My intention was to build a big comfortable road car. I was looking for a late model 1940s or early 1950’s vintage sedan, preferably a sedanette, or fastback. I love early fifty’s Chevrolet fastbacks and had my eye on a 1951 Chevrolet Fleet line in Oklahoma. While searching for a project car on Craigslist I spotted a 1949 Buick Sedanette that had been sitting next to a barn in Iowa since 1959, and it was love at first sight.
The Buick has the features I was looking for in a Chevrolet but with a lot more character than the Chevy. The 49 Buick represents the love affair the movie industry had with art deco in the late forties. The lines of the Buick just scream “please cut me up” and make me into a cool fifty’s custom.
Once Chris Carlson of Chris Carlson Hot Rods saw the pictures of the Buick the ideas started flowing. In the end, we ended up with over 100 body modifications. The top was chopped 3” at the A-pillar, 4” at the B pillar, 5” at the dog leg, and 8” out of the trunk. The chop gives the Buick that alwaysmoving forward look. The tail lights are out of 1954 Mercury, the headlights are from a 1956 Oldsmobile 98. The front bumper was fabricated out of two 1949 Buick front bumpers and the rear bumper is basically stock with the exception of cutouts for the exhaust tips, the fenders have been peaked to match the 56 Olds headlight rings and the peak extends through the rear fenders. The B pillar was leaned forward 15 degrees. The trunk was English wheeled to resemble a 65 Riviera boat tail.
The steering wheel and black widow shift knob are from CON2R, air conditioner and heat are from Vintage Air, and the sound damping is from Dynamat. The custom-fabricated dash was fitted with Dakota Digital gages which gives the dash a look of an early Lincoln Zephyr. The interior including the center console is out of a 1964 Thunderbird which has a wrap-around back seat. The interior leather is called Silhouette from Townsend Leather which is a dark gray or graphite with a slate hue to it.
The engine compartment is a work of art in itself. From the smooth firewall to the custom inner fender wells that transition into the fenders. The motor is a crate Blue Print 383 stroke motor that dynos at 462 HP, duel Edelbrock 500 CFM carburetors sitting on an air gap manifold. The cooling system is a polished BeCool radiator and an Odyssey battery powers the car. All wiring, air, and heat hoses are completely hidden to give a clean smooth look.
The chassis is a stock 1949 Buick “boxed” frame with a Total Cost Involved suspension, which gives the Buick rides like a new full-sized Cadillac.
The paint color is Granite from NAPA Martin Senour paint. We love the beautiful medium gray with green hues, and the hues change depending on the lighting.
In the end, I believe we hit a home run. We saved a great car from the crusher and built a big comfortable custom car worthy of long road trips.