year production drove Buick to third place in American sale rankings, right behind high-volume Chevrolet and Ford. The newly released Century line-up contributed strongly to Buick’s remarkable 1950s success story.

Reprising a nameplate first used between 1936 and 1942, the Century was Buick’s performance model line, combining the powerful 322 ‘Nailhead’ V-8 engine of the Roadmaster with the lightweight body and chassis of the Special. Power ratings for the Century were 200 and 236 horsepower for 1954 and 1955. A highly respected road car easily capable of freeway cruising at 100 mph, hence its name, the Century clearly foreshadowed the big engine/lightweight body formula of the “muscle car” era yet to come. Performance was so strong, in fact, that during a road test conducted by Motor Trend, the 236-horsepower 1955 Century out-accelerated even the mighty 300-HP Chrysler C-300! Passenger comfort was excellent as well, in keeping with the Century’s handsome exterior, replete with front-fender “Ventiports,” sweeping bodyside moldings, and front-bumper “Dagmar” bullets.

This 1955 Buick Century is one of Buick’s most popular and collectible models for 1955 – the Riviera two-door hardtop. Formerly part of the Ed Hicks Collection, it continues to benefit nicely overall from an older complete, body-off restoration. This Century is exceptionally rare, being equipped with a factory in-trunk air-conditioning system, with the compressor swapped out for a modern-type unit to allow continued use. At the time of cataloguing, this highly desirable Buick had an approximate 82,100 miles of use indicated on the odometer. Other desirable features include an automatic transmission, power brakes, power steering, a “Sonomatic” AM radio and added seat belts. The engine bay and powerful ‘Nailhead’ V-8 engine are nicely finished and detailed, while the interior features an engine-turned dash appliqué and two-tone upholstery. As a Buick sale catalog once noted, “Drive the Century and you command thrills that set the pulse of even a sports car enthusiast to pounding.” This statement remains true today and is certainly exemplified by this Century.

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