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Our '49 Buick Roadmaster

I always admired the 49 Buicks as they were the first fresh new Buick styling after WWII. However they did retain a bombsight hood ornament.


It was also the first year for Buick's first portholes. Four meant you had the expensive Roadmaster or Century, and three portholes appeared on the less costly Super or Special.


Bill Wells, owner of Wells Foundry in London had a red one that was an older rust-free restoration that still looked good and drove excellent. I bought it from him in 1983.  I enjoyed the car but Sonny Chisholm in town kept bugging me to sell it to him and in about a year’s time I did. He also enjoyed it the way it was but eventually had it repainted in red and reupholstered in Clinton and it looked great. Several years later, Sonny passed away and the car became mine again for awhile. After selling him that car I really missed it and searched all the USA for another one and eventually my friend Lyall Trenholm from Shakespeare phoned and told me I should check this one out that he had seen advertised. It was owned by a John Whitaker in LaHarpe Illinois and was a 30,000 actual mile 49 Roadmaster Convertible with the ultra rare sweepspeare trim. This big chrome side spear trim was only available on the convertible after June of 49. It had first appeared on the first Riviera Buick that came out also in 49 and people loved its look.


On Oct. 20/85 I bought it sight unseen and we agreed to meet in the parking lot of the Henry Ford Museum to exchange car to me, money to him. That’s almost 40 years ago now and we still have that car and it’s a family pet.



I did do a lot of work myself getting it ready for restoration, like removing interior, bumpers, chrome etc: When it was finished and in its beautiful Sequoia Cream colour, it was a standout and still is. The restoration still looks fresh to this day. We drove that car to shows in New York State, Niagara Falls, many times to Flint and it was a first place winner every time it was shown.


A new President came into office at GM world headquarters in Detroit. It seemed that the 49 Buick model like mine was his favourite car and he wanted pictures of one in his office. Somehow they located me and I arranged with photographer extraordinaire Malcom Campbell to do the photo work. Often wondered what his bill to GM was!


After that my car became the poster car for the Cranbrook Michigan Concours, its on a tie, its on Hagerty Insurance Company badges, Franklin Mint made an exact model, its on a Buick poster put out by GM showing every year and my car represented the 49 model year.


When you walk into my building it’s the first car you see and with its smiling at you large grille it’s impossible to be upset at anything.


We plan to have its picture on our tombstone but don’t look for it to soon!


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