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 Buick Series 70 Roadmaster photo

Image credits: © Buick. GM Corp

1949 Buick Series 70 Roadmaster

The Buick Roadmaster nameplate was first used in 1936 and continued uninterrupted, other than the 1942-1945 war years, through 1957. During that time, the Roadmaster was Buick's pinnacle of engineering and design and rested on the company's longest-wheelbase chassis throughout much of its history.

Immediate post-war automobile production was largely based on the existing pre-war designs, with Buick's Series 70 Roadmaster line completely redesigned for 1949. They now rested on General Motors C-body architecture with a wheelbase of 126-inches and exterior styling that was rakish and sleek with a luxurious interior. Bodystyles included a fastback sedanette, coupe, sedan, convertible coupe, and station wagon. The two-door sedanette was the least expensive in the lineup with a factory base price of $2,615. On the other end of the spectrum was the station wagon priced at $3,740. The convertible listed for $3,150, the sedan at $2,740, and the hardtop coupe at $3,200. 54,674 examples of the sedan were built, plus 568 for export. 632 were station wagons with 21 for export, and 8,095 of the convertible with 149 for export. 18,415 were the sedanette (122 export), and 4,314 (29 export) of the hardtop coupe.

The 320.2 cubic-inch inline eight-cylinder engine had mechanical valve lifters, a Stromberg and Carter carburetor, overhead valves, five main bearings, and delivered 150 horsepower at 3,600 RPM. It used a Dynaflow drive transmission with column-mounted shift levers, four-wheel drum brakes, an independent front suspension with coil springs, and a live rear axle with coil springs.

The similarly styled Series 50 Super had three chromed ventiports on each front fender while the Roadmaster had longer front fenders and four ventiports per side, with series script below, and within bumper guard crossbar centers. The VentiPorts were the brainchild of self-taught designer Ned Nickles, who was also responsible for the 'bombsight' hood ornament. Nickles had installed amber lights in four holes along each side of the hood of his company Buick, each fitted with a light connected to the distributor and activated by a cylinder firing. After Buick President Harlow Curtice first witnessed Nickle's setup, he immediately ordered it, but devoid of the lights, as they were too costly for production.

The rear wheels had skirted wheelhouse openings, and the windshield panels were curved with a division bar in the center. The interiors of the Estate Wagons had mahogany veneer panels with leather upholstery, 'Foamtex' seat cushions, a flexible spoke steering wheel, an anti-glare rearview mirror, an electric in-dash clock, rear cabin light, and carpeted floors and cargo area. The station wagons, still qualifying as a 'woodie', were built in Ionia, Michigan, and used less wood than in previous years. The Model 76C convertible coupe was upholstered in leather and had a power top, seat, and windows. The Model 76R Riviera hardtop coupe was introduced mid-year and had standard power windows and was upholstered in cloth and leather.

Standard equipment included back-up lights, windshield washers, stone guards, wide whitewall tires with full-size chromed wheel covers, and turn signals.


by Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2020

Related Reading : Buick Roadmaster History

The Roadmasters name first appeared on Buick automobiles in 1936, known as the Series 80 Roadmaster and as a celebration of the engineering improvements and advancements in design. The Roadmasters were built on the longest wheelbase Buick had to offer, and from 1946 through 1957 they were the most elegant and prestigious automobiles that Buick sold. From 1936 through 1948 the Roadmaster appeared....
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1949 Vehicle Profiles

1949 Buick Series 70 Roadmaster vehicle information

Convertible Coupe

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 wa....[continue reading]

1949 Buick Series 70 Roadmaster vehicle information

Station Wagon
Coachwork: Ionia

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 t....[continue reading]

1949 Buick Series 70 Roadmaster vehicle information

Station Wagon
Coachwork: Ionia

The 1949 Buick body style was made for one year only, with 1,847 Special Estate Wagons made. The Buick Club of America lists approximately 17 in existence, the remaining are unknown.....[continue reading]

1949 Buick Series 70 Roadmaster vehicle information

Convertible Coupe

Chassis Num: 15339060

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 Road....[continue reading]

