Here’s a car that truly epitomizes the CC ethos: an original ’56 Buick Special still being driven to work, in Riihimäki, Finland, no less. CC Cohort LDeren has seen this car many times parked at this university, and shot it in different locations there.
These Buicks were always very distinctive, with their full rear wheel cutouts and their reversed-dish wheels. It gives them a tough guy look, especially with all that patina. Don’t mess with me…
It reminds me of the similar-shape ’56 Special four door hardtop that I shot on the road here a while back. Just like when these were new, today a Buick from this vintage is something Special, and not just another tri-five Chevy.
My very first ride in a car was in a 56 Buick!
Gosh.. to see a 56 Buick on the streets is a no ordinary event… to see it as a daily driver is even more remarkable… but all that happening in Finland????? The owner must be a Die Hard Hot Rodder!!!!
The Finns love old American cars. When I was in Helsinki last summer, I saw tons of big Detroit iron on the streets: Pontiac Safaris, Caprices, Lincoln Town Cars, and even a sharp 1964 Imperial Crown Coupe!
Maybe you saw this very same Imperial I shot in Helsinki one year ago.
Alex is right. The Finns do love big American cars and they did import some of them from the U.S.. Some of these folks submitted stories and pictures of their Oldsmobiles for printing in the monthly magazine of an Olds club of which I was a long time member. What beautiful restorations they did on these cars; Work they did themselves. One of my favorite pictures was of a young woman working under her Olds, covered it grease, and with a huge smile on her face.
These were good looking cars when new and still great 59 years later .
I wonder if the ” Starterator ” still works ? .
Hydromatic Drive or (worthless) Dyna-Squish tranny ? .
Don’t think Buick ever used the HydraMatic – always Dynaflow.
Yep…Or, Dynaleak, if you prefer. One of these days, probably sooner than later, I’m going to have to go through mine and refresh it. It’s the last part of the driveline that hasn’t been rebuilt (although I have done some of the major seals, but that just slows the leak down)… 🙂
I am NOT looking forward to doing that. It’s leaving several drops now instead of two or three every time I park it.
Thanx JP .
I wasn’t much of a Buick fan when young .
IIRC the Dyna-squish rear leak is fairly repairable with a new bushing and seal….
Long time to worky on one .
Yeah, I’ve replaced the torque ball seal, but it leaks from the shim gaskets to set the “preload.” You’d think I’d learn and use some gasket sealer on there, but it wasn’t in the instructions. That’s only one leak…it’s leaking from the accumulators, the front pump seal (which I’ve replaced once) and/or the front pump o-ring (which I replaced once). Sigh.
There’s a fair bit of work involved in properly re sealing a Torque Tube Ball Joint ~
Assuming the Oakie Bushing is O.K. , you still need to assemble the ball joint sans U-Joint for proper shimming and that only after you’ve taken the time to gently hand polish the inside of the bell on the back of the tranny , those small wave looking ridges cause leaks from poor fitment .
Also , use _leather_ seal rings , not the modern ones that come in the seal kits .
The ball , when properly assembled and shimmed , should *just* be able to be moved by hand , not stiff nor notchy and it shouldn’t drop of it’s own weight .
Once you’ve done this , take it apart again and install the U-Joint & button ‘er up , marvel at how GM used to know hot to do good Engineering .
I prolly shoulda bought an old Buick Sedanette I’m an idiot who loves Fastbacks) but they’re simply too ponderous for me , even my ’46 Chevy would out run Buicks in the twisty bits .
Right, jp. Buick never used the Hydramatic in this era but a short run of Oldsmobiles were built with Dynaslows in 1953 because of a fire at the Hydramatic plant.
Being a Special there’s a chance it might have a three-on-the-tree, especially if it’s an original export car.
Wow, something like this was a rare sight in 1985, let alone 2015. Love it! So much for the Magic Mirror finish that never needs waxing.
My uncle had one like that but his was a wagon, I still remember it pink and white that was when they made REAL cars
I’m amazed that even though it has more than a little surface rust, there isn’t any apparent rust-out at all. These 1955 and 1956 Buicks were bad rusters, and I remember seeing one parked in front of a wrecking yard in Tacoma that had rusted out all the way around the rear wheel cutout as well as the normal rocker panel and lower front fender spots.
The Buick wheels had their own styling, but weren’t really meant to be displayed – even though most of them seemed to be bright red – we were meant to see that red edge around the Buick wheel covers with their red emblems in the centers.
An odd factoid I found out – those wheels had the same bolt circle as 1940’s and 1950’s Studebaker pickups.
Maybe the owner’s into Reggare (q.v.), it’s not just a Swedish thing.
Great to see a 56 Buick on the road anywhere. But in Finland Wow! I’m not quite the fan of patina as I once was, but I prefer that to a clapped out Rat Rod with flames and skulls stuck on all over. Those Buick hubcaps that expose the wheel rim persisted until at least 1966. I have a set of 66 Wildcat /Riviera 15 in. hubcaps. By this time the wheels were just painted black.
Agreed. I’m not a fan of patina, but this car is a survivor and it’s great to see it out. As for rat rods, I have absolutely no interest in them, nor do I consider the things done to them as being creative in a good sense.
When I was a kid, my parent’s best friends had a 56 Buick, a Century hardtop or maybe even a Riviera. That car was black and white, which at first doesn’t sound all that great…but that car (I thought) was a real beauty.
Even so, I prefer the one-color, 2 door sedans that are all over the place on Highway Patrol. Get one of these 56 Buicks, a nice hat, and you are Dan Matthews.
