Sold for $110,000 at 2007 RM Sothebys
This 1952 Buick Roadmaster is a unique creation constructed for Harlow Curtice. Curtice was the Head of Buick in 1933 and the Executive Vice-President of General Motors in 1948. In 1953 he became president and C.E.O. of Buick in 1953. In 1955, he was Time Magazine's 'Man of the Year.'
Buick began with a Roadmaster 72R chassis and incorporated styling inspired by Harley Earl's concept and Motorama cars. The car began a rolling tribute to the design inspirations of General Motors that had transpired in the prior years. The roof was removed in favor of a sloping, padded limousine-styled unit which gave the rear passenger compartment blind quarter roof and rounded window panes. All windows that could be opened and closed, including the center divider window, were given hydraulic power operation. This design had been used on GM Concept Cars.
Modifications and customization continued on the interior. The door handles were replaced with sliding-style handles. The passenger compartment is finished in light blue broadcloth while the driver's compartment is dark blue leather.
All appropriate and available amenities were included in the car. This included a single seeking radio, power brakes, power steering, backup lights, floor heaters, and special ducting to the rear compartment.
Under the hood was a 320.2 cubic-inch straight eight Dynaflash engine mated to a Dynaflow automatic gearbox. The engine was modified to an 8:1 compression ratio and given special camshafts which drove the horsepower to 200.
The car has remained in the possession of General Motors unit it was purchased by its first private owner in 1988. Two years later it was added to the Bortz Collection of concept and prototype automobiles. Nearly two decades later it was sold by RM Auctions at Arizona to the Motorcar Portfolio collection. The car has since been given an extensive restoration.
This 1952 Buick Roadmaster Harlow Curtice Limousine was offered for sale at the 2007 RM Auctions held in Amelia Island, Florida. The car was offered without reserve and estimated to sell between $50,000 - $70,000. It has four-wheel power drum brakes and a Dynaflow transmission.
It is extremely hard to place value on a vehicle, especially one with this degree of customization. This unique car would be a welcomed entrant at many concours's and automotive events. It is a car that tells a progressive story of General Motors attempts at designing futuristic vehicles that could answer the desires of next generation of automobile buyers. At auction, bidding make a mockery of the estimated values, as it quickly surpassed those estimates and continued to climb. A final bid of $110,000 was enough to secure the vehicles next owner.By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2007
Sold for $110,000 at 2007 RM Sothebys
Harlow H. Curtice became the head of Buick in 1933 and eventually Executive Vice-President of General Motors in 1948. Naturally, coming from the Buick division, when he became president of GM in 1953, he did not want a Cadillac as his company limousine. He ordered Harley Earl and the GM design team to produce a custom built Buick limousine, resulting in this extensively modified 1952 Buick Roadmaster limousine. With an estimated 200 horsepower, it features a 320.2 cubic-inch inline eight-cylinder overhead valve engine, Dynaflow transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs, live axle rear suspension with coil springs, four-wheel power drum brakes and a wheel base of 130.8 inches.
The car features a special roof line with a padded limousine style roof and rounded pattern rear door window frames and windows to fit the redesigned blind quarter roof. All exterior windows and the center divider window received hydraulic lifts. A first for GM, it also received hydraulic operated vent windows. All windows were controlled with special switches and panels seen only on other GM concept cars. Similar to the Cadillac El Dorado concept car and unique to 1952, the inside door handles were sliding-style handles. The car has power steering, power brakes, back-up lamps and a signal seeking radio as well as special floor heaters and ducting to the rear compartments. A stunning Cobalt Blue, it features dark blue leather in the front chauffeur's compartment and light blue broad cloth in the passenger compartment with rear area wood graining in dark green. Harlow Curtices' 1952 Buick Roadmaster limousine is truly one of a kind.
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