Mid July 2013 - Found another car
In researching the '55, I found Buick forums in the AACA website. Within this, there was a '51 model 41D for sale under "Buick Rescue". The idea was to save a classic Buick from the crusher. The seller, outside of Dallas, had been told of this car near San Antonio. The story, as I understand it, was this car was driven until 1994 or so, when it was parked in a field due to an exhaust leak. So it was never hot-rodded or picked over for parts. And other than the exhaust leak (and sitting all that time), it should be in reasonably good shape.
We were getting ready to move from one house to another in town. I never thought I would do this - move locally just to get a different house. But with children, it became clear that we wanted a pool, and the place we had had such a small back yard that a pool would not be worth the trouble. This time we had some additional criteria - direction of the house on the lot relative to the sun being key to getting more use out of a back porch in addition to a larger back yard. We found all that, though it's a foreclosure that has a fairly extensive list of fix-ups before major updates or improvements can be considered. But the pool already exists and was immediately usable.
I thought the "Rescue Car" was gone, actually. The postings on the forum indicated it had been sold. But after watching this for the better part of a month, the buyer backed out, so I jumped in. I thought I might be able to hold off until after the household move got done, but the seller had another interested local buyer. So I had to go for it. Fortunately, between the seller and myself, we weren't both going to be home at the same time for about a month, so I didn't have to arrange for transport right away.
Here is how it was listed for sale:
Buick Rescue - 1951 Special, Model 41D - $1,000
Buick Rescue Service Mission Statement:
Buick Rescue Service’s mission is to rescue abandoned and neglected classic Buicks in order to place them in good, loving homes. Our goal is to locate and obtain these Buicks, give them a safe place to stay until they can be adopted into a good home. Our operation will not be based on the idea of turning a quick profit and taking advantage of these old Buicks. We will, instead, keep our operating costs down as much as possible and offer these Buicks back to the public as inexpensively as possible, thus creating an opportunity for someone to get into the Buick hobby affordably. We will do a minimum amount of work to these Buicks in order to keep our operating costs down and to give the adoptive owners the thrill of nursing the Buick back to health. We will try to keep them the way we found them. When we obtain these Buicks, we will determine their condition as best as possible, and we will give an honest and complete description of each Buick in our possession. Pictures will be available upon request. Also, each Buick adopted will come with a year’s membership in the Buick Club of America.
1951 Special 4-door Sedan, Model 41D:
General: This is a very complete Buick from San Antonio, TX. It is not missing anything. It has been sitting outside on a gravel driveway. Its last documented registration was in 1995. The current owner inherited it with some land and is selling the land, thus making the Buick abandoned. According to the current owner, the previous owner drove it until it developed an exhaust leak and would no longer pass the Texas state vehicle inspection. There is evidence of that story, as I found tubes of exhaust leak caulking in the trunk. The odometer shows 78,000 miles, which I believe is true. It is now in Denton, TX.
Body: It has a very solid, thick, and straight body, with no dents or major scrapes. It has lots of surface rust, but no rust through showing on any body panels or rockers. The floor pans are rusted under the original rubber floor mats, with some areas rusted through.
Glass: None of the glass is cracked, except for the small left rear vent glass. But it has some yellowing due to age. The tail lights are solid but show their age. One of the front parking lights is broken.
Trim: The stainless trim pieces are all there, and all very nice and straight. There is one large scrape on the large portion of the passenger side sweepspear. It is not missing a single piece of trim. The pot metal pieces are all dull and pitted due to moisture and outdoor elements. The bumpers are solid and straight with very little rust. Any minor dents can be straightened. The front grille and grille bars are solid with no cracks or breaks.
Interior: The headliner is original and not ripped, but has some discoloration. The door panels are original and very nice condition. The only bad spots are under the vent glasses in the rear where it appears to have leaked over the years. Easily fixed, though. The dash is in excellent condition, as is the steering wheel. It looks like the glove box lock broke so a latch was installed to hold it closed. The seats have been recovered, but the original fabric is under the covers. I am not sure about the condition of the original seat fabric because I am not going to take the seat covers off to look at it. There are no major rips in the seat covers. It has the original rubber floor matting throughout the whole interior, but it is very hard and brittle.
Engine: The engine is very complete, with no obvious parts missing. I did not try to start it, but I can turn the engine over by hand, so I know it is not locked up. It looks like it would start with a minimum amount of effort. Of course, it will need a battery and complete fuel system and carburetor restoration to run on its own.
Tires: All the tires were flat when I first saw it. They would air up and hold air long enough to get it on the trailer. Except for the left rear, which was so badly rusted it would not hold air. We replaced it with the spare wheel and tire in the trunk. This spare tire looks to be the original spare or a very old, correct replacement. It is an Allstate tire (7.60 x 15) and looks like it has never been used. So, you have 4 good wheels, and one good spare tire. But it will at least roll for a little while before they go flat again.
Brakes: The brakes are not locked up and all the wheels spin with a little effort. But the entire brake system will need to be reviewed and restored as needed before it can be driven safely.
Trunk: The trunk is in very good condition, with absolutely no rust. Even the tire well is solid. It has all the original cardboard and liners. It also has the original tire jack with all the pieces, and the original pieces to hold the spare tire in place. The trunk lid is as solid as can be, with absolutely no rust on the edges. Inside the trunk was an old water pump and voltage regulator, so I can assume those had been replaced.
Price: You can adopt this Buick for $1,000.