An Entertaining & Informative Vintage Automobile Internet Magazine

Mystery Buick on the lift at Bob Deriso’s Service Garage?

While editing the photos for the recent post on Bob Deriso’s United Motors Service Repair Garage, one of the automobiles in the scene appears to have some unusual styling features that reader David King also noticed. This vehicle is the two-toned sedan located on the far-left of the image in the washing and lubrication bay up on the lift and visible in detail below in an enlargement.

While your editor admits to not being an expert on identifying some of the production models of this era, and the vehicle in question may, in fact, turn out to be a standard or customized Buick it appears to have some unique styling.

The roof line and the pillar between the rear and side window are different than what is visible in the limited number images of these cars I have be able to find. Another feature that does not match up is the side trim is mounted at a slight angle whereas all the other Buicks viewed from this period with straight trim work it is situated horizontally to the ground.

Can the Buicks experts of this era audience sort out what we are looking here in the images by Robinson and French courtesy of the University of South Florida at Tampa?

29 responses to “Mystery Buick on the lift at Bob Deriso’s Service Garage?

  1. The two-tone 1950 BUICK on the lift looks like it is either a Roadmaster Touring Sedan [model 71] or a Super Touring Sedan [model 51].

    • AML, given what I see as a shorter wheelbase, I’m thinking it’s a Super. It looks odd with the lighter-colored roof, but it was an option. It looks custom, but in reality RPO offering.

  2. Thanks for the blowup, David. It does show that there is a raised hood beyond the fender, something that wasn’t clear in the smaller picture. And it seems the squared-off appearance of the trunk, which also makes the care look lower and sleeker than it should for the era, is because of the way the light from the door cuts across the trunk lid.

    Still, it is an intriguing puzzle, and I look forward to hearing from people who know more about this than I do.

  3. My Dad had a 53 Buick, I was little then my memory not very good and my great aunt had 53 Pontiac fire chief she drove for about 25 years. So T think it is older than 1853. Just not sure .

  4. The Roadmaster and Super have an additional window in the rear door that the Special does not have. The car in this photo appears to have that extra window.

  5. This looks much like a 1953 Buick Roadmaster Riviera, I agree the side pillar is distinct — more like a 1953 Chrysler Windsor. Unusual cars were often spotted at Bob Deriso’s, and he even sold and serviced American Bantam cars and trucks before the war. You’ll find several of the little Bantams in earlier shots of his gas station.

    • It could be a Special Deluxe, but I see an extra window there in the rear door that the Special didn’t have. I’m saying Super (model 51) or Roadmaster Touring (model 71).

      I don’t think it’s a custom or modified in any way. I believe it’s a trick of the lighting. that makes it look like a low slung Studebaker-type.

  6. The car almost looks to be sectioned, and the odd C-pillar and whitewalls make me think it’s a custom.

  7. The rear of the car looks a lot like a 52 Buick Special with the add on chrome fins removed. The door profiles are similar but the rear window has definitely been changed.

  8. This car is a 1950 or 1951 Buick Tour Back 4-door sedan. It could have been a 1950 or 1951 Special model or a 1951 Custom model.

  9. Took a bit of searching but I believe the car in question is called a “1950 Buick Special Deluxe Tourback Sedan Model 41D”

  10. It was not a strange styling quirk/offering at all for GM’s moderate/upper middle class buyer… they could buy the same roofline/ backlite in the Olds 98, thru out the entire Buick model line , and Cadillac’s Series 61. An interesting side bar is that during those years Buick’s Roadmaster Riviera Sedan was a longer wheelbase than it’s direct competition Cadillac’s Series 62( Buick Super body}, even the Fleetwood (ahead of the fire wall … Buick’s Roadmaster (bigger) straight 8 vs Cadillac’s V8). Hard for Cadillac to take, but ultimatly they had the Series 75

  11. The straight trim “spear” marks it as a 1950 Special. The ’51 had curved trim — my Daddy had one.
    Both 1950 and 1951 had same tail lights – in 1952, they added the little chrome “fin” on top of the rear fender which Ernie mentioned.

  12. I truly think that’s a standard Buick Custom.. not long enough for a Roadmaster..tricks of the lighting, the distance and our age!!

  13. While the Buick guys battle this one out, I am enjoying the nice solid low maintenance looking building architecture and the moderne horizontal & vertical company name leterring on the building. Neato.

    The “battery charging rental service” could be the rental of a substitute battery for immediate use while your battery is given a good slow overnight charge, way better than “cooking” and risking plate warpageby a life-shortening fast charge.

    Hmmm, that rack of “Guaranteed Used Tires. $1 (and UP). Not bad for a needed city car spare maybe? Bet they could get a little service charge for mounting and maybe even sell a new inner tube while you wait! A real service station! OMG

    Meanwhile, that’50/’51 Buick four door looks really nice, especially the roof line and window treatment. I want to hear that very unique sounding straight eight engine start up and give us a good crisp Buick gargle-growl! I got to see and hear my friend’s luxurious ’48 Roadmaster do it on a visit last September. The whole car has a little noticeable torque rock on its soft suspension when you rev it up. Nice……

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *