CC For Sale: 1951 Buick Super Sedanet – Avoiding Duplication

All pictures of the featured car are from Singleton Classics, the selling dealer.


This 1951 Buick Super Sedanet is one of 1500 produced before the fleeting-postwar-fastback era fizzled out at that great brand from Flint, right around the same time it fizzled out everywhere. Replaced in the hearts of a fickle public by the hardtop convertible body style in 1949, fastbacks hung on a couple more years as their sales rapidly plummeted. At the time, the hardtop was modern and the fastback was not; today, they’re both old cars and few would know the difference.

But I do. I have kept this Super bookmarked on my desktop for over a month; it’s for sale at a dealer named Singleton Classics in California for $19,900.

My first impulse was to send an online inquiry about the car, but the long arm of my personal law prevailed. Although I feel that a little old fashioned wheeling and dealing would make this Super attainable (yet ill-advised), there is a tacit rule I have thus far followed my whole life.

No duplication of vehicles. My ’53 Special (with its swanky hardtop styling) is fundamentally the same car as that beautiful ’51 Super. The engine is the same, the transmission is almost the same, the frame is the same, the shocks are the same.  It’s the same car. There’s a reason I would never buy a second Corvair, Mustang, Thunderbird, Riviera, Dart, Skylark, or Firebird – duplication. I crave variety in my life in everything but wives.

Even so, there’s something winsome about this Sedanet. My Special doesn’t have the grand piano hood, so there’s one difference.  The Special body is a few inches narrower, that’s another. This one’s maroon, the Special is blue. Those are different colors, right?

And my experience keeping a Buick straight eight burbling away for almost 20 years leaves me almost ostentatiously qualified for 1951 Super ownership. I’ll tell you anything you want to know about a 263. See the bottom of the picture? The fuel pump is slightly different than it was in ’53, there’s another difference.

It is worthwhile to note that the Super Sedanet (Model 56S) wasn’t even listed in the 1951 sales brochure.

A “Series 44” labeled the Custom Special and using what I presume to be the 1950 Special body was listed in the brochure, but it never came to market. It must have been at the last minute that the Custom Special Sedanet was instead offered in the Series 50 Super line, since the bodies were the same anyway. There couldn’t have been much of a deviation between the two cars at all, which is certainly why the Custom Special was considered superfluous.

The featured Super looked far different when it emerged from Flint assembly over 70 years ago. Paint code “5” denotes Barton Gray, whose hue varies based on internet color chips (It is sometimes a greenish gray and sometimes more of a light blue).

There was only one trim code available for the Sedanet: “42,” or Dark Gray. This car has clearly been reupholstered, and the interior trim has been thankfully painted maroon to match the car’s exterior.

I like maroon. My ’65 Mustang is a shade of maroon that I’m very fond of. But I wish this Buick were Barton Gray. I also wish my ’53 wore this “Dynaflow” script; unfortunately, 1952 was the last year for that fun piece of gimcrackery.

To make up for that soul-crushing hole in my life, I bought this brochure from an eBay vendor last week. I’ve driven tens of thousands of miles in Dynaflow-equipped Buicks at this late date, but there’s always room for a musty brochure, if not for a Buick Super.

Singleton Classics clearly states that this car is not perfect. The paint on the hood is cracking in various spots.

Here, the hood has come to conspicuous blows with the door or some other errant object, which is not uncommon for 1950s Buicks. Hood fit was not one of the strengths on their resume.

Though it has some flaws, the advertisement claims that it’s been fully serviced and is running well. For almost twenty grand, it’s worth checking that claim out for oneself, but there are dozens of pictures to help a potential buyer get a feel for this potential purchase.

That potential buyer will not be me this time. I really want for it to be me but it will not be me. If anyone wants to buy this car and let me drive it for a week to get it out of my system, please see the advertisement below. It will not have been purchased by me.