Buick Landau Show Car

Buick was General Motors’ pioneer of concept cars, beginning with Harley Earl’s Y Job in 1938. The Y Job predicted Buick’s future styling in a swanky two-seat convertible. More innovative, though less predictive, was the LeSabre, a radical jet-themed show car for 1951. LeSabre was a completely new creation, featuring an aluminum supercharged V8 engine, power seats, hydraulic jacks and a power top that would raise itself at the first drop of rain. Soon, other GM divisions developed concepts of their own, making the 1950s Motorama exhibits a flash of the future. Buick’s entries included the XP 300 of 1952, Wildcats I and II in 1953 and ’54, and the 1956 Centurion. More conservative and frequently forgotten, however, is the Landau sedan from 1954.

Taking a cue from the carriage of the same name, the Landau is a four-door car with a folding fabric roof over the rearmost section of the passenger compartment. Built for the 1954 Motorama season, it was constructed on a Roadmaster chassis. It first appeared at Miami, then featured in the Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago shows. At season’s end, it was destined to be scrapped but was given a stay of execution by GM president Harlow Curtice, whose career had begun at Buick. The Landau shuttled VIPs around New York City, where GM’s all-important Treasurer’s Office was located. Later it returned to Flint, where it was again saved from the scrap heap by a Buick executive. Formerly owned by Bill Warner, chairman of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, it was displayed at the 2006 Amelia event.

A thorough body-on restoration was conducted some years ago, and the car has been well maintained since. There are no visible pits or dents in the body, and the deep blue paint and brightwork are excellent. The passenger compartment is upholstered in tan leather and cloth, with tan deep pile carpet on the floor. The driver’s compartment is upholstered in blue leather, which shows wear from age. It is, however, presentable. An electric division window separates the driver’s compartment from the passengers. The tan top over the passenger compartment is hydraulically operated, and the forward roof is covered in matching tan fabric.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in March of 2010 at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, Florida.

188 bhp, 322 cu. in. ohv V8 engine, Dynaflow automatic transmission, independent coil spring front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes.

Source: RM Auctions

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