The post-war period was the boom time for all Woody's especially from 1949 into the 1950s. The 1949-was the first year that the characteristic Buick 'Venti' ports were added to the Estate Wagons front fenders - four on the Roadmaster and three for the Super. 1949 was also unusual in that, unlike other year variations, this particular body style only lasted for one year. The Roadmaster is famous for its luxurious comfort and style. The door panels are built of fine grained mahogany veneer and the carpets are of the best quality wool.
A Honeymoon Buick with 'Riviera' Sweepspears Harley Earl was responsible for the design of the 1949 Buick at GM, while stylist Ned Nickles came up with the front fender portholes known as 'Ventiports.' The 1949 Series 70 Roadmaster line was made up of Buick's largest and most prestigious models. All Roadmasters were powered by a 320 cubic-inch displacement version of Buick's famous overhead-valve, inline eight-cylinder engine that produced 150 horsepower. The Buick Dynaflow automatic transmission, which had been introduced the year before, was standard.
In mid-1949, the new Buick Roadmaster Riviera 2-door hardtop became available. The Riviera had a fixed hardtop roof, but featured convertible-type side windows. A 'sweepspear' chrome body side molding option was offered, which proved very popular. 'Riviera' trim became available on the Roadmaster Convertible very late in the model year, as well, and this car is so equipped.
The present owner of this Roadmaster obtained it from the couple who bought it new. The car was used for their honeymoon and subsequent travels all over the U.S., Canada and Mexico - travel decals from those trips are still affixed to the Buick's rear window. The original owner, a retired CIA employee, passed away in 2004 and the present owner obtained the Buick from his widow in 2005, this 58-year-old Buick is a two-owner car! It was fully restored from the ground up by the present owner.
Sold for $52,250 at 2008 RM Sothebys. High bid of $40,000 at 2009 RM Sothebys. (did not sell) Sold for $41,250 at 2009 RM Sothebys. For 1949, Buick produced nearly 400,000 cars, thanks in part to the styling talents of Harley Earl's Art and Colour Department. The new Buicks features the same new 'fuselage style' as the Series Sixty Cadillacs. The styling for the 1949 Buick Roadmasters were inspired by aircraft designs. They were fitted with the Dynaflow fully automatic transmission, which was introduced as an option in the prior year on the Series 70 Roadmaster model.
This Roadmaster Riviera was once part of the Art Astor collection. It currently has an older restoration which remains in superb condition throughout. It is painted in blue and white with a red leather and grey cloth interior. It has its proper tires and even a factory radio. There is a power front seat and windows, and a 320.2 cubic-inch eight-cylinder engine offering 150 horsepower.
In 2009, this 1949 Buick Riviera Roadmaster Hardtop was offered for sale at the Automobiles of Amelia Island Auction presented by RM Auctions. It was estimated to sell for $55,000-$65,000. Bidding reached $40,000 but was not enough to satisfy the vehicle's reserve. The lot was left unsold. This was the first no-sale of the auction. Bidding had begun at $20,000, then increased by $5,000 increments until it reached 35,000. Then bidding rose by increments of $2,500 until peaking at $40,000.
In 2009, this Roadmaster Riviera was offered for sale at the Vintage Motor Cars of Hershey presented by RM Auctions where it was estimated to sell for $40,000 - $60,000 and offered without reserve. The lot was sold for the sum of $41,250, including buyer's premium. By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2009
Sold for $66,000 at 2009 RM Sothebys. The post-War Buicks were based upon the new General Motors C-body. This era of production would be Buick's widest selection of models in its history, with the highlight being the sleek, rakish, and luxurious Roadmaster sitting on a long 126-inch wheelbase. The Roadmaster was available in a range of five body styles, including a sedan, fastback sedanette, coupe, station wagon, and convertible.
For the first time in Buick's history, they added their trademark front fender portholes or Ventiports, an aircraft-design theme that was developed by designer Ned Nickles, to the production car.
This Roadmaster Convertible is painted in black and has a black convertible top with red piping, and dual chrome-plated rearview mirrors. This is a late model example that rides on a set of red painted steel wheels with chrome-plated hubcaps and trim rings with whitewall tires. The interior is red leather upholstery with matching red carpeting. There is a Dynaflow automatic transmission, power windows, a pushbutton-operated AM radio, and a clock.
In 2009, this Roadmaster Convertible Coupe was offered for sale at the Automobiles of Arizona auction presented by RM Auctions. The car was expected to sell for $90,000 - $110,000 and was offered without reserve. As bidding came to a close the lot had been sold for the sum of $66,000 including buyer's premium. By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2009
Sold for $34,100 at 2009 RM Sothebys. This 1949 Roadmaster Four-Door Sedan was given a show-quality restoration resulting in a coveted AACA National First Prize in 1995. It is painted in Elan Blue, has excellent bright-work, and has a grey pinstriped fabric interior with leather upholstery. Features including a folding center armrest within the rear seat, an ash tray and seatback lap ropes. Professionally installed additions including front and rear seat belts, a hidden stereo system, and an alternator and functioning, cold air conditioning.
In 2009, it was offered for sale at the Vintage Motor Cars of Meadow Brook presented by RM Auctions. It was estimated to sell for $30,000 - $40,000 and offered without reserve. The lot was sold for the sum of $34,100 including buyer's premium. By Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2009
Buick introduced their Roadmaster name in 1936 to celebrate the engineering and design improvements made by Buick that year. Ned Nickles, GM's designer, designed the 1949 Roadmaster and it was the beginning of tailfins for Buick. The Roadmasters were given a platform that measured 126 inches and they were the most highly appointed, premium model in the line. Power was from a 320 cubic-inch overhead valve inline-8 cylinder engine offering 150 horsepower. The Dynaflow automatic transmission was standard equipment. By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2010
Only 632 were Buick Roadmaster Estate Wagon were built for the U.S. market (another 21 were built for the export market). Factory price was $3,724. They were built on a 126-inch wheelbase chassis and were powered by the legendary Buick straight eight motor that developed 120 horsepower.
The wood bodies were built by the Mitchell Body Company of Ionia, Michigan and featured a distinctive maple-framed body with mahogany insert panels. The wood on this car is completely original.
This car was owned by noted car collector Bob Turnquist and received an award-winning restoration at his shop, Hibernia Auto Restorations of New Jersey.
In 1949 Ford found their new model woodie 2-door, steel roof, Station Wagon was a sales hit and thus started making them as fast as they could through 1950. The construction process is complex with 'Ford's Iron Mountain factory using complete steel body parts shipped up from Detroit. Each body was a custom hung with wood panels and no two bodies were identical. To get the wood to fit the curves, Ford developed an electro-bonding process using a microwave curing system - six layers off ash, overlaid with a two-ply finish of maple. These pieces were shaped in a 75 ton press and bonded with a two part resin adhesive...'
Sold for $71,500 at 2006 RM Sothebys. Sold for $79,750 at 2010 RM Sothebys. The 1949 Buick Roadmaster Convertible finished in cream color with red interior was offered for sale at the 2006 RM Auction held in Monterey, California. It was offered without reserve and expected to sell between $60,000-$80,000. It is powered by a 320-cubic-inch inline-eight cylinder engine capable of producing 150 horsepower. It is equipped with a Dynaflow automatic transmission - a popular feature of the time. The popularity was so great, the Buick was forced to double its schedule of proposed installations.
In 2003 the vehicle was treated to a full restoration and has traveled less than 300 miles since new. At the conclusion of the auction the lot had been sold netting $71,500.
In 2010, this Buick Roadmaster Convertible Coupe (Model 76C) was offered for sale at RM Auctions 'Automobiles of Amelia Island' sale in Amelia Island, Florida. The car was estimated to sell for $70,000 - $90,000. As bidding came to a close, the car has been sold for the sum of $79,750, inclusive of buyer's premium. By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2010
This 1949 Buick convertible was one of two used to make the film 'Rain Man' in 1988. The movie tells the story of Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise), a self-involved car dealer in financial turmoil who learns that his estranged father has died and bequeathed his entire fortune to his older son, Raymond (Dustin Hoffman), who is autistic. All that Cruise's character inherits are his father's rosebushes and the 1949 Buick convertible. Raymond's refusal to fly launches the brothers on a cross-country road trip starring this Sequoia Cream Buick Roadmaster convertible with red leather interior. The Buick convertible had a modified rear suspension to hold the extra weight of the camera equipment plus the cameraman who filmed from the trunk. The current owner is Barry Levinson, the director of the movie 'Rain Man' and he selected Wayne Carini to restore this classic beauty.
The Roadmaster named first appeared on Buick automobiles in 1936 as a celebration of their engineering improvements and advancements in design. The Buick Series 80 became known as the Roadmaster. The Roadmasters were built on the longest wheelbase Buick had to offer. From 1946 through 1957 they were the most elegant and prestigious automobiles that Buick sold.
From 1936 through 1948 the Roadmaster appeared in coupe, sedan, convertible and station wagon bodystyles. A hardtop coupe was added in 1949 and dubbed the Riviera.
The Roadmaster named reappeared in 1991 and continued in production until 1996. It served as a replacement for the Electra model line and offered as an Estate Wagon. A sedan was introduced in 1992.
The end of the 1953 Buick Roadmaster station wagon meant the end of the last wood-bodied station wagon to be mass-produced in the United States. In 1996, the end of the Buick Roadmaster Estate Wagon meant the end of the full-size family station wagons. By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2006
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