1949 Buick Series 70 Roadmaster vehicle information

Convertible Coupe

Chassis Num: 55056057

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 whe....[continue reading]

1949 Buick Series 70 Roadmaster vehicle information

Sedan

Chassis Num: 25030889

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 upholst....[continue reading]

1949 Buick Series 70 Roadmaster vehicle information

Convertible Coupe

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....[continue reading]

1949 Buick Series 70 Roadmaster vehicle information

Station Wagon
Coachwork: Ionia

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....[continue reading]

1949 Buick Series 70 Roadmaster vehicle information

2-Door Sedan

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 b....[continue reading]

1949 Buick Series 70 Roadmaster vehicle information

Convertible Coupe

Chassis Num: 15240141

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 ....[continue reading]

1949 Buick Series 70 Roadmaster vehicle information

Convertible Coupe

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 bequeath....[continue reading]

1949 Buick Series 70 Roadmaster vehicle information

Convertible Hunting Sedan

This vehicle, called El Kineno, was built on a 1949 Buick Roadmaster model Dyna flow frame for Congressman Richard M. Kleberg Sr. It was designed by Buick and the GM styling section. A 1949 frame was cut by 5 1/4 inches to a 121 inches. A large rear ....[continue reading]

1949 Buick Series 70 Roadmaster vehicle information

Convertible Coupe

Chassis Num: 55171027

The Harley Earl-designed styling represented a successful application of aircraft-inspired design themes in his vision for the ideal automobile. Another aircraft-inspired design theme was Buick's trademark front-fender portholes or 'Ventiports' devel....[continue reading]

Convertible Coupe
 
Station Wagon by Ionia
 
Station Wagon by Ionia
 
Convertible Coupe
Chassis #: 15339060 
Convertible Coupe
Chassis #: 55056057 
Sedan
Chassis #: 25030889 
Convertible Coupe
 
Station Wagon by Ionia
 
2-Door Sedan
 
Convertible Coupe
Chassis #: 15240141 
Convertible Coupe
 
Convertible Hunting Sedan
 
Convertible Coupe
Chassis #: 55171027 

Recent Vehicle Additions

Performance and Specification Comparison

Price Comparison

1949 Series 70 Roadmaster
$3,732-$15,195
1949 Buick Series 70 Roadmaster Price Range: $2,616 - $3,732

Other 1949 Buick Models

Series 70 Roadmaster

Year
Production
Wheelbase
Engine
Prices
86,131
126.00 in.
8 cyl., 320.20 CID., 150.00hp
8 cyl., 320.20 CID., 152.00hp
$2,616 - $3,732
75,034
126.25 in., 130.25 in.
8 cyl., 320.20 CID., 152.00hp
$2,530 - $3,405
66,058
126.00 in., 130.25 in.
8 cyl., 320.20 CID., 152.00hp
$3,050 - $3,977
46,217
126.25 in.
8 cyl., 320.20 CID., 170.00hp
$3,200 - $3,977
79,237
121.50 in.
8 cyl., 322.00 CID., 164.00hp
8 cyl., 322.00 CID., 188.00hp
$3,350 - $5,000

Industry Production

#1#2#3Buick
1954Ford (1,165,942)Chevrolet (1,143,561)Plymouth (463,148)444,609
1953Chevrolet (1,346,475)Ford (1,247,542)Plymouth (650,451)488,755
1952Chevrolet (818,142)Ford (671,733)Plymouth (396,000)303,745
1951Chevrolet (1,229,986)Ford (1,013,381)Plymouth (611,000)404,657
1950Chevrolet (1,498,590)Ford (1,208,912)Plymouth (610,954)588,439
1949Ford (1,118,308)Chevrolet (1,010,013)Plymouth (520,385)409,138
1948Chevrolet (696,449)Ford (430,198)Plymouth (412,540)213,599
1947Chevrolet (671,546)Ford (429,674)Plymouth (382,290)272,827
1946Ford (468,022)Chevrolet (398,028)Plymouth (264,660)153,627
1945Volkswagen (12,852)

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