1936 Buick Vintage Cars

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1 year 4 months ago - 1 year 4 months ago #795 by JP
JP created the topic: 1936 Buick Vintage Cars

1936 Buick Model 90

Today: the Special (Series 40), Century (60), Road-master (80), and Limited (90). In 1940, these would be joined by the Series 50 Super, another model name that would continue through the 1950s.


1936 Buick Century Coupe, Model 66-S



1936 Buick Century

Buick styling for 1936 directly influenced the company's revival that year. The new design was the work of Harley Earl, head of GM's Art & Color Studio-the first formal styling department ever organized in a major car company. Earl liked streamlining, and the '36 Buick got it. The cars were more rounded than ever; windshields were swept back at a greater angle; and the trunk became an integral part of the body instead of a separate, detachable fixture. The die-cast grille was a massive, rounded affair with vertical bars. The public loved the whole package and bought over 200,000 Buicks that year. Calendar 1936 production was close to 180,000 units and Buick fortunes returned to their pre-Depression height.


1936 Buick, Series 40 Special

Important, too, in 1936 was a new 120-bhp eight which displaced 320 cubic inches. This engine powered 1936 Buick Limited limousine 1936 Buick Special business coupe 1936 Buick Century sedan all models except the Series 40 Special, which retained its 233-cid, 93-bhp engine. The 320-cid eight offered its most interesting performance when installed in the Century. Since the Century weighed only around 3,700 pounds, compared to as much as 4,600 pounds for the Limited, it was an incredibly fast car. The 320 engine gave the Century genuine 100-mph cruising capability and 10-60 mph acceleration in the 18-19 second range. The sedan sold for as little as $1,035; the rakish convertible cost only $1,135. The Century gained a reputation as a factory-built hot rod built for anyone with $1,000 in his pocket who liked to be faster off the line than anybody else in his price class.


1936 Buick Limited, Series 90L

After the styling, engineering, and production triumphs of 1936, there seemed no need for drastic change in 1937. Harley Earl wasn't quite satisfied, however, so the Buick line was accordingly face-lifted. Earl used the basic 1936 Turret Top body, but applied elongated tenders with blunt trailing edges. The grille adopted horizontal bars and the side hood vents were of complementary design. Buick was probably the best looking GM car for 1937, a styling leader for the entire industry.


1936 Buick Coupe

While the 1937 Century, Roadmaster, and Limited retained their 320-cid engine unchanged, the Special's engine was increased to 248 cid by a stroke increase and now developed about 100 bhp. Factory test figures showed that a Special would go from 10 to 60 mph in 19.2 seconds. This was fine performance and only a second slower than the hot Century. All 1937 Buicks were equipped with several new features: hypoid rear axle; improved generators, running-board-mounted radio antennas, defrosters, and front and rear anti-sway bars.


1940 Buick TC

Buick claimed an industry first this year by introducing the steering wheel horn ring. Buick Limiteds, beginning with the 1936 model, were rather special cars, which have generally been overlooked by today's enthusiasts. All were of the "trunk-back" style, with a faired-in luggage compartment and dual spared tires, long, pontoon fenders.
Though only 233 formals were built in 1936 and 1937, they were the "class" of the line, and sold for less than $2,300. The Limited Series included six and eight passenger sedans and a limousine from 1936 through 1939. Limited chassis were also supplied in quantity to body builders such as Eureka, Miller, Sayers & Scoville, and Flexible for hearse, ambulance, and flower-car applications.


1936 Buick - 12

Earl made few styling changes for the 1938 Buicks, which were distinguished mainly by a new grille composed of fewer, thicker horizontal bars. Under the skin, however, were extensive alterations that made a good car even better. The suspension of all Buicks now had coil springs at each corner-another first for the industry. This resulted in a major ride improvement, especially in conjunction with shock absorbers that were four times the size of those used on most other cars of the period. The 1938 engines were dubbed "Dynaflash" and were unchanged in displacement from their predecessors. However, thanks to new domed high-compression pistons, horsepower went up to 107 bhp for the Specials and 141 bhp for the Century, Roadmaster, and Limited. Offered on Specials only was a five-speed semi-automatic transmission, which developed a poor service record and was abandoned after 1938. Buick did not attempt another clutchless drive until the Dyna­flow transmission appeared ten years later.


1936 Buick Roadmaster, Series 80, Convertible Phaeton


1936 Buick Roadmaster "Low-Rider"

Buick closed out the 1930s with a lower, mildly face lifted 1939 range, featuring a waterfall-type grille, "streamboards" (optional closed-in running boards), and a sunroof option on some models. Side mount spare tires were available, though they were not ordered as often as in the past. The Special, which had grown to a 122-inch wheelbase by 1938, was shortened for a 120-inch wheelbase chassis. Century, Roadmaster and Limited retained their 1938 wheelbases of 126, 133, and 140 inches, respectively. Body style offerings were extensive and prices were still moderate: You could pay as little as $894 for a Special business coupe, or as much as $2,453 for a Limited limousine. The rakish Century convertible sport phaeton sold for $1,713, and the Century sport coupe was priced at just $1,175. Rumble seats were dropped for 1939 convertible models, while Buick introduced another innovation, flashing turn signals, which were installed at the rear only where they were part of the trunk emblem. Also in 1939, Buick went to a column-mounted gearshift and adopted refillable shock absorbers. Though the waterfall grille was a questionable styling feature, the '39s retained the individuality and generally clean design of the '38s. Styling and engineering had steadily improved throughout the decade, rewarding Buick Division with strong public approval.


1936 Buick

Collectors of Buick cars tend to favor the pre-1934 models and the post-1937s. The 1938 model is particularly favored, especially the Century and low-production Limited. There's a strong distinction made by enthusiasts between 1937 and 1938: The same model and body style may be relatively undesirable in 1937 guise, but could be a red hot collector's item as a 1938.



1936 Buick Special Victoria, 2 door, hardtop, engine



1936 Buick Special engine



1936 Buick 8 Convertible Coupe, interior

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Last Edit: 1 year 4 months ago by JP.

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