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1938 Buick Series 80 Roadmaster news, pictures, specifications, and information
Sport Phaeton
Chassis Num: 13383019
Sold for $72,600 at 2009 Worldwide Auctioneers.
The 1938 Buicks included the Special, Century, Limited and Roadmaster. This was a very diverse range of vehicles on several different platform lengths and in many different body styles. Customers could certainly find a vehicle with the Buick model range that would satisfy their needs. Part of the success of the 1930s Buick's were due to the increasing influence of Harley Earl's Art & Color Department, Buick's General Manager Harlow Curtice, and the Engineering Manager at Buick, Charles Chayne.

The 1938 Buick's were given several refinements, including to the Dynaflash overhead valve straight eight engine. The chassis was strengthened with an X-member frame replacing the I-beam and suspended in place by a full coil spring suspension. This was the last year that the Roadmaster and Limited Series would use wood in body construction.

There were only 350 examples of the Roadmaster Model 80C four-door sport phaetons produced in 1938. This example was previously owned by the president of the Buick Club of America. It has had a complete, body-off restoration that was done several years ago. There are dual side-mounted spare tires with body-color cases, as well as front and rear triple bumper guards, fog lights, and body-colored steel wheels with bright hubcaps and trim rings surrounding the wide whitewall tires. On the inside, there is a woodgrain dash that is complemented by an accessory faux ivory steering wheel with full horn right along with the electric clock, Master heater and Ceterline radio. Under the bonnet is the Chayne-designed straight eight motor that is rated at 141 horsepower and is more than capable of carrying this 4,325 pound masterpiece.

In 2009, this Sport Phaeton was offered for sale at the Houston Classic Auction presented by Worldwide Auctioneers and held in Seabrook, Texas. The lot was estimated to sell for $70,000 - $90,000. As bidding came to a close, the lot had been sold for the sum of $66,000, not including the 10-percent buyer's premium. Bidding had begun at $50,000 and would receive seven more bids before reaching the high bid of $66,000.

By Daniel Vaughan | May 2009
Opera Brougham
Coachwork: Fernandez & Darrin
Chassis Num: 83486795
Sold for $275,000 at 2004 RM Auctions.
Sold for $506,000 at 2009 Gooding & Company.
This one-of-a-kind Buick Opera Brougham is the creation of the design house of Fernandez and Darrin of Paris, France, and is mounted on the Series 80 Roadmaster chassis. First displayed at the 1938 Paris Auto Salon, it was the property of several proud owners, including the Countess Max de Polaska, of Poland. She used it to drive between her summer home in Long Island and her winter retreat in Pebble Beach. To keep an eye on what her chauffeur was doing while commuting, it has a matching clock and speedometer repeater set in the luxuriously appointed rear compartment. Outside, the blue paintwork is finished with complementary cream faux-canework on the rear doors while the Buick Series 80 front end with the dual side-mounted spare wheel cases is more or less intact.

Powered by a 320-cuibic inch, overhead-valve, inline eight-cylinder engine, the chassis rides on a 140-inch wheelbase. Suspension was independent 'knee-action' coil springs in front and coils in the rear. Top speed for production models was about 80 mph.

This one-off Buick has sweeping early 1930s-style fenders, has no running boards, a very raked windscreen, Marchal lenses, caning, oversized rear-hinged doors and many luxury features in the passenger compartment. There is a proper Buick cowl, bumpers and headlamps.

During the 1990s, the car was given a frame-up, cost-no-object restoration.

In 2009, the car was offered for sale at the Gooding & Company auction held at Pebble Beach, CA. It was expected to sell for $200,000 - $325,000. The lot was sold for the sum of $506,000, including buyer's premium.

By Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2014
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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