Trailside Outtake: 1941 Buick – A Nice Spot To Retire

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I just got back from a week on the coast just south of San Francisco. The Santa Cruz Mountains separate the populous “peninsula” from the coast, and were of course once covered in virgin redwoods. There’s still a few pockets of old-growth redwoods, and one day we took a 13 mile hike in Portola Valley State Park to a remote grove. Somewhat surprisingly, we also found a couple of “old growth” vehicles along the way, apparently pushed into a ravine from what was once a logging road. The first one is a Buick, from 1941, if I have it right. What’s a Buick coupe doing way back here?

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Who knows? But passenger cars lived hard lives out in the woods, and Buicks were known to be tough cars. This one is a fastback “Sedanette”.

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Here’s part of the reason: the legendary Buick OHV straight eight. Buick was a pioneer of the over head valve engine; in fact David Dunbar Buick held the patent for the OHV design, from his work with other engineers at the Buick Auto-Vim and Power Company in 1901 and 1902, a precursor to the Buick Motor Company. Needless to say, all Buicks used OHV engines (until recent years). In this case, it was the smaller of the two at the time, the 248 CID single-carb version rated at 115 hp.

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Who knows how long it’s been sitting out here, watching the trees grow. The Bakelite steering wheel is totally gone; just the steel spokes are left.

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There’s still some chrome hanging on to the lower parts of the bumper, which are a bit more protected than the upper.

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The die-cast grille’s chrome is a bit more tenacious. It may well outlive much of the rest of the car. But then compared to the ancient trees nearby, this is a newbie in the woods.