Whos Dan Matthews?
Cop played by Broderick Crawford in the iconic 1950’s TV show “Highway Patrol”
Wow! Looks like it’s spent its life in California rather than in Finland.
It most likely did 🙂
A family friend had a ’57 Buick Special in the early ’60’s. She parked it on the hill in front of our house and apparently forgot to set the parking brake. She was in our house when it rolled down the hill, hitting a few parked cars along the way. Her insurance paid a lot of money to fix all the damage, but all it got was a small dent in the huge front bumper and a little wrinkle in the front fender that she never bothered to have repaired. These cars really were built like tanks. Her next car was a ’62 Valiant, then a ’68 Corolla.
Tank-like construction implies that in a collision, most of the energy will be transmitted to the passenger compartment if it strikes a vehicle of similar or greater mass. The Crumple Zone was invented sometime in the ’50s by Béla Barényi for Mercedes, but of course Americans were too manly to care about stuff like that. Hey, you wanna live forever?
Re: Americans were too manly to care about stuff like that.
Granted it was a different era, but being “too manly” hardly would be the reason. Pure ignorance of an uneducated public is more like the cause and an unproven record for crumple zones coming from at that time a relatively unknown maker high priced cars were a rarity in the golden era of the “Big Three”.
More likely as I recall you can blame what at that time was the generally accepted perception that bigger and stiffer cars were safer. Also was the era when safety belts were viewed with suspicion and possible danger in case of rollover’s and fires (“I’d rather be thrown to safety.” was the common cry).
Those looking for “Safe” family cars strove to get the biggest vehicle possible. “They’d have survived if they were in a bigger, safer car…”
Also even into the 1980’s cars with crumple zones were often pointed out by naysayers as being “less safe” because the would crumple as compared to older more “solid and safe” designs. Most people were more (mistakenly) concerned about car repairability at a lower cost in fender benders than about personal injuries they viewed as only likely because of high speed collisions or reckless driving behavior.
Cars that would be totaled in low speed non-fatal collisons and crumpled as designed were viewed as more poorly constructed than the old “safer” tanks. In short, the idea back then was driver behavior was to blame not the car design. It was “speed kills” not the sudden stop at the end.
Lastly NASCAR and other forms of racing (proving the worth of harnesses) and the 60 years of experience had not had time to settle into the public mindset.
In 1956 Ford improved safety with padded dashboards and sunvisors, improved door latches, deep dish steering wheels and optional seat belts. It was a step in the safer car design direction. People bought what was available at the time. Hard to blame the consumer for what the car makers were building, they were a lot safer than cars of the ’30s. Power steering, laminated windshields and tempered glass, hydraulic brakes, improved rim and tire design were other features that improved safety. I do agree improvements were not done as quickly as in the late ’60’s when government requirement began to take effect, but heavier cars were generally safer than small light cars even back then, especially if the heavy car collided with the light car, which itself provided a “crush zone”, to the detriment of the occupants in the smaller car.
Theres one of these on a local used car lot it should be out on the streets and will be when lotto comes my way, great find.
Wow. What a car to be used as a daily driver! Love it, and I think that real patina like that is something very special in itself. Extremely cool and my congratulations to the owner!
Sweet looking Buick. 1956 is the best year for GM in terms of styling. 🙂
What’s the price of gas/petrol in Finland?
A bit more than 7 dollars a gallon last time I’ve checked. But it’s probably not a huge issue for this car owner. Riihimäki is a very small town and traffic jams are unheard of. And an average Finnish student have a decent disposable income, university there is free and they even receive grants for being a student.
That’s fairly “cheap”. Here in Norway we actually produces oil and have to pay about 8 USD for a gallon.
I filled up my Riviera and Grand Cherokee last sunday. About 300 USD with todays exchange rate.
In So. Cal. ‘ Motor Fuel ‘ (it _isn’t_ Gasoline) just zoomed past $$ from below $3 in less than a week , the last time this happened , I wound up paying $5 / gallon for Diesel fuel OUCH .
Love this old survivor. Great find, LDeren!
Very interesting find
Nothing at all wrong with that design!
I’d like to see the owner of this car properly repaint and refurbish it – as original as possible, of course.
A beautiful car.
The first family car I remember us having was a 1954 Buick Super Riviera. I thought it was the most beautiful car in existence. I loved the full cut out wheel openings and the kick up the top of the rear fenders as well as the bullet shaped tail lights. My Mom has a photo of the entire family posing for that photo, all of us lined up along the side of that Buick. I found this photo of a car like ours. However, on ours, the lower body was red and it had stock wheels and covers. As our family grew throughout the years, my Dad bought what he could afford, but he would have preferred to own Buicks. He had a very high regard for them.
In 1967 my friend’s father bought a ’56 black Super sedan from an elderly widow to use as a second car. Only about 50,000 miles, with Dynaflow, power steering, brakes and antenna, which was hooked to a Wonder-bar radio. A real tank, the Super was a step below the Roadmaster, on the longer wheelbase. Quite different from the Special, with a different windshield and instrument panel (with the cool rolling ribbon speedometer). Anyway, my friend and I had a good time hooning around the Baltimore Beltway in that car. Off the line performance was lazy, but once it got rolling it would cruise at 80 with ease. Stopping this beast was another matter. Lets just say it put the “panic” in panic stops.
My grandparents drove Buicks back in the 1950s, long before I was born. It was one of their favourite cars.